You’re doing amazingly. Everything is going to be ok – Mark
One Born Every Minute returns to Channel 4 on 4th January at 9pm with an episode all about dads.
Recently, I published Little Miss J’s birth story, so first, an abridged recap of just how amazing Mark was that night/morning:
I coped with contractions for that hour by walking away from and back to Mark. I’d pace away from him as a contraction subsided and when I made it to the wall, pace back and collapse into his arms as the pain kicked in full strength. I put my whole weight over his outstretched arm at the peak of each contraction – good job he’s strong! [...]
All I was aware of was Mark’s hand, the rail of the bed I was gripping it against, and the sound of his voice, telling me that I was “doing amazingly” and that, “everything is going to be ok”. I’m so grateful to him for that. [...]
She was delivered onto my stomach at 8.22am and Mark cut the cord. “It’s a girl, right?” I asked. Mark nodded happily.
Mark and I have barely slept since that night, but I thank him almost daily for all he did. He was my strength. So here’s my (non-expert) advice to any expectant dads feeling nervous about their role when the time comes:
I know you’re scared, and you’re right to be. If you’re going for a natural birth, your partner is probably about to experience the worst pain of her life and if you’re having a cesarean, then a pretty serious operation is yet to come.
You can’t take the pain away. You can’t help medically. But you can be the support she needs. You might feel useless. It might seem, from the outside, like there’s nothing you can do, but on the night, just being there will help.
Talk to your partner, discuss what you both want to happen. Understand her fears, share your own, and learn what sort of support she wants, knowing all the time that it could change on the big day.
I’d told Mark that I wanted him to hold me, but in the end I didn’t want to be held at all. I didn’t want to feel restricted from moving, so instead I clung to him, leaned on him, even pushed against him while he stood fast, supported me, stayed calm and promised me that everything would be ok.
I don’t believe you can plan a labour. What’s decided rationally is so different from how you’ll both feel in the moment. Mark listened. He cared. And that’s what got me through. You can make a difference.
One Born Every Minute is on Channel 4 on Wednesdays at 9pm, starting 4th January.