With support restrictions in place at most care facilities (at the hospital here in Nanaimo, you’re allowed two support people with you during labour), it’s more important than ever that you choose your team carefully.
If you have a partner, it’s probably a given that they’ll be one of your support people. Who you choose to be your second support person (and remember, you don’t have to have a second support person if you don’t want to) may be a difficult decision to make. It can be hard to plan for what kind of support you’ll need before you’re there, and if your support people have never supported a birth before, it can be hard for them to know what their role will be.
While your close friend, sister, or mom may seem like an obvious choice, it’s super important to make sure that you take some time to really think about what kind of support they’re able to provide- and if that’s going to work for you. Do they make you feel calm and at ease? Can they stay cool under pressure? Are they draining to be around? Are they going to be able to help you achieve your birth goals?
Remember that this is YOUR birth, and that you are not obligated to have anyone there that doesn’t make you feel 100% amazing. You’ll probably remember the day your baby is born for the rest of your life and it’s okay to be extremely picky with your support team. You won’t regret making true support a priority!
Here are three questions to ask yourself before you add someone to your birth team.
1. What is their role?
Why is this person at your birth? What is their job- is it helping you remember breathing techniques? Timing your contractions? A massage? Get specific! Birth is not a spectator sport. If they don’t have a job to do, you may want to reconsider having them there. While everyone is excited to meet your new baby, having someone there simply to witness their birth might leave you feeling frustrated or unsupported. Make sure whoever you choose is there for you, not the baby!
Remember, you aren’t obligated to allow anyone at your birth, even if they’re family, your best friend, or even your care team! You are the only one that gets to make this decision.
2. Can you be yourself around them?
You’ll probably feel a TON of big emotions during birth, and a lot of them may be intense. Birth is a vulnerable, overwhelming, and often doesn’t go to plan. Many people are surprised by the intensity of their emotions before, during, and after birth. Before inviting someone onto your birth team, ask yourself how this person responds when you’re angry, frustrated, afraid, or anxious? Do they help, or do they make things worse? Have they even seen you in any of these states?
Emotional distractions can totally stall your labour, so make sure you feel 100% comfortable with everyone that is in your space.
3. Can they handle it?
Can this person handle seeing birth up close (spoiler: there are fluids!)? Are they able to stay supportive and focused, even if your labour is long? Are they able to stay calm and rational if there are complications, or are they anxious and likely to panic or feel worried if something goes wrong? If you have a birth plan, do they support it?
How will this person react to seeing you in pain? Are they able to stay objective when things get intense? Do they know much about pregnancy and birth, and can they be helpful by providing information or suggestions when you need a fresh outlook?
Adding a certified doula to your birth support team means that not only will you know that your second support person is really cut out for the job, but also that both you and your partner will be fully supported no matter what happens. A doula allows you access to endless tips, resources, and support techniques, which means that you both can focus on handling labour without either of you trying to remember everything that you learned in your Childbirth Education class. Having professional birth support helps families feel empowered, confident, and totally prepared for labour before it even begins!
Learn more about how birth support can help you here. When you’re ready, please reach out to us and book a complimentary conversation so we can start talking about how we can help you achieve your goals!