My partner is a one-of-a-kind human. It's one of the many reasons I fell in love with him years ago. One of the things that makes him unique is he doesn't really own an internal censor. That is great for honesty in a relationship (which, as a trauma survivor, is essential for me) but it also creates moments when he doesn't realize his foot is in his mouth. So feel free to let my experience be your preparation for the infuriating things your partner will accidentally say when you're in labor.
Some people might get frustrated by compulsive honesty. Admittedly, it does cause a few hiccups when things come out of my partner's mouth that might be better left unsaid. But, especially at the beginning of our relationship, this no-holds-barred honesty was vital. I knew that he is nearly incapable of lying because he says whatever is on his mind. As someone with a long history of experiencing gaslighting and emotional abuse and manipulation in relationships, I love that clarity more than just about anything else. Hell, I even love the hilarious stories that come out of his perpetual, inopportune commentary.
All of that love and gratitude, however, doesn't take away the infuriating factor when it comes to the things he said that he totally didn't mean to be offensive during my labor. You know, things like the following:
"My Back Hurts"
My partner said this during all three of my labors at various points. Now, I have to give the guy credit. He does have chronic back pain with nerve involvement and massive scar tissue secondary to a car accident when he was 18 years old. So sleeping on pull out couches in delivery rooms, or sitting in straight backed chairs for hours on end, actually probably does make his back hurt like hell.
But, and it's a big but, seriously, dude? This is the one time in our lives where I am sure I'm hurting more than you. Kindly focus on my pain, please. Thank you.
"I Have To Pee So Bad"
Really? We're talking about things your body needs to do so bad?
I get that other people's body functions don't stop when I'm in labor, but they should. Or at least I shouldn't have to hear about them. In all seriousness, my partner actually missed the moment of our second child gushing out of my body because he was peeing. Our newborn wailed that first newborn wail and from the bathroom I heard, "What?! You've got to be kidding!"
In fairness to him, and because of how long the first labor took, my partner had no idea that our second was going to show up so quickly. Our second little one is now 5 years old and his dad still tears up when he talks about missing his birth.
I'm not saying your needs are invalid. I'm just saying they're unimportant right now. Your partner is in labor. Arguably, the most intense physical experience she will ever endure. She does not need to hear about your sensory needs, and don't even think about eating in front of her. You may just get a sandwich shoved up your booty.
"You Wouldn't Believe How Uncomfortable That Couch Was"
Really? I haven't been able to sit for hours because there is a head jamming itself against my pelvis. But, please, tell me more about the uncomfortable couch.
"Holy Crap! You Should See This!"
I totally get that watching your partner's body turn itself inside out is just as much of a trip for non-birthing partners as it is for birthing partners to have their bodies actually turn inside out. In the moment, however, and when I feel like millions of aliens are gnawing me apart from the inside out? Um, yeah. I don't need to imagine the profound awakening you're having. I just need to survive.
"Shouldn't Someone Clean That Up?"
This one actually wasn't infuriating at all. I was so grateful to my partner for saying something when I couldn't. (Literally, but that point I'd lost the ability to speak.) Pooping on the table wasn't nearly as embarrassing as I thought it would be, but the smell was definitely distracting. Thank the gods my partner had the censor-free foresight to clean that sh*t up!
"These Roads Are Awful!"
Yours might sound a little different, something like, "This traffic is terrible!" Either way, though, when you're racing to the hospital having to pull your butt off the seat at any slightest bump, in too much pain to hope that your baby won't be born in an old, smelly SUV, the road conditions are not the thing you want to be thinking about. It was absolutely what I was forced to think about in the middle of a blizzard at 4:00 a.m. when our second baby wanted to make his appearance, though. We were racing at a whopping 15 mph through what can only be described as nearly a foot of unplowed mashed potato snow.
I wanted to hear what all laboring people want to hear at all times, "Everything is going to be all right, babe. We'll get there in no time. I got this." Even if that was a total lie.