“Oh, she’s sticking her nose into our relationships now…”, you think to yourself, “as if it’s not enough to be talking to us about our vaginas all day long.”
Soz and all that, but I am telling you this. Birth changes everything. EVERYTHING. It’s like you were living in the matrix, and suddenly you woke up. The world isn’t how you used to think it was. The stuff you used to think was important- not so much anymore. And this whole new level unlocked- unthinkable emotions and realisations, an entirely new perception of the building blocks of life itself. SERIOUSLY. It’s fucking profound.
And not always in the most brilliant way for your relationship. If you are well prepared for birth, even a challenging experience can unite you as a pair. SO often, women I’ve worked with tell me, ‘I couldn’t have done it without him, he was my rock.” And these are not individuals who would have considered themselves to be particularly worthy of the birth partner of the year award. Usually, when we begin, they are clueless, resistant, anxious or in denial. But by the birth, they are truly, entirely part of the dream team.
I tell the couples I support about this, one of my faves from Ina May Gaskin (Check out anything of hers by the way- and don’t judge a book by it’s cover- she may appear to be slightly wild, but that woman KNOWS HER STUFF).:
If a woman in labour doesn’t look like a Goddess, then someone isn’t treating her right.
So the partners know- THIS is their objective. What does Goddess mean in this context? Not so much flowers in her hair, serene AF, but far more than this, greater things than this. Who would mess with a Goddess? No one. Who is the creator? SHE is- she is literally birthing a brand new universe (or someone’s lifetime perspective of it, which is the same thing- if you don’t believe me, physics agrees, so…). Who would mess with that? Goddess means autonomous, respected, served physically and emotionally, her comfort and satisfaction at the forefront of all decision making, her every whim tended, her voice HEARD.
If you can do the Goddess work, as her partner, you are getting a big fat A*. And after the birth- she will love you more than ever before. If you were by her side when she was simultaneously powerful, and vulnerable, and you her back… will see her for who she is, and you will be renewed in your love for her too.
And of course that’s all really fricking NICE. But what if not? What if she felt let down? Or abandoned? Or alone? Or compromised? Or her partner felt impotent? Alienated? Cast aside? Shouted down? Out of ideas?
I hear all of this from couples who come to me when they are preparing for second babies. That there is healing to do. That they entered into this great adventure of parenthood divided, resentful, hurt. And when no one is getting much sleep, (have you heard?) even the little things can be hard to get over. When you’re tag teaming in a battle of Adults vs Newborn, you need each other.
So I urge you- prepare TOGETHER. Share your concerns (both of you), your needs (both of you), your hopes for the birth (again…). Communication is so key. Watch some birth videos where the partner is integral and effective- offer your partner a role model- often they have no one to learn from. Talk about how you each want to feel after the birth, and make commitments to each other.
Team cohesion is a significant advantage in the early days, in fact, ALL THE DAYS of parenthood. Seek the synergies and stay connected.
For pregnancy and birth. For hospital or home. In a pool or a theatre. Til for Uni they depart.