Supporting someone who is giving birth can be worrying, scary and confusing. Some birth partners have shared their experiences for us, share it with yours so they can see they are not alone in their worries.
I’m honestly not sure what I wish I’d known (it was 6 years ago and I’m a doctor so hospitals and deliveries were familiar to me). My advice is don’t be afraid to ask questions and be a voice for your partner. And if you are medical in any way, being on the other side is very weird! (Nicola, birth partner to wife and mother to their two boys)
I remember how helpless I felt at times – just kind of watching it all unfold. Accept it – and still be there and be as supportive as you can be. Be prepared for unexpected. (Seb, father to a son and daughter)
Having already had two children of my own I generally knew what to expect in terms of the practical side of things, but I was completely unprepared for how emotional the whole experience was. As a result, I developed a new respect for the partners. Obviously the focus is on the mother and the baby but don’t underestimate the impact (especially a traumatic birth) can have on you as the partner, so talk if you can, your feelings are valid too. Oh, and take snacks, labour can take a while. (Carissa, birth partner to best friend)
It’s a proper roller coaster of events, completely out of your control. The mid wives did a superb job of getting me involved. when it turned into an emergency operation, it was just awful waiting alone, waiting to hear good news or bad, mind running a thousand miles an hour sat in ill fitting scrubs. The elation and relief that followed when my son was brought out, I can barely describe. (Chris, father to one boy)
If taking a second person as your birth partner, be confident that they are going to be confident, reassuring and positive. I personally only stepped in at times it was necessary, so that my Grandson’s father still felt like the main person. My daughter still laughs at the fact that I was crocheting the baby blanket through most of the build up to birth. I still stayed fully alert and stepped up when needed. (Joanne, grandmother at grandson’s birth)
You may feel a bit helpless standing there at times but you have to give 110% support and all the encouragement and involvement you can. No matter how inadequate you feel at times. It’s not long before emotions kick and all those feelings of being helpless do disappear anyway, because you see how much your partner needs you and how much they are going through to deliver your baby. Don’t worry about the unknown it’s a journey and you do figure things out. (Justin, father to 3 boys)
Even though you think you know what will happen, actually it can be different and surprise you! Advice would be; to be open to anything but speak out if not sure or not happy. I supported my wife through a very quick delivery. (Ruth, wife’s birth partner and mother to two boys)