When I gave to birth each of my sons, I had the opportunity to have more than one support person with me in the delivery room. While I knew my husband would be an awesome support person, I also knew I didn't want him to leave my side for one second. Therefore, I enlisted the help of both my best friend, and my sister, to do 'everything else' : ice chip run, call home if needed, stay with me if my husband needed to leave the room with the baby, etc.
It seems obvious what the role of the primary support person is: get the mother to the hospital, check her in, hold her hand during contractions, do all the things you learned in your birthing class and then happily ignore all of it when she tells you where you can shove your breathing exercises...
But what about numero duo? The back up plan? What should you expect if you have been asked to witness the birth of a baby you were not involved in creating?
You can't pass out.
You may have spent all of last Christmas in bed with the flu because you can't stomach the sight of the flu shot needle - but now is the time to dig deep. You are there in case the primary support person passes out. You are not there to cushion his fall.
No, you can't try some of the laughing gas.
Yes, you mentioned you think the support people should get some too. Yes, everyone laughed. Yes, they all know you were only sort of joking. But I am pretty sure sneaking a hit of the good stuff while the nurse isn't looking is likely to get you thrown out of the room. Not to mention risking the ire of the mother if she has a contraction while you are playing around with the face mask.
You may be asked to photograph or film the birth.
The primary person is holding mom's hand, which leaves you with, well, 2 empty ones. Try focusing on how happy you are it isn't your nethers getting burned into HD history.
No, you can't stay over too.
You and mom may have been inseparable since you were 4, but post baby bliss and recovery is for the parents.
This is nothing like the birth of your kids, so stop talking about them.
If you are a parent, this may be the hardest thing to keep to yourself (I would be terrible at it). It isn't that you want to take away from the mother's experience, you just want her to know that this is ,"just like that when you gave birth to Johnny". Worse yet - you risk freaking the mom out because something is different.
Your thoughts on an epidural versus natural child birth does not matter.
Keep your opinion to yourself. Ditto for your thoughts on the baby's name.
Facebook is not your friend.
Do NOT post one hint of the baby's birth, sex, name, eye or hair color until the parents have had a chance to call everyone they want to, and then post the announcement themselves. Better yet, just share their status once it is up.
Birth is beautiful.
Of all the people in the world, your friend asked you to be there to help her, support her, and to witness the birth of her child. Be honored. Be respectful. Don't be afraid to crack a joke when she has been laboring for hours and is still only 2 centimeters dilated. After all, that is why you are there.
More from parenting