Everyone knows that labour isn’t fun (and yes, that it an understatement) but for some people it lasts only an hour or so… For others, like my wife, it lasts a whole lot longer! You see, we went into the hospital roughly mid-day/early afternoon on a Thursday and my daughter was born on the Saturday morning!
In total, my wife was in labour for just over 54 hours! And my god, I can tell you now, you’ve never heard someone screaming in pain nor have you ever seen someone truly exhausted until you have seen someone go through labour for that long!
And that’s specifically why I am writing this! As a Dad, we really have it easy. I mean, yes, you are there as long as your partner, but be honest with yourself, you’re just there… She’s in absolute agony trying to push another human out of her body! So, there are some do’s and don’t for the Dad’s when your partner’s in labour.
What Not To Do When Your Partner Is In Labour
Now, these are pretty generic things that should seem rather obvious. However, from the stories I’ve heard from other Mums and Dads is that these really are not that obvious to a lot of people!
- Do not go to sleep! Your partner won’t be able to sleep because of all the pain she is in, so why should you? Can you imagine how distressing it must be to go through all of that pain and feel that exhausted, only to have the person who is supposed to be supporting you through just knock off duty to take a kip? Once the baby is born, you’ll be able to get some sleep (about 3 hours a time), but for now, you’re supposed to be there for your partner!
- Do not complain! I’ve heard a number of stories of soon-to-be-Dads sitting down and complaining about boredom, tiredness or (the worst of all) having a headache and needing to go home! Seriously? No, really… Are you serious? Again, try to think about what your partner is going through! I shouldn’t even have to explain why you don’t do this!
- Do not play games on your mobile! This is a funny one… I mean, I’ll be honest, you’re going to get bored at one point, especially if your partner’s labour is dragged out like my wife’s. However, what you shouldn’t do is resort to staring at your phone, playing games or looking at Facebook/Twitter/whatever. It’s really horrible for your partner, as it shows that whatever you are looking at is more important that the birth of your child or the pain of your partner. And on a selfish note, guys… It will be remembered, I can guarantee that!
- Do not buy loads of snacks for yourself! You’re going to get hungry – that’s pretty damn obvious! But guess what? So is your partner! So ask a midwife what snacks are going for your partner, and get some of those as well as getting things for yourself. Oh, and don’t just go and get anything… You really should ask the midwife what is best first!
What You Should Do When Your Partner Is In Labour
Ok, so that was the list of things you shouldn’t do, but what about the things you should do?
- Ask as many questions as you can! Your partner isn’t going to be able to pay attention to what the midwives are saying! Trust me! To this day, my wife can only remember a few small bits that she was told. So that’s where you come in. Ask as many questions as you can to the midwives, gather all of the information you can get, and remember everything! Your partner will really appreciate is, as you’ll be able to give her the information again later.
- Stay by her side, even if she screams at you. She’s probably going to scream, or burst in to turns, or become deflated. And you know what? That’s normal. You cannot imagine what she is going through right now. So, even if she started to scream at you, telling you to leave, don’t. Stay with her, comfort her and try to make her as calm as possible.
- Follow directions. The midwives know what they are doing… More than you, especially! And I know that may be hard to swallow, but it’s true. So if they tell you to do something, do it… There’s going to be a reason for it. This is also true for your partner – if she asks you to do something, or change the way you are massaging her, don’t argue… Seriously, don’t. Just suck it up and do as you’re told!
- Make sure you’ve got as much change as possible! You’re going to be running back and forth from vending machines, WHSmith and Costa during and after labour… Plus, there’s also the parking. So you better make sure you have enough change – you don’t want to be asking nurses, doctors and midwives to split a 20.
- Be useful, not in the way! This is biggest one… If the midwives are constantly asking you to move, or if you’re annoying your partner, take a step back. Sit down in one of the seats in the room, remain calm, and let the midwives do what they need to. Then, once your partner needs your support again, get up and go to her side once more. Do not just float around the room getting in everyone’s way.
And That’s All Folks
Those are my Do’s and Don’ts for when your partner is in labour… Especially if it’s a really long labour like my wife’s. Rember, you’re there for support, so be supportive and helpful! It’s worth it, as it will mean that the magical moment when your little one comes into this world isn’t put against the backdrop of annoyance and arguments.
Do you have any tips for when your partner’s in labour? What about some interesting labour stories? Let me know in the comments below!