As I've said before, there's not one right way to labor or birth, and it really does come down to a parent's preference.
Having said that, you may want to consider some things before asking your family and/or friends to join you on the journey to meeting your baby.
- What relationship do you share with the potential support person? Are you comfortable being honest with your feelings, even if it may feel offensive or hurtful to admit (i.e., Can you please leave during cervical checks? Can you give my partner and I privacy? There are too many people in here; I feel watched. I want to labor without clothes but I'm feeling modest around you. Your breath is awful! I am worried you're going to judge me if I choose to use pain medication. I wanted you here, but I don't want your boyfriend here!)
- Laboring means returning to a more primal way of being; do you feel comfortable simply moving and responding to your contractions without feeling like you need to change what feels right?
- What expectations does your labor support person have? Have you been clear in your expectations? (i.e., you prefer only emotional support, verses someone who will be hands-on or making suggestions for while you're in labor. You'd like someone there to take photographs. You expect your support person to remain awake while you're laboring, providing massage or support as you change positions in labor.)
- What does your support person know about the reality of birth? It's not like the movies! Will your support person provide reassurance about how your labor is unfolding or will your support person watch your contractions via the monitor (verses watching you and how you're coping)?
- Are you including this family member or friend because you feel obligated? Are you hoping this will improve your relationship and bond? Birth is not the time to expect relationships and communication patterns to miraculously change. You may be able to influence change prior to the birth, but labor and birth is NOT the time to focus on others. It's the time to focus on your labor and new baby.
I love working with a client's birth team, whether it includes just the medical staff or also family and friends! Sometimes I've seen very helpful, loving and supportive people in the labor room. Other times I've seen times where labor is not enhanced or supported, and instead it feels like the mother is "holding back" or labor even slows down while other support people are present.
I'm available to provide private meetings with support people (family and friends). The expectant parent(s) may or may not attend (it's up to you and the support person). Consultations are 2 hours and cost $75. During this time your support person will receive evidence-based information, learn ways to provide physical and emotional support, and learn about IU Health Bloomington Hospital's birthing practices.
Call to schedule your consultation today!