One of the most important decisions a new mom (or any mom) will make, is who she will allow in the labor and delivery room. Whether she's birthing at home or at a birthing center or in the labor and delivery wing of a hospital, who she surrounds herself with when she does (arguably) one of the most difficult things she'll ever do in her life, is paramount. I know having your mom and partner and perhaps even other moms there with you may or may not be helpful, but there are so many reasons why your non-mom friend will give you the best support during the labor and delivery process. Trust me, because my kid-free best friends definitely did.
I had my partner and my two kid-free best friends in the labor room with me; one best friend from the very beginning of my labor process, and the other towards the end, when I started to push. Having two women who knew me way before I ever decided to be a mother, two women who weren't mothers themselves, was so helpful, I often wonder why this apparent "war" between parents and non-parents even exists. My friends were kind and understanding and helpful and they made me laugh and they didn't take things too seriously and they didn't give me unsolicited advice and they were my greatest advocates, because they had the freedom to be. While my partner was focused on me and our baby, they could be focused on the little things; in part because they didn't have a baby or kid or immediate family to tend to of their own. While I understand that sounds a little selfish, I would argue a woman giving birth deserves to be selfish so, you know, it is what it is.
Mostly, my friends were able to experience labor and delivery, for the first time, with me. I didn't feel alone in my fear or my anxiety or my astonishment, because they felt it, too. It was just an amazing experience that bonded us all and made our friendship even stronger, while simultaneously helping me bring my son into the world. So, with that in mind and if you're wondering who to bring into your labor and delivery experience as your due date approaches, here are a few reasons why a non-mom friend might be the perfect labor and delivery addition.
No one will know their audience like your kid-free friend. For example, my best friend (a few days before my due-date) gave me a potted plant and told me we would see which one lived longer, the plant or my new baby. A little morbid? Obviously. But did it make me laugh and forget that I was about to go through labor and delivery? Yes. She was the reason I was determined not to take childbirth so seriously and remember that, hey, I can handle it. I didn't have to lose that sense of humor, just because I was going to become a mom. She reminded me that I was still me, and I so needed that the last week before my water broke.
My friend also had her own go-bag packed and the moment I told her I was in labor, she was headed to the hospital. She knew when to joke and when not to, and could disassociate herself enough to not freak out, but just be this stoic presence that, in turn, left me calm and determined.
Because my mom-free friend had never had a child before and didn't research all the things that could go wrong during labor and delivery and wasn't my partner, so she wasn't as invested, she was easily the calmest person in the room. I swear she had her shit together more than the doctors and nurses, and those people were statues of unwavering reliability. She didn't have her own children to worry about, so she could stick around and just be present and serene and almost in awe of the entire process, because she had never experienced it for herself.
Because my partner was focused on me and my mom friends had their own families, so they couldn't stay in the hospital for the entirety of my almost 24 hour labor, my bestie was able to do some of the "dirty work" without hesitation or other obligations. When my water continued to break as I walked the halls (I mean, I leaked for what felt like forever) she was cleaning it up, no questions asked. If that's not friendship, I have no idea what is.
Because my non-mom friend had never experienced pregnancy or labor or delivery, she was removed enough to appreciate how freakin' gross it all is. Like, she didn't feel like she had to take everything seriously because she's a mother and I'm a mother and this is a woman's body doing a miraculous thing. Yes, she felt that way, but she also thought me pooping while I was pushing was disgusting and hilarious, and she could make me laugh through the entire situation, which helped me bring my kid into the world.
She didn't have her own children to call or check in on, so my best friend was more than happy to let my mother (who was in another state at the time) know, minute-by-minute, what was going on. She was keeping everyone posted so my partner and I could focus on bringing our son into the world. It was awesome and so helpful.
Just like keeping people informed, my best friend was free to take pictures the moment my son entered the world. Those pictures of him being placed on my chest and me seeing him for the first time and my partner and I kissing (the first kiss we shared as official parents) are some of my most cherished photographs, and it's all a because my kid-free friend was available (and willing) to take them.
It's kind of (read: very) easy to get lost in "motherhood," and forget that there are things that matter outside of procreation. My mom-free friend, even in the throes of labor and delivery, was more than happy to remind me that, hey, this was just a moment in my life. Yes, a big moment, but so were so many other moments, and I made it through those just fine, too. She was able to keep my feet on the ground so I didn't get lost in the severity of my situation, and simply viewed labor as something I had to get through in order to become a mother.
My mom-free friend was able to remind me that, yes, this life-defining moment wasn't going to be my only life-defining moment. Every woman is different, but your non-mom bestie will know what you need to hear in order to keep you focused on not only what you need to do, but the reason why you need to do it. I wanted to meet my son, but I wanted to meet my son so that I could, eventually, do other things with him, too. She talked to me about bringing him to her house and how she would get to be his favorite "aunt" and, well, that was so damn helpful.
Plus, she reminded me that as soon as I popped out my kid I would be able to to partake in happy hour again and, yeah, that gave me all the energy I needed.
I can't tell you how helpful it was to have someone in the delivery room that had never been there before. Like me, my non-mom friend was learning about this entire process, first hand, for the first time, and it was so wonderful to not hear, "Well, when I did this..." or, "Yeah, that was different for me," or, "Weird, my doctor did this." We got to learn together, and that was as helpful as it was meaningful.
Seriously, every mom-friend should know this isn't helpful, but sometimes it can be difficult to look past your own experiences. Every pregnancy and every woman and every labor and delivery is different. Your non-mom friend won't be tempted to share her experience at a time when you're enjoying (or getting through) yours, which will only aid you in birthing your baby. Trust me.
My non-mom friend wasn't worried that her kid would hear me in the hallway, because she didn't have a kid at all. In fact, when I cussed and screamed and cussed some more, she just laughed, which made me laugh, which helped with the entire labor process.
The last thing my kid-free best friend said to me before she left the hospital and kissed my newborn son goodbye, was, "Hey, thanks for reminding me to take my birth control. I am never, ever, doing what you just did."
I guess we both helped one another that day.