There is sometimes a point during birth when many mothers reach a mental roadblock. This can happen at any point but I have found that for the majority of my birth doula clients it occurs when they are nearing transition (when dilation is almost complete and their bodies are almost ready to start pushing) or when a cesarean birth becomes necessary. "I can't do it!", "I don't want to!", and "I give up!" are common expressions that they might express to their support partners during this time.
This can be nerve-wracking for you, the birth partner, as you watch your loved one struggle to continue on this journey into parenthood. Thankfully there are several ways to help ground mothers when they reach this point.
Top 3 Tips for Birth Partners.
1. Eye contact.
Is she clenching her eyes closed or are they moving a million miles a minute while she searches for something to help? Gently ask her to open her eyes and look at you. This can be used in any birth environment from home to hospital, birth pool to OR. By guiding her to look at you (presumably someone she loves and trusts) she is able to slow her racing mind and refocus her attention.
Is she holding her breath or breathing quickly? It is common for either of these reactions to occur when we are stressed and overwhelmed but unfortunately doesn't help anyone handle a stressful situation. You can help by regulating your own breathing pace, gently getting her attention, and helping her synchronize her breaths with yours. This can provide a rhythm for her to make it through the coming contractions or periods of unease.
Are her fingers fidgeting or toes anxiously wiggling? If you notice frantic or nervous movements it is a good bet that she is in need of some help grounding herself. A simple incredibly effective solution to this can be a loving and firm touch from you, her partner. By placing your open hand on her (with your palm and all fingers touching her) where you notice nervous energy you can help melt it away and provide her with a sense of balance again. The key to this is to ensure that you use enough pressure in your touch to have her notice your presence, avoid becoming ticklish, and slow/stop the frantic energy.
If you would like to learn more tips and tricks to help your partner go through pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum I would be happy to help.
As a birth doula I do not replace your role as your partner's primary support person. We work together to provide continuous support in the form of encouragement, comfort measures, and emotional reassurance. I am merely there to be the Robin to your Batman.
Using Cowichan Doula's birth services also means that you can feel confident that your partner will be supported when you need a break to eat, sleep, and recharge. You can participate to your own comfort level and can count on my support when you need help along the journey into parenthood. Hav
I'm Kaya, the owner behind Cowichan Doula. I offer birth & postpartum doula services as well as prenatal classes in the Cowichan Valley area on Vancouver Island.