Men, listen up and take note.
Childbirth has a great knack of changing even the most sane of women into braying, hissing, foul-mouthed creatures who will happily take a swing at you for breathing incorrectly.
Whether it’s your first time in the delivery suite, or fifth – here’s a little guide on how to support your labouring partner in the least irritating way possible…
Check out an episode, or two, of One Born Every Minute to get your gag reflex in order. You may be in for a pretty rude awakening if you go in totally blind – “Why is our baby covered in Dairylea?”. Watching a complete stranger’s blurred private parts might not be your idea of a relaxing night in-front of the box, but your inner Bear Grylls knows it’s always good to be prepared.
Time to go teetotal once the 37 week milestone arrives. She could blow at any moment so swap the lager for a lemonade and do not expect a medal for this brave sacrifice – you absolute soldier to the cause…
Practise the hospital route if you value your life, and car’s interior.
The Main Event
It’s all about her, do as she asks but only when she asks. Some women don’t mind a gentle leg caress whilst in excruciating pain, others will yell obscenities at you while trying to claw your eyes out if you even dare lay a hand on them. It’s hard to determine which of these two types your partner will be until you’re actually in the moment, proceed with caution and maybe pack some bear spray…
Image courtesy of Universal
Now is not the time to suggest your better half ‘experience’ labour the way nature intended. Champion her decision to take as many hardcore narcotics as she pleases or in a few months you may find yourself on the end of a vasectomy with only 5mls of Calpol and deep breathing to get you through it.
Your main responsibility is to get her any drugs she wants in the fastest time possible. If she’s screaming “Get me the f***ing morphine NOW!!!”, while her head spins like a rotisserie chicken, then off you pop like a crack-hungry Challenge Anneka to find someone to shoot her up good style.
*Side note – it is not hilarious to anyone, other than yourself, to pinch her gas and air. She NEEDS it. All of it.
Forget about sleep and don’t you dare complain about it. Sit in that uncomfortable hospital chair like a masculine Meerkat, watching, waiting and back rubbing (bear spray at the ready…). You might have a pain in your neck but it will be nothing in comparison to the pain in her uterus.
You may be excused for toilet breaks, as long as you’re quick…
Image courtesy of ScoopPick.com
Now is not the time to rekindle your passion for pickled onion Monster Munch or garlicy luncheon meats. If your stomach hasn’t been completely turned by that scene from ‘Alien’ unfolding in front of you, and you insist on chowing down, then plain and simple is the way forward. Don’t go offering her a kebab mid contraction unless you fancy wearing it, or seeing it in reverse.
Fine hone your catching skills. Vomit, amniotic fluid, and babies – there’s going to be a lot flying around…
Chatting up your midwife is an absolute no, even if it’s just to get you extra cups of tea and a warm egg and cress sandwich (BIN IT, see previous point on food). It will do you zero favours with the angry, grunting woman on the bed.
If your lovely lady is planning on a water birth and you fancy getting in on the action, then don’t forget your trunks. She will not thank you for exposing yourself to the midwife. (See above note on flirting)
*Side note – If you’re going in then be under no illusion it’s going to be a relaxing hot tub experience in ANY WAY. Pack a sieve.
It’s a daunting time, us women folk get it and our hearts / vaginas bleed for you – they really do. That said, what we don’t want to happen is for you to catch sight of an umbilical cord and hit the decks faster than Ronaldo – ok? You getting all the attention while we’re busy birthing humans and dinner plate-sized organs is NOT COOL.
Words you’ll have no doubt uttered, “Nah, mate I’m staying at the head end”, will come back to haunt you as you’re catapulted ‘Vag’ first into the action. So you don’t want to see your favourite pub burn down and then get crapped on, we get it, but pull yourself together man and go where the hell you’re told.
What’s that smell?
You don’t want to see us do it as much as we don’t want to do it, but remember, your other half is expelling life out of her vagina and if she just so happens to push last night’s chicken casserole out in the process – DO NOT MAKE A SCENE. Be a knight in shining scrubs and pretend the smell is just your kebab working its way out in the form of a nervous fart. Never speak of the incident again – even in an argument months down the line and you’re looking for something really good to throw in her face.
Image courtesy of planetscience.com
Doctors & Nurses
Your partner is lying in bed, legs akimbo and in struts a swathe George Clooney-esque doctor who, within seconds, is poking her in places that only you normally poke. Is this even allowed?! Reality check, she is not enjoying it. You’re all good – in about three years time (when you next have sex) she won’t be handing you a surgical mask and asking for a kinky re-enactment.
Hello Dr Doug (Image courtesy of vulture.com)
Ok so this is one of those big words mentioned in the hippy dippy NCT classes she made you go to, but you were too busy playing Candy Crush so have no idea what it means. In a nutshell, she’ll be getting cut from her V to her A. Just a head’s up, now is not the time for humour…Suggesting to the Doctor or midwife repairing the damage to ‘tighten’ things up while they’re down there is not going to end well for you – penis-less bodies have been found in ditches for less.
It’s terrifying and it seems as though everything is completely out of your hands, but you have to keep calm – for her sake. Take a deep breath and think ‘What would Bear Grylls do?’ He’d god damn get in there with some home-made salad tongs and pull that baby out himself, then celebrate with a placenta Big Mac, that’s what. Don’t do that. Just do your best to reassure her that everything is going to be ok (and stay vertical).
Image courtesy of Daily Mirror
In the final stages you need to encourage her like she’s crossing the finish line of the world’s toughest marathon. She’s going to want to stop but you can’t let her – you’re Alex Ferguson, you’re Mickey Goldmill, you’re the god damn Jerry Maguire of child birthing “SHOW ME THE BABY!!!”.
Do your poor partner a favour and give her half an hour to wipe the placenta off before getting ‘the’ pic to send to friends / family/ the whole of Facebook. Let her vet them too before you hit send, she’s been through enough without knowing the world has just seen a sweatier, bloodier and exhausted version of herself – minus an Instagram filter.
After what she’s just been through, you’d better have something good in store for her. Think diamonds, handbags, shoes, the hot doctor’s telephone number, whatever – she’s earned it. Pick a nice, romantic time to present her with this token of your appreciation – head’s up, don’t do it while helping her go for her first post-labour poo…
So there you have it – a full but not exhaustive guide that might, just might, help you get through the whole labour process with your balls intact (if you’re brave enough to use them again that is…).
A few helpful links: