Five ways to make sure you and your partner are a team when your baby is born
Whoop Whoop you’re pregnant! You and your other half are over the moon.
This is the moment you’ve been waiting for!Potential due dates are circled in your diary, you excitedly discuss who to tell first and when, you give a nervous giggle and talk about how funny it is to think there’s a little version of the two of you already taking shape, and somehow you start to find random apps that’ll give you minute to minute updates of what’s happening in your body.
It’s all whirlwind exciting and you feel soooo close to your partner. You’re even more of a team now. You’re the power couple nurturing a new life.
That’s the energy you want to keep isn’t it? You want to keep that for more than five minutes, for more than an hour. This is your energy, your baby.
Fast forward multiple weeks.
You don’t want to be the pregnant couple trailing down the street looking like you haven’t slept a wink because you were worrying about how your baby was going to get out of there. You don’t want to be the couple googling at midnight what happens when you have a c-section. You definitely don’t want to be the unprepared couple to whom everything comes as a surprise. Will you poop when your baby pops out? Is that a real thing? Yes, and you might… or you might not.
How do you keep the magic when your body is changing, your hormones are like a yo-yo and your other half is mourning the spontaneous you who didn’t use to plan how to get 10 pillows correctly positioned and be asleep by 8.30pm – only to get up three hours later obsessing about the contents of the hospital bag or when to pack it.
Here are five ways you can be the family that grows together, not the couple that drifts apart:
1) SHOW YOUR BIRTH PARTNER HOW TO SUPPORT YOU
From a hypnobirthing perspective their role as birth partner is to be the keeper of your birthing space; to make it exactly what you want, or as close as possible to your ideal. They can support you through soothing touch, bringing your attention back to your breath, and using positive language. He or she is your advocate so that you can stay in your birthing zone. You need to 100% trust each other during the unfamiliar. Do the work together now to make that happen – and make it fun! Your birth partner has his own strength and role to step into.
2) UPGRADE YOUR THINKING
Chances are your partner will share some of the same fears as you (and different ones) but won’t talk to you about them because they don’t want you to worry. The more informed you both are the more powerful you will feel. Preparing for birth isn’t just about the practical know-how. You need to tune into your thoughts and feelings around birth and upgrade them so that you are working from a positive base. Weed out the horror stories, feed your positivity. Look for happy family role models. It’s too easy to focus on the screaming baby, the embarrassed dad and the stressed mum in the restaurant. Start to actively notice the happy couples strolling through the park, the proud dads cooing at their little ones, and the couple who are still very much a couple as they share the joy of the mess and beauty of parenthood. Do this with a gentle curiosity, not to judge one as wrong and the other as right, but as a way to notice that your perception and attitude is what makes or breaks every situation.
3) PLAN BEYOND
Yes, you’re pregnant but you’re not just a pregnant woman and a mum to be, you’re going to have demands made on you that you’ve never had before. Adequately prepare for parenthood and for your relationship together as parents.
You’re creating life together as a family; plan beyond the pregnancy. How does he or she see life panning out? Be the family that grows together, not the couple that drifts apart. Talk about your individual strengths, your hopes, dreams. What will be important to you as a family? Fun, education, healthy living, travel? How might being a family make you feel? Allow space to talk through concerns as well as aspirations. If you’re taking a career break how does that feel? How will your partner feel if he’s the sole financial provider? Explore and create a safe space for the unspoken to be spoken.
4) BOND AS A FAMILY
This is your body, your baby, your choice when it comes to giving birth (with medical support as and when necessary). It’s easy for you to chat to your unborn baby because you’ll be able to find time on your own in the shower, when driving, making a cup of tea. Your partner can’t exactly ask you to leave the room though can they? There are multiple ways for you to bond as a family unit before your baby is born. You and your partner can choose music for you all to listen to, talk to your bump, gentle massage your back and shoulders, stroke your belly. Write a letter to your baby, go to appointments together, begin to think as a family and what would be different if your baby was already born. Enjoy your precious couple time and build firm foundations. From around 15 weeks+ your little bump is growing increasingly sensitive to sound. Actively involve each other in baby discussions, and remember to dedicate some time to non-baby chat. That’s who you fell in love with.
Let your partner know how much their support means to you. Maybe they haven’t fully embraced their new role yet but if they are doing little things on a regular basis such as carrying the shopping, bringing you coconut water and carrots at 3am or indulging your urge to watch back to back seasons of Grey’s Anatomy then tell them how much it means to you. Now is the time to practice teamwork and show your partner that you deeply trust them (which comes with preparing for the unknown). Tell them how it makes you feel when they do something that helps and shows how much they care about you and baby bean, and tell them what you need. Be loving, the more oxytocin you guys create (love hormones) the easier it’ll be for you to reach that happy place during labour and birth, and oxytocin is highly effective when it comes to creating comfort and calm in your body which is exactly what you need for an easier birth.
Sophia Hanson is a hypnobirthing instructor, prenatal yoga teacher, and confidence coach based in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. She covers all of the above and more in her hypnobirthing classes as well as sharing tools and techniques to help you stay calm, and birth with confidence. She’s passionate about supporting couples to join forces and prepare for birth. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07787 701 131 if you are ready to invest in a private course tailored specifically to your needs.