You made this baby as a team, now it’s time to birth this baby as a team. One of my favorite things about birth is that it provides partners to rebirth their relationship and come together in a new and profound way.
Any partner who is involved with helping his wife birth a baby will be absolutely stunned by her power and grace. To have your husband support you through birth can be extremely healing and even has the capability to change the trajectory of some relationships.
No one says it better than Dwayne Johnson after the arrival of his daughter.
“Skin to skin. Our mana. Blessed and proud to bring another strong girl into this world. Tiana Gia Johnson came into this world like a force of nature and Mama @laurenhashianofficial labored and delivered like a true rockstar. I was raised and surrounded by strong, loving women all my life, but after participating in baby Tia’s delivery, it’s hard to express the new level of love, respect and admiration I have for @laurenhashianofficial and all mamas and women out there. Word to the wise gentlemen, it’s critical to be by your lady’s head when she’s delivering, being as supportive as you can.. holding hands, holding legs, whatever you can do. But, if you really want to understand the single most powerful and primal moment life will ever offer – watch your child being born. Its a life changer and the respect and admiration you have for a woman, will forever be boundless. And to my third and youngest daughter, Tiana Gia – like I did when your two older sisters Simone Alexandra and Jasmine Lia were born, you have my word, I’ll love, protect, guide and make ya laugh for the rest of my life. Your crazy dad has many responsibilities and wears many hats in this big ol’ world, but being your dad will always be the one I’m most proud to wear. Oh and one more thing.. you’re gonna love rollin’ in daddy’s pick up truck. #TianaGiaJohnson #3rdDaughter #BlessesAndGratefulMan #ImInTROUBLE“
20+ ways your husband can support you in labor
There are three significant ways that moms like to be supported by their partners during birth. These are the coach, the cheerleader and the witness. Each of these roles is significant on its own.
Make sure that as you communicate with your partner, you think about which way you need support most and ask your partner if he feels capable of showing up that way.
Birth can be overwhelming for partners as well. Especially when they have very little experience with it and they hate seeing you in pain. Some dad’s even hold onto fear that you won’t be okay in the end.
Because of this, it is important to know how he feels, what you need, and if he feels prepared to be what you need. Have no fear, if he feels unsure, you can hire a doula who will work in the background to turn your man into exactly the kind of support you need.
Your husband can support you as a coach:
When you want your husband to support you as a coach, you want him to lead and guide you through labor. This means he needs to study up and take a birth course with you. He will actively be helping you in each phase and helping you remember what to expect next as he coaches you through the moment at hand.
Here are some ways your husband can support you as a coach:
1. Being prepared with pain management techniques and reminding you what to do if you get overwhelmed.
2. Helping you recognize what stage of labor you are in and what is coming next.
3. Acting as your gatekeeper, nobody talks to you without going through him, keeping away all bad vibes and unnecessary questions away from you so you are free to stay focused on the birth.
4. Reminding you to drink water after every contraction.
5. Being prepared with honey sticks or other honey gel packs if you are getting worn out.
6. Reminding you of the plan you made and helping you stick to it.
7. 30 seconds into a contraction whispering “peak” so you know you’re almost done.
8. Putting a cold cloth on your forehead between pushing contractions or a warm compress on your back for back labor.
Your husband can help you as a cheerleader:
When you want someone to continually remind you that you can do this and help you keep your head in the game, you want your husband to take on the role of a cheerleader. This is the person who never lets you forget what you are capable of. Even when things feel overwhelming or upsetting, this person is by your side, reminding you you can do this.
Here are ways your husband can support you as a cheerleader:
1. Being prepared with words of affirmation to encourage you in your moments of doubt.
2. Having a yummy treat, sparking cider or other momento to celebrate your win after the birth.
3. Being ready with counter pressure during contractions.
4. Holding you in a slow dance and support you during contractions.
5. Holding eye contact during intense contractions.
Your husband can help you by being a witness:
When you want your husband to support you as a witness, you feel confident and capable to birth your baby. Typically the woman who wants a witness feels an internal drive and confidence about birthing. However, in such a transformational and pivotal time of life, she wants her husband there to witness this transformation. Sometimes a husband who plays the role of the witness may feel that he is not doing anything, yet by holding space for her to be herself, and birth in her way, he is doing everything.
Here are ways your husband can support you as a witness:
1. Walking with you if you need a change of scenery. Try walking with your hands behind your head as runners do between contractions. This will help open your hips and allow baby to move through your birth canal. Then during a contraction, put your arms around your husbands neck and lean up against him. Let his presence and closeness comfort you.
2. Being there, holding space for you to do your thing.
3. Telling jokes or stories to take your mind off pain.
4. Taking pictures you remember this day forever.
5. Writing you a letter of encouragement that you can hold in your heart if speaking isn’t his strong suit.
6. Giving you the space you need while remaining available.
7. Breathing with you slowly if you’re speeding up or tensing up during contractions.
8. Listening to instructions from you and doing without asking for a reason.
9. Being a calm and confident presence is sometimes all you will need from him.
During labor, most moms will need their partner to rotate between all 3 of these different roles. Make sure to ask your partner how they want to be involved and have a discussion about what you expect from them.
Birth is a big deal. Hiring a doula or other support person may be helpful if your husband doesn’t really know about birth, but wants to support you. The doula can help your husband do and say the right things at the right time.
I hope these simple tips help turn your husband into the most incredibly supportive birth partner ever. Let me know in the comments what your favorite way to be supported during birth was.