The first rule of being a kick ass birth partner is, be yourself! Don’t try to be someone else. Show up as your yourself. No superhero capes! Just your best self. Compassion and empathy goes a long way. Just like she had no idea what this would feel like, you can’t imagine it either. Labor can feel a lot harder than it looks on the outside.
You’ll be working hard too. Lunging together, holding her in a squat and the double hip squeeze is hard work. It’s okay to go to the bathroom. Be sure that someone can step in and that it’s not in the middle of a contraction or a hard decision point. It's really important to meet some of your own needs though. Keep your worries (negative thoughts- your tired, annoyed at a nurse, your back hurt…) to the staff or speak to the staff. Remember that your energy can change her ability to cope, fears, adrenaline...Don’t live tweet the birth!
Let’s talk practical tips!
Notice when the mood shifts and its no longer time to be funny or talkative. You can learn a lot by watching her face
When you arrive in triage you need to be the rock in the room and keep her focused on her breath. There’s a lot going on
If you are having a homebirth, it can feel like a lot is suddenly going on
One you’re in the room and settled- get room set up- LED candles, scent, music, ask for a ball…
Top positions- slow dancing, hands and knees (on bed, floor, etc) this is a great time for lower back counter pressure. You’ll be surprised how hard you can push! Raise bed up and lean over, sit on a ball, hand and knees on a ball, Tub!
EAT! Don’t faint
This is a big experience for you too! This is not an easy experience.