Before talking about pregnancy, for a second, let’s keep pregnancy aside. To all the people who think we women crave for extra support and attention, I ask, don’t men need support? We as human beings are social beings. We live in societies for a reason. We are interdependent creatures. None of us will remain mentally stable if we don’t get support at the most basic level. Everyone, woman or man or child needs emotional and physical support. During various times in our lives, for multiple reasons, the need for support varies. At times, we need a truckload of it and at times we can do with sparing amounts. Pregnancy is one such time the COUPLE needs truckloads of support from each other and from people around them. We educators can’t emphasize enough that support is not needed just during labor and birth. A couple needs to be supported throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum.
Pregnancy and birth are life-changing events in the life of a couple- The transformation into parents. In one of my favourite books called “The Birth Partner” written by the legendary midwife and birth advocate- Penny Simkin, she mentions the need for support, and what can be expected out of a birth partner, support strategies and much more. I would recommend every couple to read it!
Today, I will briefly discuss the 3rd person support a couple needs during pregnancy and postpartum. A pregnant couple requires emotional support, physical support and today, informative support.
Informative support is the know how’s and facts. The internet is overflowing with articles on pregnancy and most of them are contradictory to each other! A couple needs someone to provide them the right information. That’s our role as birth educators and advocates. We help you understand your body, your baby and how to navigate through pregnancy and postpartum in a stress-free way and knowledgeable manner.
Emotional support is basically someone who would listen to you. As a couple you will have a rollercoaster of emotions and sometimes you just need someone to listen, help you make sense of it and build confidence in yourself. Most often than not, unless you are under a care of a midwife (which is great!!), you will not receive this support from your caregiver. Hospital appointments are slotted so close to one another that doctors merely don’t have time for this! Some people find this comfort in a birth educator, a doula, a trained birth companion or just a friend who has been through this before. Look out for someone you will be comfortable with and ensure you have this “person”.
Physical support is an absolute necessity during labor and birth. Your partner can be your support. However, at times, husbands are even more stressed and clueless and hence increasing the panic situation. A 3rd person can be of great help here. While the partner emotionally supports the mom, the birth companion helps with the physical aspects like back rubs, posture changes, exercises and other non-pharmacological comfort measures. Research has proven time and again that continuous support in labor increases chances of vaginal delivery and more importantly happy birth memories.
I cannot stress enough the importance of support. I hope you all find someone to be with you all the way! Always remember this quote by Sarah J., “When a woman feels confident in her body and is well supported, and able to express herself without inhibition, the pain that she may feel in labor and birth can become easily bearable and just one part of the process.”
By: Anjali Raj, LCCE, CLE