A couple of weeks ago, S and I took an afternoon class on yoga postures she can practice during labor to help deal with the discomfort. In the beginning, every person had to share a fear or worry or hope. I said, “I’m afraid of getting on her nerves during the birth.”

This got a laugh, but the guy across from us nodded in agreement. There’s so much written about how the partner can support the birthing mother, a lot of it contradictory, it’s hard to make a plan of what to do. In some ways, the more I read about it the less I know.

Even the postures that we practiced in class were ones we had seen before, on a handout we found online. But we probably would’ve never have actually practiced them if we hadn’t enrolled in the class, and the teachers were great and attentive. While S took postures to ease pressure on her back, or release her weight, or assist her body move everything down and out, I learned how to hold and support her, or rub sore muscles, or when to stay out of her way.

The nicest part was that the class began and ended with a guided meditation in which S sat cradled in my lap, a lovely bonding experience that left us both feeling glowy, and that we’ve tried a couple of times since.

The other thing that stuck with me is something the teacher said in response to my fear. During the birth the partner shouldn’t take to heart how the laboring mother talks to him/her. In the throes of it, don’t expect her to be polite and smile. Remember, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love me. In that way, the teacher told me, it’s good practice for being a parent.

Since the class, I’ve all but stopped reading. Perhaps I’ll regret saying this later, but I’m actually feeling pretty set for the labor from an intellectual standpoint. My goal during the next few weeks is to get ready in the practical sense – putting the to-go bag together, making sure the kitchen’s stocked for when we come home, yadda yadda – and also to prepare emotionally for the birth. I know I’ll be nervous and excited, but I don’t want to be so overwhelmed that I’m not present for it. On that front, I’m taking time out each day after exercising for calm, deep breaths, and visualizations. I’ll let you know when they start working.


1 Response to “Practice”

  1. 1 Tantris April 16, 2009 at 11:30 pm

    Who knows, but I think you’re right to think you’re totally set, or at least as totally set as you can be, which is to say, not at all. There’s no real readiness for something like that. But you have a great not-at-all. Subtracting your ego from the process and not being annoying are pretty much where it’s at. I think S is going to remember you fondly for the Big Event, and you’re going to feel kind of heroic for your calm, good sense, and ridiculous joy.

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