"Induction" refers to an artificial beginning of labor, and for some moms the word alone is scary. She might need or choose an induction for any number or reasons and may have any number of feelings about this turn of events. Some women happily choose an induction date once they go past their due date, while others try to avoid one only to realize it's medically advisable. More still may find this is the culmination of an already stressful, high-risk pregnancy. In any case, there are things you could do for a woman being induced that will make her love you forever... or at least not hate you.
I didn't expect to have an induction with my second child. I dramatically and classically went into labor all on my own with my first child. It was very sitcom, too: my water broke and, right away, I started having contractions. With my second pregnancy, I planned on having a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) from the beginning, and I knew from my research that it was generally better to spontaneously labor than be induced if the aim was vaginal delivery. So when my midwife advised, at 38 weeks, that I should consider an induction, I was thrown for a bit of a loop.
Looking back, there were definitely some perks to going the induction route (chief among them the fact that at 38 weeks my daughter was already over 9 pounds and OMG that was plenty), but here are some of the things people did for me that made it better:
Don't Tell Her How To Feel
Any way she feels about her induction is valid, and while you can and should encourage her to try to be positive you should be simultaneously validating her emotional experience. It's OK for her to be disappointed or excited or scared or grateful or elated or all of those things at once. Just let her tell you how she feels instead of attempting to assign a feeling to her and her personal experience.
Don't Focus On How You Feel
Because we're on the topic of women's bodies in general, and pregnancy in particular, it's quite common for everyone to have an opinion and, hey, you might, too. Maybe you feel inductions are over-prescribed and generally unnecessary. Maybe you feel they're the greatest thing since sliced bread and anyone who would eschew one needs to get their head on straight. Maybe you have your own experience with a labor induction. It's OK for you to have feels... but your friend's experience is not about your feelings, so now is not the time to have her listen to your well-thought out treatise on the subject.
Tread Lightly If You Want To Share Your Own Induction Experiences
Sharing birth experiences is not only helpful but powerful way to empower one another about having a baby. There is a limit, though. There's a way to prepare an expectant mom about some of the more unpleasant aspects of an induction without scaring the crap out of her. Be honest, but highlight the personal nature of your story (as well as the fact that everyone experiences labor and pain differently).
Focus On The Birth More Than The Induction
Because baby, you guys! This is the really exciting stuff. The induction is really going to be so incredibly secondary to the fact that she's going to be be meeting her little one after months of having them head-butt her bladder.
Don't Try To Talk Her Out Of It
You are not her doctor, so you have zero say in her medical decisions. And if she has told you she is having an induction then clearly she has made up her mind, so why are you getting all Pushy Patty about this?
Help Her Lean Into The Positives Of Her Situation
Because there are a lot! You don't have to worry about going into labor at an inopportune moment. You can double and triple check everything in your hospital bag. You can send those last few work emails and let people know not to expect you on Monday. If you have kids you can prepare them for the arrival of their new sibling. It can be a little anticlimactic but, honestly, it's nice to be prepared.
Offer To Help Her Prepare
No matter how Type A you are about pregnancy and baby prep, there's no dearth of things to be done. Cleaning, laundry, shopping... you name it and it's sitting on a to-do list.
This is a pretty big one and you will for sure be be MVP if you take on this task. The great thing about offering to do this for a mom who is having an induction, however, is knowing when you're going to have to head over rather than anxiously awaiting a call in the middle of the night for a stretch of weeks.
Cook For Her
She will need freezer meals. All the freezer meals. Make her freezer meals. This is good advice for any new mom.
Coordinate With Her Partner When You Can
If she's expecting with a partner, coordinate with them about the things that need to happen around the house and with the family. She's been growing a human for the better part of a year, so her partner owes her some hardcore coordinating and household management.
Be Excited For Her
She might need someone to be excited with, or she might be stressed and need someone to show her the way. You need to be like a corny DJ at a South Jersey Italian wedding and pump her up.
Praise & Congratulate Her
She's in the home stretch, so she deserves someone to stand in awe of her a little bit.
Just Be Cool
Honestly, it's not that hard.