Three Simple Rules for Anyone Attending a Birth

 This post is dedicated to all of the fathers, partners, husbands, and others who will be attending births in the near future. While we, the pregnant women, appreciate your willingness and desire to be present at the births of our children, we do respectfully request that you follow a few ground rules during your participation in this important event. Here are a few suggestions to keep in mind when the time comes.

Rule number one. Everything changes once those contractions start coming. It does not matter what I said last month, last week, yesterday, or even this morning. It does not matter what it says in the birth plan, either. Once contractions start, my idea of what I thought I would want or need could be completely different from any prediction or preference that I had talked about previously. This applies to many different topics, including whether or not I get pain medications, which medications I choose, who I want in the delivery room, who I want out of the delivery room, and just about anything else that you can imagine. Please do not be offended. I would appreciate it if you could just go with the flow.

Rule number two. Do not watch the clock. Do not mention the time. In fact, please refrain from making any comment whatsoever about how long it is taking, how bored you are, or how things are progressing. Especially if they are not progressing. Regardless of how slow or fast things are moving, it feels like it is taking forever and it hurts. You said that you would be there for me, and that means that you can be here for me for however long it takes.

Rule number three. Do not judge or compare. Seriously. This labor and delivery stuff is hard work, and I am doing the best that I can. I do not care how the woman in the room next door looks, nor do I care whether her baby cries less than ours. Our birth may or may not have gone as we planned, but we don’t get a do – over. If this is our second birth, I don’t care what happened last time, this time is completely different, just like our babies are completely different people. If you have an opinion about what I am ordering for my meal, please keep it to yourself. I want what I want right now, so even if you think that a root beer float is not a good snack choice during labor, let me have it. Also, please note that even though I have an awesome sense of humor, my ability to understand and appreciate humor, sarcasm, or any other form of wit is severely diminished. As I said before, I am doing something very difficult and I am doing the best that I can.

Do you have any labor and delivery rules that you would add to this list? I’d love to hear about them.

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