The Importance of Labor Partner Support When Giving Birth
To start this blog off right, I need to begin with my own birth. Specifically, my first birth as the lessons I learned from that moment carries over into my work now. As a childbirth educator, everything I teach began that night, oh so long ago, in 2009 …
I remember it like it was yesterday, as every person that gives birth does …
Birth lives within you, we have an acute memory of that moment, space, and time.
Labor with my first baby was the hardest thing I have EVER done in my life!
When I think of that moment and being in active labor, I remember how unsure I felt. How I felt out of control, unprepared, unable to manage what was happening to me physically and emotionally, I couldn’t control what my body was doing; and quite frankly, that frightened me.
My early labor was VERY manageable and then active labor kicked in and kicked my butt!
I felt like I was being swallowed alive by a tidal wave that kept coming, one after the next, over and over, repeatedly crashing upon me.
Labor Contractions ARE Intense!!
All I could do was brace for the next one.
No one told me it would be like this, that labor was all-encompassing so much so that you can get lost in it and feel like you are drowning.
As I looked to my husband, my partner, the love of my life for some help, (a life raft of any kind) ... I could see, feel, sense, and even smell his utter helplessness.
I could see his complete look of total panic, deer in the headlights, the stare of complete fear ...
He didn't know how to help me and I didn't know how to help myself.
I remember thinking; why aren't we prepared for this moment? Why don't we know what to do? Where is the nurse? Who is in charge here? I didn't sign up for THIS!!!!
Birth is all-encompassing and it can be hard to navigate your way through. Giving yourself and your partner (be it your spouse, mother, sister, or friend) the tools to support your journey is paramount.
For me, I learned an immense lesson with our first and so with our second birth, we invested in ourselves and took a childbirth class. I insisted that it was not associated with the hospital because those didn’t help AT ALL!
I wanted a course that would give both of us the tools to support ourselves through this moment. Tools where my husband could feel confident in being near me and not afraid for me or scared by the experience. And with our second, we both had the tools to support ourselves. I was able to manage my entire experience AND I felt safe when I need to rest upon his shoulders and offer me the support I actually needed.
For our second birth, my husband was my rock. He didn't hesitate or falter. He stepped up and came near when I needed him to. He wasn't intimated or stuck in worry or fear for me. We had the tools to come together in that moment and create one of my most cherished memories; the moment we met our son, together, as a family. That feeling of complete love and awe. I am forever grateful for the beauty in that moment and the amazing experience we created together.
That look and feeling of utter helplessness and panic, from my first birth, are one of the major reasons I was driven to become a childbirth educator in 2011 and create Connected Childbirth. A non-agenda and partner-based comprehensive childbirth class. I have had couples of all kinds take my courses; mother & daughter, sisters, friends, and spouses.
In Connected Childbirth I get down to the nitty-gritty, the fundamentals, the basics, we talk about the hard stuff and give you both the tools to help you navigate your story without fear and panic; so that no one is caught in the headlights!
Specifically for our partners, my goal is to help them understand that they don’t need to fix this.
YOU CAN’T FIX BIRTH!
We just need them to sit by our side, be present and witness us.
We need them to offer us their love. Hold our hands, caress our face, hug, and kiss us through this journey.
We need them to fully focus on us and help us see our own strength.
We need them to offer us safety in this moment which just happens to be what they do best! Just by being themselves. When they are fully present and aware that creates safety for us in labor.
We need them to smile and make us laugh. Help us put our feet back down on the ground.
We need them to be there, right there, in front of us, in it with us so completely so that we do not feel alone.
Connected Childbirth breaks the role of the partner down so that they do not feel the pressure of being our doula, or of needing to fix it (birth isn’t a problem that needs fixing), or of not knowing how to support us in the moment.
We break it down so that they feel ready, willing, and prepared to come near. Not worried or afraid or overconfident because we will be looking at them for reassurance.
Connected Childbirth was designed for couples, like me, that desire to connect to this moment together.
That desire to feel this moment in all its rawness, all its joy, all its beauty, and the meet your baby together. Couples that desire to take full advantage of this opportunity as a family, to build intimacy into their birth experience especially in the hospital setting which inherently doesn’t seem intimate.
Connected Childbirth is for couples that desire to make this moment everything they desire. Just like the day you met, your first date, the day you married, the night you created your child; a day of wonder and amazing possibilities. A day you will remember for the rest of your life!
If you are ready to step into that magic as a team join us now. You won't regret it.
Much Joy - The Berrey Family!