Birth {not a spectator sport}

Often times you’ll hear the labor and birth process likened to a marathon.
It’s something a woman builds up and prepares for.
She muscles through every. last. second.
She puuuuushes through to the very end.

While all of this is true, I will say that a marathon requires only a runner.

The runner may have people watching and cheering for them, but they don’t actually help the runner outside of “Go, go, go!!!” and “Faster! You’re about to pass ’em!” {does anybody say that?! I probably would}

Birth on the other hand requires a team.
It requires working together to a common goal.
It requires not only words of encouragement and affirmation but also physical assistance.
A woman may work hard and prepare for this championship round, but she NEEDS her team.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that a woman can’t have a baby on her own {if that’s what she really wants}, but she needs to know she has a team to support her in the birth she’s working towards.

I’ve been to many births where a partner makes themselves comfortable on the couch or chair in the room, settles in and dabbles on their phone or reads a book or sleeps!
I’ve been to many a birth we’re I’ve heard, from the the person in the chair in the corner of the room, “Uhg, I’m tired! How much longer will we be here?”
This is when I usually say something like “Hey! The cafeteria is open, why don’t you take a break and grab some food.” or “You’re welcome to head home and we can let you now when things are getting close…” because the last thing a laboring woman needs is the burden of feeling like she’s causing someone else discomfort or inconvenience. It can completely derail what she’s focusing on.

As a doula, my job it to be a constant presence in whatever capacity the laboring mother needs. Sometimes that makes family members feel like their presence isn’t needed. On the contrary, I recommend everyone in the room to have a job.

Foot RubberWashcloth WetterPicture TakerWater Getter

While these tasks may seem mundane, all of these things are not only helpful but needed.

If you are given the honor of being present for a birth, I encourage you to ask for a job.
Ask to be involved somehow.
I promise your work will be appreciated and you will have the great satisfaction of knowing that you were able to be part of the team that helped to bring a tiny human Earthside.

What a great role you’ve been able to play!

So… what’s your position on the birth team?


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