I entered into the birth world so that I could support women and families during pregnancy, birth, labor and the postpartum period. The thing that surprised me (and continues to do so!) is the amazing support that I see from partners, both prenatally and during labor. One of my favorite parts of this job is how I can encourage and see that connection grow when women need it the most. It is something I am sure to talk about in my prenatal visit with them.
We all know that positive birth experiences and faster moving labors are attributed to high oxytocin levels. It is called the “love hormone” after all! In fact, many hormones are at play during labor that contribute to this (see more information here: http://www.childbirthconnection.org/maternity-care/role-of-hormones/) My clients’ partners continue to amaze and impress me by instinctively promoting this hormonal flow during the labor and birth process.
I was privileged to be able to see and meet Dr. Michel Odent at an amazing birth conference last October. He is an esteemed MD in the obstetric world and has made amazing advances for maternity care. He spoke about neocortical inhibition and the importance of seeing birth as primal and not interrupting the diminished neocortical activity that happens during labor. I truly enjoy helping partners set the perfect atmosphere for the beloved mother of their child to encourage this.
I want to give you an example that inspired me to write this post. Last year, I was supporting a client who had a very long labor that began strong and stayed that way the entire time. She was so powerful and stoic through it all and her husband was attentive to her every need. While I worked on physical comfort measures and coached her through her more intense contractions, he was by her side, breathing with her in rhythm and showing her how to slow down her breaths. He kept eye contact with her the whole time and kept her focused. This was not something specific that I had shown him. He attuned to what she needed and went with it. When her labor got to a point where she was questioning her ability to persevere, he said the most amazing thing to her. She kept saying “I have no more strength left.” He then said “Yes you do. Take my strength.”
This was remarkable to me. He was willing to give her everything so she would have the strength to continue. I truly believe this was a turning point for her as she realized she was in a space where she was completely safe and supported.
Partners-don’t ever think you aren’t enough. You have what she needs and I am honored to encourage you every step of the way.