As a doula and midwifery student i see a lot of dads and other partners at a birth who are standing around awkwardly, just lost, and not knowing what to do. And thats okay, i know how hard it is! I started out that way too, but now im deep in this process of supporting women during birth here in the Greater Cincinnati area and have learned some things. I want to prepare you, as partners to a pregnant woman, to be your very best self, one who is prepared, willing to work hard and will meet the mom right where she is.
So there are a couple things I want to talk about…
First: If you get nothing else from this post, I want you to remember that during a birth, you should be calm, grounded, peaceful and know without a shadow of a doubt that she can birth her baby. Everything else after your grounded energy comes second. And for those of you who are list people, here are the top things i think you should have under your belt.
Before the birth, its incredibly valuable if you, as the partner…
- have met the care provider and established a relationship of trust and respect
- are friendly, grounded and aware of others in the birth space
- know the mothers birth plan and a little about each aspect
- share the mothers expectations of you during the birth experience
- have practiced different positions and ways to touch her during her labor
- are familiar with the stages of labor
- have 2-3 encouraging phrases that you know she will like to hear during her labor
- know that its inappropriate to be on your phone in her line of vision during the labor
- are able to establish boundaries around the mom if she needs a it
- be open to having an experience too
Luckily for you… I have midwifery classes, which means i have to make client handouts, and then want to share them with all of you! So here is mine on supporting moms as partners during her labor and birth : ) PS: its a trifold incase you want to print it out and enjoy. Partners at Birth.pdf
Blessingway Readings & Chants
I’m looking through my files to choose a reading for a mother blessing this weekend, I felt like sharing some of them here for people who might be googling around looking for something to share at a blessingway:
From the book Joyful Birth: A Spiritual Path to Motherhood by Susan Piver
The path of motherhood has a beginning, but no end. It’s constantly changing and constantly challenging. Along the way, we encounter our personal limits over and over. We fall in love over and over. We ride the sharp edge of hope and fear. On this path of discovery, as on any spiritual path, our pretensions are shattered, our minds are blown, and our hearts are opened. We cry, we laugh, we bumble around and make countless mistakes. Through it all, we are gently—or abruptly—poked into greater honesty, lovingkindness, and understanding. It is a truly joyful path.
The memory of [my child’s] birth has become a talisman that I hold in my heart as I journey deeper and deeper into motherhood. For these moments come again in every mother’s life—the times when we are asked to walk straight into our pain and fear, and in doing so, open up to a love that is greater than anything we ever could have imagined: all life’s beauty and wonder, as well as all the ways that things can break and go wrong…Again and again, motherhood demands that we break through our limitations, that we split our hearts open to make room for something that may be more than we thought we could bear. In that sense, the labor with which we give birth is simply a rehearsal for something we mothers must do over and over: turn ourselves inside out, and then let go.
This is the reading we often use for symbolically summoning the four directions. It is from the book Mother Rising: The Blessingway Journey into Motherhood:
Blessed be this gathering with the gifts of the East: communication of the heart, mind, and body; fresh beginnings with each rising of the sun; the knowledge of the growth found in sharing silences.
Blessed be this gathering with the gifts of the South: warmth of hearth and home; the heat of the heart’s passion; the light to illuminate the darkest of times.
Blessed be this gathering with the gifts of the West: the lake’s deep commitments; the river’s swift excitement; the sea’s breadth of knowing.
Read more at: http://talkbirth.me/2011/03/14/the-path-of-motherhood/