In Part 1 we talked about the people who are more or less expected to be at your birth.
Let’s switch to talking about some of the people that aren’t already guaranteed to be there. Because perhaps you feel undecided about who you would like to invite. You can invite as many of these people as feels right to you or none of them at all!
It might surprise you to see this one on the list! If you have other children already, have you thought about whether or not you’d like them to be present for the actual birth? There is obviously a ton to consider with that, but it can absolutely work for the right situation and family.
Will you be able to feel free in your actions with them there? How will they handle it? Will it feel good and helpful to have them around? Will they enjoy being there? Is it allowed at your birth place? Is there someone available to take care of them so your partner can stay focused on you? How involved would your child want to be?
It can be a magical, deeply moving experience to have your children there to witness the birth process and see their sibling be born. Or you may feel most free to do what you need when they are elsewhere. Both choices are good choices when they align with your desires for your birth.
(Note: Hi! I also teach little personal birth classes for siblings who are going to be present at the birth!)
There may be a lot of feelings tied up with bringing a friend or family member to your birth. Has someone asked if they can come, but you aren’t sure how you feel about it? Have you asked them to come, but they feel uncomfortable? Is there someone you feel obligated to invite?
Sometimes these relationships feel so good and supportive you almost can’t imagine not having them there. Other times these relationships can feel fraught. You might worry that having them there would bring stress, but you also don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
First off, listen up: You are not obligated to invite anyone to your birth. It’s your birth and you need to feel safe there. Your job in there is not to take care of other people’s feelings. It’s their job to take care of you.
But if there’s someone that you know will contribute to your feelings of safety and happiness, then that’s an excellent choice of someone to have at your birth!
Remember though that if their views of birth are very different from yours, they may bring an energy into the room that isn’t helpful to you. As much as they love you, some people can’t leave their own preferences at the door to support you in yours.
If you want an unmedicated birth and they have no idea why you would want that, they may frequently suggest drugs or interventions because they feel uncomfortable seeing you in pain. Or what if they have strong views on the “right” way to give birth but you have different plans? Will you feel silently (or not so silently) judged?
If it turns out that you thought you’d want someone there, but then change your mind once you see how they are acting, it’s 100% okay to ask them to leave. (You shouldn’t need to do that difficult job personally though. Your partner, or a nurse, or midwife can do that for you.)
But gosh, if your mom/sister/best friend/etc is someone you’ve relied on and received unconditional love and support from and you know will encourage you in birth and simply having her there will make you feel at ease, get that person in the room with you!
Now, sometimes these loving friends and family want to try to also fill the next couple of professional roles for you. But let’s take a look at them, why you might want them to be there, and why it might be worth it to pay good money to have them there with you.
Maybe you already know about the amazingness that is doulas! Or perhaps you’ve only heard the word but don’t really know what they do. If your partner is your main support person who knows all about you, a doula is your support person who knows all about birth.
If you hire a doula, you usually meet with them a couple times before the birth for discussion. She’ll likely provide some education and she’ll want to be familiar with you and your desires. They are on call for you leading up to the birth. They will come support you emotionally and physically during your birth as well as providing information and helping you think through things. Your doula will often have a postpartum visit with you as well.
People who have a professional doula at their birth are statistically more likely to achieve their birth goals and report feeling more satisfied with their experience.
Some parents worry that a doula will take the place of their partner. Or feel they don’t need a doula because their partner is ready to support them. Nothing could be further from the truth!
Doulas are there to support both of you! Doulas want to support you in ways your partner may be unable to (he can’t be in two places at once and he isn’t as experienced in birth knowledge!) and they want to help your partner be his best for you! They’re truly an incredible addition to your birth team.
If you choose to hire a doula, interview several to find out who you click with and who you feel will best be able to support you in your desired birth experience.
Woo, we’re in my favorite section now! I put this one last, but it most certainly is not least. I’ve been at more than one birth where most of the time it was the two parents hanging out with just me. That’s how important their birth photos were to them: I was the only other person they invited to be there. (Of course their care provider/nurses were around too!)
Now, I’ve written a whole separate blog post already about why you would want to hire a birth photographer, so I’m not going to say it all again here. (Go ahead and read it if you want – I’ll wait!)
Having the ability to see your birth and use those photos to process your experience is… just, well… it’s huge! What a rich treasure to give yourself, your partner, and your child.
But how is having a photographer present going to affect your birth space? Well, I wrote a blog about that too… (I can’t help it, this is what I do!) Maybe think about all those ideas together and decide if that’s something you want for your birth space and experience.
And then make a little visit over to my contact page, and we’ll talk. 😁
I can’t help but mention here that there are people who affect your birth, but who likely will not be present at your birth. The people I’m thinking of are childbirth educators, Webster-certified chiropractors (before and after birth), lactation consultants (especially an IBCLC), counselors, and postpartum doulas. I won’t dig into all of these, but I’m going to put them on your radar. You might consider working with them because they can have a dramatic affect on your birth and postpartum experiences.
That covers the second group of people you’ll want to think about in relation to your birth. I hope you’ll put some thought into any questions or concerns that may have come up for you. Go talk to the people you need to talk to.
If you want some recommendations for people to have on your team, here’s my resource list for the New Braunfels area!