You’ve made a birth plan, you’ve packed your hospital bag (or set aside a stash of supplies for your home birth), but are you still a little fuzzy on who you’d like present at your baby’s birth? This is a very personal decision, and one that doesn’t necesarilly lend itself to the receiving of advice. I had a very hard time deciding with both my babies who to include. Perhaps this will get you thinking…
If one of your goals is to have a natural birth, it’s especially important that those who accompany you in the labor room play a supportive, encouraging role. I loved this quote in the latest edition of Fit Pregnancy, “For the best possible delivery, surround yourself with people who understand that giving birth is a heroic, if painful, act that benefits those who embrace its challenge.” Isn’t that beautiful! Think carefully before including loved ones that are critical of your birth choices. On birth day, you simply won’t have enough emotional energy to deal with nay-sayers. You want to see excitement and hope in the eyes of your attendents, never pitty or fear.
You will almost certainly be including your mate, but what about sisters, mothers, and friends? Don’t feel obligated to invite family members. Your first priority must be giving birth, not the feelings of others. That said, if you are close to your sister (and especially if she’s given birth before) or your mother, their presence will probably enhance that special day. My mother was a very important member of my birth team when I birthed my firstborn. During the times that I felt hopeless and scared, looking into her face gave me strength. There is something powerful about being supported in birth by the very one who birthed you.
When I read of births in which mothers were attended by excited, joyful friends, I love it, love it, love it! But in planning my own birth, I felt odd inviting friends. For my second birth I did get up the gumption to invite a close friend who shared my own vision of birth. Technically she was there to watch my toddler, but she also was meant to share the actual birth. During my labor, it was fun having her there. It made that night more like a celebration, less serious and more exciting. When I was actually giving birth, I barely noticed her presence because I was so focused on the task at hand. If I was to do it again, I’d invite more friends and make the labor itself more of a party!
Don’t skip a doula!!! If you can arrange for it, do look into having a doula attend your birth. There’s nothing like it! Having a doula around at my second birth took the pressure off my husband to know how to comfort me. She helped him with suggestions and did so much to help me herself. I would never go without a doula again!
Many blessings on your special day!