Yesterday we shared some practical tools and tips for how to support your partner while she's in labor. Today we want to share some equally important tools to have in your tool belt... all of the things NOT to do.
Congratulations! She's in labor and you're going to be a parent soon! We've got you covered--just don't make these common mistakes and you'll be on the path to parenthood knowing that she's fully supported.
...Ask her questions during contractions. She's focusing hard. Let her do her work.
...Offer pain medication or an epidural... even if she's planning to get one! Let her decide when/if the time is right. You don't want to make her feel like she is inadequate.
...Expect things to move quickly. Labor can take a long time. Even the pushing phase can take a long time. Many times this is perfectly normal; it's important to stay patient.
...Spend too much time texting/calling people while she's in labor. She needs your undivided attention and support. Updating friends and family may need to be on the back burner.
...Tell her what to do. TRUST ME. Offering validation and suggestions is one thing, but the first time I saw a woman's eyes after her husband told her to "Relax!" while in a contraction, I thought we were in for World War III.
...Complain about anything. If you've been awake for 40 hours and are exhausted or if you've been massaging her back all day and your shoulder feels like it's going to catch on fire, don't complain. Of course your feelings are valid and you need to sleep, too. But when I'm in labor (as harsh as it sounds), I have no brain-space for empathy, and I simply can't provide for you. Try to nap if she is napping between contractions.
...Be offended. It's okay if she tells you not to touch her. It's okay if she tells you to stop talking. She still loves you, but she's expressing her needs in the only way that a laboring woman can. Listen to her needs and support them.
...Forget that you don't have to do this alone! A professional doula is trained in supporting both the mother and her partner and can offer more tips and help when it comes to making sure that the birthing mother AND her partner have everything they need.
Is there anything you would add to our list? Leave a comment!