If you’ve ever given birth, you know that the hours of labor can be among the most difficult hours of your life. You're uncomfortably pregnant, dealing with painful contractions, and you're going at it alone. Sure, you have your doctor or midwife, and perhaps some special, select friends and/or family members by your side, but no one is experiencing what you're going through. Which is why you often rely most heavily on your partner. But what happens when your partner does things to piss you off during childbirth? Sadly, your partner will inevitably get on your nerves while you're busying bringing a human being into the world, so it's best to be prepared.
When I went into labor with my son, I spent most of the experience at home. I lived across the street from a hospital, so I felt comfortable attempting a home birth. And while my husband did OK when it came to making himself available to me, there were moments when I also wanted to, you know, yell at him. But I was too busy delivering a baby, and it’s not always easy to multitask when a baby is making their way down the birth canal, so he was spared my wrath. For the most part.
For example, he kept offering me peanut butter and crackers. And at first it was OK, but after six or seven hours of the same snack, I wanted something else. But did he look for something else to offer? Nope. Oh, and then there’s the time he disappeared for what felt like an hour (it was probably closer to 15 minutes, but that's neither here nor there). He needed to use the restroom and maybe he was feeling overwhelmed. But not as much as I was with an infant coming out of my vagina.
Our partners try, and their attempts are admirable, but they're human beings so they're bound to fail a time or two. So it's worth perusing some of the following scenarios to see if they ring true for you, too.
They'll Leave The Room For Some Inexplicable Reason
Partners, don’t leave the room. We might yell and curse at you to get the hell while simultaneously blaming you for our current position, but you need to stay and take it. And if you need to pee, try to be quick and discreet. If you want to play it safe, I suggest you don’t leave the delivery for more than two minutes, or we will surely hate you for a while.
They'll Complain When You Squeeze Their Hand
It’s a partner’s job to hold our hands while we push the ship out of the bottle, so to speak. We might squeeze damn hard because childbirth one of the most painful things in the world (especially if we didn’t choose to have an epidural, although labor and delivery can be painful with pain medications, too). If you complain that your hand “hurts,” just go ahead and slap yourself. You know, save us the trouble of telling you all about what actually hurts.
They'll Say You’re “Glowing”
Shut the hell up. No, I’m not glowing. I’m sweating. I probably look the worst I’ve ever looked because all my bodily fluids are being excreted at various intervals and I’m not wearing anything remotely cute. In fact, at some point I’m probably going to end up totally naked and in unflattering positions. Save the compliments for after the baby is out and all those happy hormones start kicking in.
They'll Dismiss Your Pain
No. Stop yourself right now. You don’t get to tell me how you think I feel.
And don't do the whole childbirth pain versus the pain of getting kicked in the balls thing. Unless you want to try an experiment right then and there, involving my foot and your scrotum.
They'll Turn On The TV Without Explicit Permission
Some people enjoy having a soundtrack or background noise on during labor. I listened to some Yoga station on Pandora, and it drove me up the wall because there were commercials. Commercials! So, eventually, I asked for it to be turned off.
But partners, please don’t put on some sporting event (even if it’s like the sporting event of the year), the season finale of whatever, or music you like because you feel like you need the energy. Just, no. Unless the woman in labor has explicitly said she wants a show or a radio on, leave it all alone.
They'll Forget Something They Should Have Packed In The Hospital Bag Months Ago
Maybe it’s a special robe you wanted to wear postpartum, or cozy socks, or a special family heirloom for good luck. Point is, you reminded your partner to bring it, and they forgot. It’s not going to end well.
They'll Say How “Tired” They Are
Sure, if you’re in labor for 10 or 12 or 20 hours, your partner has probably lost a significant amount of sleep and are somewhat tired. But you are the most tired because you’re giving birth, and your partner needs to kindly keep their exhaustion to themselves.
They'll Fall Asleep
This is akin to when you’re a new parent and your partner is passed out while you’re having to stay up all night with the baby. If your partner passes out while you’re in labor, feel free to yell even louder until they wake up (cause no one’s sleeping on this watch, people).
They'll Try To Comfort You When You Want To Be Left Alone
Sure, sometimes I like when my husband runs his fingers along my arm. But during labor, I didn’t want much of anything other than a hang to squeeze and the occasional hug from behind. If he’d tried anything else, I may have tried to kick him out of the delivery room.
They'll Claim Your Labor Is “Bad Timing”
I’ve heard other people talk about the “timing” issue in regards to going into labor. Maybe your partner has an important meeting, an interview, or a work trip. Maybe they’ve got the flu or diarrhea. Whatever. Point is, they have to be there, and bringing up how “inconvenient” any of it is for them is straight bullsh*t.
They'll Try To Tell You What To Do
Your partner has no say in what you do with your body. You could have sworn up and down that an epidural were not for you, but if the time comes that you decide you want them, your partner should not be telling you "you can’t" or "you shouldn’t" have them. They can very gently remind you of your birth plan, but then they need to kindly step away and let you do your thing.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.