James Short runs courses and programs for Dads as they transition into parenthood. Helping them to manage the chaos and bring some calm back into their lives, James shows them how to manage work life and personal life, whilst being the role model they want to be.
Do you remember that day when your partner told you she was pregnant?
How did you feel?
For some new dads it is excitement beyond belief, then they go into “ok, what’s next, what do I need to do?” while others sometimes question what it all means for life as they know it.
Over the next 9 months (give or take), the journey continues with doctors, classes, setting up the nursery and more milestones until the day arrives, where your partner’s water breaks, contractions are getting closer, and it’s time to go.
The big day can be a roller coaster of emotions for you and your partner, and especially if you’re a first time dad, and “not being in control” can be a little overwhelming to say the least.
Don’t worry, because here are 5 tips to use when the big day arrives, so you can support your partner throughout the birth, and show up on numerous levels for your partner, your child and yourself.
Supporting your partner through labour: just showing up is not an option
Gone are the days where you hang outside, have a smoke, read the paper or TV and get called in when the baby is wrapped in a blanket and on your partner’s chest.
Sorry, but welcome to the next century.
The role of the father has changed, where they have been more involved in the birthing process, support role, care and nurturing role for mother and baby. This is your baby and your partner and they need to be treasured and supported in a number of ways. Not to mention you’re likely to be the mediator and communication specialist between medical support staff and the mother.
So, here are my top 5 tips for the big day:
- The big day starts at when the news is revealed
That’s right, don’t leave it to the last minute to find out what is happening, how the baby is developing, and what your partner is going through – get involved, get curious and educate yourself – you are responsible for the guidance and development of this little one – be the role model you need to be, even before they arrive. Remember, you’re responsible for supporting your partner throughout the entire pregnancy.
2. Game day plan
Having a birth plan will give clarity and understanding on what you and your partner want in a birth. Don’t leave this up to your partner, because it is your role to ensure it’s followed to the best of its ability. Some antenatal classes help you map out these plans, like the one my wife teaches, called Calmbirth. It is your role to work with the midwives or obstetricians to bring this plan to life.
3. Don’t take it personally
Listen, there might be stuff that is said by your partner that may not be intentional. However, due to her contractions, hormones and pushing out your bundle of joy, words might be said in the heat of the moment. Don’t take it personally. Come from a space of love and compassion, be there for her. She is one brave person to go through what she is going through, so respect the position she is in and don’t sweat the small stuff.
4. Be present throughout the birth process
It’s not about just “showing up.” It’s about being present when you show up. Put down the paper, turn off the TV and be present with your partner. Remember your birth plan, see what she needs and be there for her and your baby. Being present will assist her as it will support her and nurture her through this journey.
5. Park any complaints or criticisms
Seriously, don’t complain and put your partner under any further stress she doesn’t need. Chances are, you’ll feel hungry, bored or tired (labour can go for a long time!) but remember the bigger picture and place your own agenda to the side and be there for her at this time.
When you get the news that you’re expecting a new baby, celebrate and start preparing with these 5 tips as they will give you the confidence, security, and support that you’ve got this.