It’s easy to think of your partner as just a cheerleader for you during your pregnancy & delivery. How can you make them part of the team?
This episode was inspired my post on what to do if your partner is selfish during pregnancy.
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples — it is created to help BOTH parts of the couple get prepared for birth.
In this episode
- Lower your expectations
- Be specific
- You’re not mad at THEM, it’s the situation
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
[00:00:00.190] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys. Welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 158, we are talking about partners and getting them to be a member of the team, instead of just a cheerleader. Let’s untangle it.
[00:00:22.290] – Hilary Erickson
Hi. I’m Hilary Erickson, the curly head behind the Pulling Curls Podcast: pregnancy and parenting untangled. There’s no right answer for every family, but on this show, we hope to give you some ideas to make life simpler at your house. Life’s tangled, just like my hair.
[00:00:44.770] – Hilary Erickson
Before we get started, I just want you guys to know that partners are a gamble. A partner who has previously been super supportive and amazing may get in the labor room and the fluids and stuff like that may make them just freak out.
[00:00:57.950] – Hilary Erickson
And they may not be as supportive as you had wanted. And sometimes, rarely, there are partners who are not super supportive during your pregnancy who get in there and just like, the adrenaline gets them going and they end up being amazing birth partners.
[00:01:10.660] – Hilary Erickson
So it really is a gamble. You really can’t be sure what to expect, especially if you don’t prepare them at all. So I’m excited to bring you guys this episode to chat about making a supportive partner.
[00:01:25.310] – Hilary Erickson
Do you feel prepared for your delivery? In just three short hours, you can be prepared for the confident, collaborative delivery you want. You’ll know what to expect and how to talk with your health care team. And there are no boring lessons in this class. I’ll use humor, stories from my 20 years in the delivery room to engage both of you. I love how Alyssa told me that she found herself laughing at things that used to sound scary. Most of all, you guys are going to be on the same page from bump to bassinet, join the online prenatal class for couples today. You can save 15% with coupon code UNTANGLED. You can find the link in the show notes.
[00:02:00.810] – Hilary Erickson
Of course, preparation is key, which is why I recommend everyone takes the online prenatal class for couples. If you are looking to get your partner ready for birth, it is the course for you. It really is creative for couples to help you guys both get prepared. Okay, so let me give you three tips in creating a supportive partner, right? Things you can do to help your partner be supportive. The first one, which is like my advice every single time, and it’s my advice to myself almost every single time, is to lower your expectations, right?
[00:02:28.820] – Hilary Erickson
Your partner is not going to be the same as a doula in general because a doula’s like, studied. They’re like prepped, and their one goal is to get you through labor. They don’t need to hang on and raise the child with you. So sometimes lowering your expectations as to what your partner is going to look like in labor can really help. And then when they just max out your expectations, you’re just wowed and it’s very exciting. So lower your expectations on what your partner is going to be available for you to do. Second is to tell them exactly what you need with words. Right?
[00:02:58.380] – Hilary Erickson
So often you’re just like, no, not that. Right?
[00:03:01.630] – Hilary Erickson
And you may not know what you need. And if that’s the case, say that, I don’t know what I need. I’m a mess right now. It’s really hurting in my XYZ, right? But if they’re pushing in the wrong spot, don’t just hold it in. Just be like, hey, could you push a little bit lower? Could you push a little bit harder? Could you just use your fingers instead of the heel of your hand? Could you use a racket ball instead of the heel of your hand?
[00:03:20.930] – Hilary Erickson
All those different kinds of things. Just be really specific about what you need, right? Because they really are there to fulfill your needs right then, they really want to. So the more specific you are, rather than holding it in and just being upset inside that they’re not giving you what you need, the better it’s going to work out for you.
[00:03:36.300] – Hilary Erickson
Okay. Number three is to be really clear with them. Usually you have to do this in advance, that whatever you’re feeling or experiencing is not aimed at them. I think the media has made it so that men may feel like we feel like all the pain is because of them, and I really don’t see that in the labor room. Yes, women may be rethinking their life choices when they’re in the labor room, but I don’t think most often they’re blaming the partner for what’s going on. Right?
[00:04:02.720] – Hilary Erickson
And so talking with them in advance about how you’re going to be upset at the pain and the situation and maybe some fears that you have and that it’s not aimed at them so that they can be prepared that when you’re a little bit upset. It’s not at them. And they can realize that you guys are kind of together in this war against labor per se. That you’re fighting together against the pain and the situation rather than fighting each other. If that makes sense. That’s always been a tip that’s been really helpful for all of parenting for me to remind myself that we’re fighting against sleep deprivation rather than each other.
[00:04:33.920] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, now to the partners, what are three things that you can do to be a supportive partner? Number one is to not get your feelings hurt. Right? Often when someone tells us very specific, like, what we need to do, that can be annoying, and you might feel inadequate. You might have things that come up. Right?
[00:04:51.250] – Hilary Erickson
This is not the time for those.
[00:04:52.900] – Hilary Erickson
[00:04:53.320] – Hilary Erickson
So she’s going to tell you exactly what she wants. Your job is to try and give that as best you can. And if it’s not something you can give, then you can verbalize that as well.
[00:05:02.040] – Hilary Erickson
But make sure that you’re not getting your feelings hurt. Remember, the war is against labor, not at each other. And I’m guessing your partner really feels that way as well.
[00:05:09.900] – Hilary Erickson
Number two is to listen. So when they tell you specifically what they want, try and do that. Listen when they’re just scared or where they’re hurting or they don’t know what’s hurting and they just don’t know what to do. A lot of labor is I don’t know what to do, and that’s really scary, right?
[00:05:24.710] – Hilary Erickson
So listen to them. That’s such an important thing.
[00:05:27.160] – Hilary Erickson
Number three is to come up with ideas when necessary. I don’t know about you, but me, like, when I get a really bad headache speaking to the partners because they’re not going to have labor to fall back on. I just want to lay in my bed and die. I’m not like, let’s get up and get a glass of water. Let’s take our allergy medicine.
[00:05:43.380] – Hilary Erickson
Let’s take a Tylenol. If my awesome husband can come in with a glass of water and Tylenol, I will take it.
[00:05:49.730] – Hilary Erickson
But a lot of times it’s really difficult for me to come up with those ideas when I’m really hurting, and I bet some of you guys have experienced that feeling as well. So when you can come up with ideas and ways to solve things, that is an awesome way to be a supportive partner. In fact, it’s one of the things I mentioned most in my labor movement cards that come with the online prenatal class for couples is that often you need to be the idea guy because they’re just going to want to curl up in a ball and never move.
[00:06:14.630] – Hilary Erickson
But if you’re like, hey, let’s try this thing, why don’t you hold on to me? We can pretend like we’re slow dancing in junior high. You’re giving them ideas, and you’re going to end up being a star in the labor room. So coming up with ideas is so important. In the online prenatal class for couples, I give lots of ideas that partners can do to help, and I think it just really prepares people in the right way.
[00:06:35.470] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, I do have one more bonus tip. I couldn’t keep it to three for partners, and this one is for when you’re in the hospital. Partners. If you can help the hospital staff in any way, jump to it. If the partner can help me turn mom, I will do it more frequently.
[00:06:49.020] – Hilary Erickson
But if I have to wait out at the nursing station and try and find a nurse to come in and help me turn mom, I am not able to turn mom as frequently because sometimes it’s hard to get another nurse in the room. But if I know that dad is on board, I will help mom turn more frequently.
[00:07:01.950] – Hilary Erickson
Because a lot of times things take two people, especially if you have an epidural. It just helps so much. So anything you can do to help out the staff can really help your partner have a better labor because then I’m able to concentrate on other things instead of like…
[00:07:15.760] – Hilary Erickson
Nothing drove me more crazy when the partner was just like, hey, can you refill my water pitcher? When I’d already shown him where the water pitcher was, I’m like, I have 5 million other things to do.
[00:07:24.370] – Hilary Erickson
Of course I want to refill the water pitcher. And I would go ahead and do it, but the more you can do as a partner, it just takes things off my plate, and I’m able to do other things for your partner that are awesome.
[00:07:32.960] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, so all of this boils down to taking a class is really going to be helpful. I know it’s easy to feel like a lot of pregnancy is weighing on the pregnant person, but you’ve got to imagine your partner has never felt the baby move inside. They might have felt the baby kick a little bit on the outside. They’ve never felt the contractions. They’ve never felt cramping. They haven’t most likely gone to doctor’s appointments every single one and really discuss this.
[00:07:54.790] – Hilary Erickson
They probably haven’t looked into labor as much as you have, and so they’re just starting out from behind where things are scary. And you probably have talked to lots of other moms during your pregnancy to get kind of an idea what to expect. Whereas dads don’t tend to sit around and talk about labor because it’s just not what they do, whereas we’re more prone to talk about it with our friends.
[00:08:14.500] – Hilary Erickson
So that’s why I would encourage you to take an online prenatal class. If you don’t take mine, take somebody else’s. But make sure that it’s repairing both of you so that you guys can be a team when you get into the labor room rather than a birther and a cheerleader, because that’s not what you want. You really want somebody that’s on your team that’s in it with you together.
[00:08:30.840] – Hilary Erickson
So I hope you guys found this helpful. The online premium class, the two chapters that would be really helpful for this. Well, one would be the labor movement cards. I talk a lot about where you can move and how partners can help you, including just reminding you to move. That can be a big thing that they do. And then the second one would be the pain management bonus video. We talk a lot about massage and other things you can do. It gives partners tons of ideas on how to help you labor a little bit more comfortably. So there’s two things that partners can really do, but I also think that all of the information just so that they know more what to expect is so helpful.
[00:09:03.730] – Hilary Erickson
And if you look at my reviews, you’ll see that other people have felt that same way.
[00:09:06.900] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, be sure and stay tuned for next week where we are talking about saving for retirement another time. That it’s super important to communicate and be on the same page. And then the week after that, we’re heading back to pregnancy, and we are talking about pain management during pregnancy. So lots of good information. I hope you guys will stay tuned.
[00:09:23.760] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode. The Pulling Curls Podcast grows when you share us on social media or leave a review. If you do, please tag us so that we can share and send you a virtual hug, which, frankly, is my favorite kind of hugging. Until next time, we hope you have a tangle free day.