Written by: Katya on 26/05/17
Every delivery is going to be intense. Even the smoothest of deliveries will have its moments of anxiety, uncertainty, and sometimes unbearable moments. But it is such a beautiful process in which you create memories that will be relived over and over of bringing a little one into the world. It is also sometimes an experience including humorous moments that will make you smile or cringe for years to come. When it comes to getting through the big day, here are some things to remember for having a smooth(ish) delivery. Here is a Parenting 101 course on 10 Things Husbands Should Avoid on Delivery Day.
If the doctor recommends a game plan, hold off on the eye-roll. This is actually a pretty big deal. The best thing you can do for your wife is to know her preferences, be aware of any possible risks causing the doctors concern, and get answers to your questions. Deliveries that go “as planned” don’t happen for everyone, but that is no reason not to plan ahead to the best of your ability.
It is not unheard of for birthing plans to require drastic changes in the midst of delivery. Keep your wife’s best interests in the front of your mind, not necessarily how her dream delivery looks. Sometimes childbirth just demands flexibility. Those who have gone through deliveries that didn’t go as planned often advise new mothers that this is a good time to practice the art of letting go of expectations. This might be really difficult for her to accept, so be ready with a lot of emotional support if she seems to be having a hard time.
You may have a job that requires being available to answer questions for people you work with, even when you are out of the office. If, for any reason, you need to leave the recovery room while your wife is recuperating, take your cell-phone! Not all of your coworkers will remember your reason for being absent, and a persistent ring-tone makes for a rude awakening from post-delivery napping.
Unless you enjoy the spectacle of your wife turning green and bellowing that you need to leave the room STAT, you should keep any snacking to a minimum or off the premises. You just never know what will turn her stomach! Remember the Parenting 101 saying popular among those from grandma’s generation: “If Mum’s not happy, nobody’s happy!”
The general feeling of pain and discomfort is expected for giving birth. But, be aware that sometimes a mom in labour can sense a problem with the delivery. Many times a change in the approach (i.e. a different birthing position, etc.) can help things progress. Sometimes the professionals catch what is happening and begin suggesting new tactics. But sometime it is up to you to advocate for her if it seems like no one is listening – if this is the case, any effort on your part to help her communicate with the doctor will be appreciated. It can be hard to determine if your help is needed. But the worst that can happen is she screams at you to get out. Remember, don’t take it personally or get defensive. Better to risk offering unwanted help than to let an actual problem continue.
This goes without saying. Every delivery is different, so going into your second or third with expectations of a repeat experience is unwise. If it does go very similarly, congratulations. But any good Parenting 101 course would warn you that you could just as easily be in for a very different experience.
Two words: Auto. Response. It is totally ok to prepare your device(s) beforehand with a text and/or email letting family, friends, and people from work know when you will be available to talk. Give yourself at least 24 hours of limited connectivity to get acquainted with your baby, sleep, eat, and sleep some more. Turn everything to silent, or even power down when you are not actively posting an update. Your auto-responder can direct anyone wanting updates to your preferred social media outlet for any details and photos you and your wife decide to share. The last thing you want is a ringtone preventing you from living in the moment because your device goes off every ten seconds. Besides, this habit will greatly enhance your parenting techniques in the future, so start learning how to do it now.
The television would have you believe she will scream about her undying dislike of you for putting her through this. In reality, your wife may have totally different things to say. She may have nothing to say to you at all. What you have to watch out for are the really unexpected efforts to cope with the pain, such as an unintended effort to put your finger in her mouth for something to bite down on, or the very unkind demand for 3 hours of intensive back massage to ease back labour from across the hospital bed.
During labour and delivery, you can really facilitate an optimal experience for your wife by running interference. Don’t be timid about protecting her personal space. Enlist the help of nurses for this as well. Know who she wants to see, and who she doesn’t want to see. Any unnecessary stress she feels will negatively impact her ability to deliver with minimum complications and her recovery time, and even well-meaning guests can contribute to her stress without knowing it. This is definitely your chance to be her hero.
If the two of you decided to bring a parent, doula, or other helping hand on the team for delivery-day, this is the moment you will need them most. Aside from grabbing things you may have forgotten when you rushed out the door, having help keeping vigil during a long labor (and later keeping an eye on the baby) allows you to get some much-needed sleep without leaving your wife hanging. Labour isn’t just exhausting for her! Plan ahead to avoid frustration on her part if you end up needing a break. When the baby arrives, don’t be shy about asking the nurses to take your newborn to the nursery if there isn’t anyone available to be there with you (or your wife prefers not to have additional people there for recovery). They are usually happy to hold on to the baby until he or she needs to be fed when you both need sleep, allowing you both to recover your energy so you can soak everything in. Great advice for new parents would be to take them up on it – they won’t be there when you take your baby home!
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