Second Time Around: Holding your tongue with first-timers

Filed under: Your Pregnancy

My prenatal yoga class was a mix of first and second-time moms-to-be. Some of us would go out for coffee after class and the second-timers would immediately start chatting about the various things we tend to: tantrums, daycare woes, our first labour experiences, etc. "Stop!" one yoga buddy begged, "I haven't read that part of the book yet!" Oh yes, now I remembered. Once upon a time, I was totally terrified of birth too.

On Sunday I had a minor fender bender. While waiting in the triage of the L&D floor, (We're all fine, thanks.) I heard a first-timer come in. She was breathing heavily and moaning, and I could sense her fear. "I wonder how the nurse knew that my contractions were getting closer together..." Um, she checked the monitor honey.

The nurse came back in and was rather condescending. "Did you take your classes? Do you know what's about to happen?" A mumble returned an unsure, Yes. "And do you know about epidurals? What do you think of them?"

"Um, I think... yes?" The nurse nodded in approval. "Yes, they are very good." Then she turned on her heel and left the poor woman there to wallow in her fear. My own experience with the epidural drugs was not good, as I had many of the side effects I had chosen to overlook when making my initial decision. I overheard that she was only two centimetres dilated. I wanted to scream -- wait for the epidural until you are 4 cm! At least you can walk now and use gravity in your favour! At least you can feel what's happening to your body! But I held my tongue. Like snowflakes, every birth is different.

I wanted so desperately to pull back the curtain and reassure her. "You don't know it right now, because you're just concentrating on the birth and how much it will hurt, but at the end of all this YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE A BABY! And that is so the best part!" I wanted to give her my knowledge, to help her concentrate on the impending first meeting with the babe, but I just lay there, silently. She would have her own realizations and her own journey and nothing I could say would matter.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.