If you are like many of the men I’ve worked with over the last 20 plus years as a midwife, you are probably wondering, 'what the fuck do I do now?'. Suddenly there's a new game to play, and the rules to this one haven’t been drilled into you since childhood.
In fact, for many of us, child birth has been something of a mysterious, shadowy, twilight zone, a 'no man’s land.'. That, my friend, is about to change. Finding out she is pregnant is just the beginning, and the task of clearing the fog and getting clear about what’s needed starts NOW.
Preparation for her giving birth ideally begins long before the big day. It seldom takes us by surprise these days does it? You’ve probably got at least 7 months. So, take some action, get yourself ready, here are six steps you can begin to take starting today.
Before I give you the list it's important you understand something about a hormone which you share with her, oxytocin. Oxytocin has enormous importance for women, not just in pregnancy but in life generally. It influence’s the general level of the connection she feels towards you and others, and is pivotal in the management of her experience of stress in day to day life.
Here are things to do, yep, take action. Reading, learning, researching are all good things to do, BUT nothing beats physical action when it comes to influencing her experience of pregnancy and birth.
Touch her, often! For most women affectionate touch will have an affect on her feelings of well-being. Sounds cheesy? You don’t have to believe it; you can test it out in your own experience.At the first opportunity in the mornings hug her. Before you leave for work, hug her. When you see her again in the evening, hug her! Don’t make a big deal of it, don’t announce it, just do it. See what happens.
On a similar theme, this will take a little more planning. From now on offer her a massage twice a week. As she gets bigger through the pregnancy, keep doing it. (There are instructional videos and written material in the www.birthing4blokes.com online program).
If you are lucky she may get aroused as you touch her, if she gets to climax, great. Cumin is good for her and the growing baby. Her release into orgasm is the key here, not yours. So don’t finish yourself on her breast, this is about her, let her know you are there for her, and her only.
Most women get to manage their anxiety in the context of talking through what’s on their minds, they are not looking for ‘fixes’, their brain is being bathed in oxytocin as they speak. Your job is simple really and never changes. Listen until she has finished.
As you learn this skill she will get a sense of you being there, just for her. To be frank, the connection to her that you will experience as a result of listening, is your main priority as she gives birth. The only thing that needs fixing when you get to the ‘birth room’ is this amazing feeling of connection.
Ok so far? Well hold on, it get’s a little more challenging for some of us with action number four.
4. Do household jobs
Pick a job around the house that needs doing, do it without being asked and without looking for praise. You know it needs doing more than once right?
Keep getting involved in these kinds of household jobs. If you are like this already, great, do more.
5. Work on yourself
5. Most men have an area of their lives that they often whinge about. It might be weight loss, frustrations at work, they want to stop smoking etc etc. Pick one, one that you have spoken to her about, you might have told her how hard it is etc.When you’ve got one in mind, take massive ACTION in that area. Don't tell her you're doing it, just do it. Don’t look for her praise.
One of the byproducts of taking action on problem or goal in our lives as men is the shunt of testosterone that occurs in our bodies as we do it. The female of the species crave oxytocin to reduce their stress, we need testosterone (more on how men can reduce their stress and prepare for birth of their baby in module 5 of the www.birthing4blokes.com on line program).
6. Breathe in her rhythm
This last one is weird and I’ll be surprised if you can see the benefit of doing it as you read this, suspend your judgement until you have given it a go.
All communication is a multi levelled transaction between human beings, the words we use are just the ‘tip of the ice-burg’, most of it is happening at deeply unconscious levels, well outside conscious mind control. Here we go, this is the experiment, while you are sitting together one evening, notice the rate at which she is breathing (told you, weird, it takes some practice, you’ll get if you keep at it).
When you can see it clearly, start to breath at the same rate. You’ll have to take my word for it until you have had your own experience, but outside of her awareness, she will begin to sense a deep connection with you, she will not know why.
Well, that’s me done, I hope you feel free to contact me about how these tips have worked out for you (or to talk about issues that are coming up as the game unfolds).
Remember this, her knowing in her experience that you are WITH her, connected and present is a fundamental key to the birthing process going well . . . you want to fix something while she is giving birth? FIX THAT.
Consider doing the Birthing4Blokes Online Course. It is an online program designed to help you to be as prepared as you can be for being present as the woman you love gives birth.