Having a baby can last anywhere from a few minutes to (unfortunately) a few days. The whole process can be quite brutal, and made even more brutal when you'er dealing with infuriating things your partner might do when you're pushing. After all, pushing is the big show; the moment everyone's been waiting for. So, if you've invited a partner into that zone and he, or she, is programmed to auto-annoy, it might make the whole thing feel so much worse than it has to be.
By nature, pushing a baby out of your body is a lot of work. When I was in labor with my first child, I remember getting to that surreal moment when the nurses and doctor told me, "It's go time," but not really knowing what "go time" meant, or what to truly expect. During that whole pushing period, my partner was pretty supportive. We were first-time parents so everything about it felt magical and life-altering.
Everything about my second labor and delivery, however, was the exact opposite. Maybe it's because we'd already "been there, done that," and my partner felt like he didn't need to be as supportive or present. Maybe he didn't realize how crazy he was making me by doing all those truly annoying things he seemed hellbent on doing. Whatever it was, he's lucky to have made it out of that labor and delivery room alive because, well, there are just some things every grown-ass man should do when his partner is in labor (whether it's your first baby or number ten).
He Complains His Arms Are Getting Tired
I'll give someone the benefit of the doubt, but only for a hot second. Your partner may not realize how much work it is to hold your legs up and push a human out at the same time, because the movies made it look so easy. He or she also may not know how painful pushing out said human is. Maybe you make it look easy?
However, the moment I hear a complaint about tired arms holding my weight up so I can do all the damn work, you will be reprimanded to the corner without dessert. Period. I mean, you don't have to experience childbirth first hand to know that it's freakin' hard, and some "tired arms" pale in freakin' comparison.
He Checks His Phone
Don't you dare walk into my little pushing arena with your phone. Nope. Don't do it. I don't care if you're texting people about the birth, taking pictures I repeatedly asked you not to take, or you're pretending you're not playing a dumb game. Put the phone away until further notice, because I actually need your full attention, like now.
He Passes Out Or Get Sick
If I am the one strapped to the bed until the baby comes out, you don't get to pass out or run to the bathroom because it's making you sick. Don't be dramatic — it's my turn to do that.
While I understand it's not pleasant to see whatever if it you may or may not be seeing, you need to get it together for my sake, man. This is freakin' hard and I need a solid, unwavering partner. I do not a fainter who will steal my doctors and nurses from me when I need them the most.
He Ignores Your Pain
No matter what proceeded the pushing, or how I dealt with that pre-pushing pain, no longer matters. If my partner's sleeping, eating, taking part in some weird online survey didn't bug me because I was handling labor like a boss, I no longer care. Everything before the pushing is null and void now. So if my partner continues to ignore my needs once we're in the push-zone, he's gotta go.
He Leaves For Any Reason
Unless I've personally kicked my partner out for whatever hormonally-charged reason, there would never be a time, during pushing, he should ever — I repeat ever —leave me. If I'm wheeled in for an emergency c-section, he should be there. There are few circumstances my partner should leave my side during the most important, most terrifying part of the entire delivery process. So, if he, or she, chooses to exit the room on their own accord, I can't promise I'll be cool with it.
He Is Talking Too Much
There comes a time during every labor and delivery where all you're focused on is getting the baby out. It's a crucial period that requires some concentration. Usually, like me, you're ready for the whole thing to be over with. It's not the time for yapping about miscellaneous whatever or chatting up the nurse about her shift. That can all wait until things are done and our baby has arrived. I hate to be a downer but if I'm in agony, it's also not the time for jokes so no laughing about anything, please.
He Asks How Much Longer Until The Baby Comes Out
Some women are able to go through all the motions of labor fairly quickly. I, however, am not one of those women. Both my labor and delivery situations lasted days. While the actual pushing of each was about an hour per birth, it felt like forever. If you have the nerve to ask a woman in labor, or her nurses, "How much longer?" then you should probably say a prayer to whoever you pray to, begging that when I'm finished here, we're still together. Seriously.
Listen, having a baby is hard. It really is work (which, you know, is why they call it labor). If your partner doesn't get how much support is needed during these moments, I really feel for you. It's a time to be celebrated and cherished, sure, but it's also a time to be cared for and encouraged. After all, you're bringing a new life into the world.