Is your partner excited about your pregnancy but has no idea how to support you? Let’s make it easy and entertaining for him.
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Often times, our partners approach birth like adolescent boys at a teen dance who have no idea how to get the party started. They stand on one side of the room, hands in pockets, awkwardly waiting to make the right move.
But what if they had a game plan and a playbook to know what moves to make? What if they knew exactly how to support you on the big day?
Birth is a big life event that requires preparation, teamwork, and a few strategic game plans.
But here’s the thing…
It isn’t necessary to try and get our partners to understand everything that happens to our bodies during pregnancy and birth, we’re magical, some of them will never get it. Sigh. But they care about us and want to help. So… let’s meet them at their level with informative resources that speak to their likes and hobbies.
It isn’t necessary to try and get our partners to understand everything that happens to our bodies during pregnancy and birth, we’re magical…
The Ultimate Pregnancy Playbook for Him takes the love of a sport and combines it with birth principles. I’ll show you what I mean.
Let’s get started.
My husband enjoys basketball so I’m going to show an example of creating a pregnancy playbook that he understands and appreciates. If your partner enjoys soccer, tennis, baseball, or any other sport, business, or game, feel free to get creative.
LAYOUT THE GAME PLAN
Basketball has four quarters, so let’s break down birth into four quarters.
|BASKETBALL||PREGNANCY & BIRTH||GAME PLAN|
|1ST QUARTER||PRE-PREGNANCY & FIRST TRIMESTER||
|2ND QUARTER||PREGNANCY 2ND TRIMESTER||
|3RD QUARTER||THIRD TRIMESTER &
BIRTH (LABOR & DELIVERY)
1. START TALKING THE SAME LANGUAGE (AND HAVE FUN)
Basketball focused terminology:
|THE BIG EVENT||GAME DAY||LABOR & DELIVERY / BABY’S BIRTH DAY|
|DEFENSE||PREVENTING THE OTHER TEAM FROM SCORING||PREVENTING TOXIC PEOPLE & SITUATIONS|
|OFFENSE||POSSESSION AND TRYING TO SCORE||A RELAXED AND SUPPORTIVE STATE OF BEING|
|ASSIST||PLAYER HELPING ANOTHER PLAYER SCORE||PARTNER HELPING WITH ANY CONCERN|
|ZONE DEFENSE||DEFENDING AREAS OF THE COURT INSTEAD OF ONE PLAYER||HANDLING HIS FAMILY BOUNDARIES & ALLOWING MOM TO HANDLES HER (WHILE STEPPING IN WHERE NECESSARY)|
|WARM-UP & PLAYER INTRODUCTIONS||LOCKER ROOM AND ARENA WHERE YOU GATHER BEFORE THE ACTION BEGINS||EARLY LABOR|
|GO TIME||GAME TIME||ACTIVE LABOR & TRANSITION|
|POINT GUARD||MULTI-SKILLED POSITION WITH A FOCUS ON ON-COURT MANAGEMENT||SUPPORT PERSON THAT CAN ASSIST BIRTHING WOMAN PHYSICALLY AND.OR EMOTIONALLY THROUGHOUT EVERY STAGE OF PREGNANCY.|
|COACH||OFFERS INFORMATION, INSTRUCTION, AND ENCOURAGEMENT||SUPPORTS THE BIRTHING WOMAN WITH NON-MEDICAL CARE BEFORE, DURING, & AFTER BIRTH|
|BLOCK||INTERFERING WITH AN ATTEMPT TO SCORE||UNNECESSARILY INTERFERING WITH BIRTH PREFERENCES|
2. GET ON THE SAME PAGE BEFORE THE BIG EVENT (DURING PREGNANCY)
The worst thing in sports is watching a team play that isn’t on the same page. It looks sloppy and everyone including the fans are frustrated. Why? There is obviously a lack of communication and lots of people doing their own thing.
Sloppy communication can happen during pregnancy and birth too. It’s characterized by lots of assumptions, passive-aggressive talk, sarcasm, and basically not being honest about our desires and expectations.
- Stop assuming your partner knows what you want.
- Stop making your partner guess about what you need.
- Be honest about your fears and expectations.
If you want your partner to be the best support person, let them know what you need – even if you think they should already know. Give the assist so he can be in the offensive position more often than not.
3. MAKE POWER MOVES
Take birth courses in your community and/or online with your partner (if possible) so that you know what topics need to be addressed before the big event.
If you are looking for an online course, consider SupportingHer. In the sea of courses focused on helping women manage pregnancy and birth, our partners are often neglected. This course talks directly to men and showcases men sharing their unique experiences of supporting their loved ones through the birthing process. It’s simple, short, and brilliant.
4. DESIGNATE A COACH & POINT-GUARD
If you have a favorite sport, you probably have a favorite player and that player has qualities that make them great at their position BUT they also have a coach to help them develop their skills and identify blind spots.
Men can feel left out of the pregnancy process and think they’re not needed but they are just as important as the point-guards in the basketball game.
You see point-guards are usually the smallest (in size) on the court but never not needed. In the same way, men do their work at the beginning (getting us pregnant;-)) and may feel their role/value is inconsequential afterward but it’s not. They are always needed (when contributing in a positive and healthy manner).
Psst. Your point-guard doesn’t need to be the biological father. Choose who you want in the position and also consider getting a coach.
Every great athlete has benefited from a teacher or a coach.
In the birth world, this role has increasingly been given to trained professionals called doulas; they work to support moms at every stage of motherhood and have a track record of helping women have more satisfying birth experiences. Imagine having someone to protect your space, provide information about the process, and reinforce your choices with your medical providers, family, and friends.
I completed doula training when I was in college and it completely changed how I viewed the birthing experience.
If you don’t want to hire outside assistance from a doula or birth worker, consider assigning the coach position to someone you trust to communicate on your behalf and is able effectively but people on the bench when they aren’t respecting your boundaries.
5. PREPARE FOR THE BIG EVENT (LABOR & DELIVERY)
- If you aren’t having a home birth, your partner will appreciate having his own hospital/birthing center bag packed with snacks, music, electronic device, mints, comfortable clothing, neck pillow, and whatever else to help him support you.
- Provide him a list of things to help you remember to do/grab.
- A list of family members and friends you want to be contacted when you go into labor
- Your hospital bag
- Visit the birthing center so that you both know where parking and intake happens. Driving around lost during labor would be awful.
- Complete the hospital intake paperwork so that you don’t have to answer questions while having contractions. Your power-forward or coach can have all the information in hand.
- Put a sweet note in a space you’ll know he will see it reminding him not to take any of your reactions personally. If you time things right, you could have someone text him on your behalf.
It’s Go Time, Game Time, Birth Time!
- It’s time for your partner to assist when necessary and play zone defense with anyone that tries to block your birth preferences unnecessarily. Alice talks about how to do this is a friendly manner in her course SupportingHer.
- If you’ve taken birth courses like Lamaze that shares ways to use massage, counterpressure, movement, or tension methods to relieve pain, now is the time for your partner to respond to your needs.
- While he tends to you he also benefits from paying attention to his own conditioning (well-being during game time). I hate to sound like a broken record but check out this course to learn how and why.
6. AFTER THE BIG EVENT (POSTPARTUM)
Birth plans and time spent during labor get the most attention but I always advocate for having a postpartum playbook too. Getting back to home court without the same-level assistance we have during birth can be scary or overwhelming. That’s why preparation is the key.
- Who’s going to be responsible for playing zone defense with visitors?
- Who’s going to support the birthing mama if her actions and movements are limited?
- Where will the nourishment come from? Will you have someone to help cook and clean or will those tasks need to be outsourced?
- How will the sleeping arrangements be handled?
These are the questions that often don’t get asked ahead of time, however, knowing the answers can be the difference between having an enjoyable low-key fourth quarter or a stressful post-big-event meltdown.
This was a fun post to write and hopefully helpful. The goal isn’t to overwhelm our partners. It’s about assigning them a position in one of the biggest events of our lives so that they know they are valuable members of the pregnancy and birth team!
Congrats to you and your partner! Have an amazing slam dunk of a birth day!!
|PREGNANCY & BIRTH||RESOURCE|
|PREGNANCY FOR HER||THE DGM PREGNANCY LOUNGE|
|BIRTH FOR HIM||SUPPORTINGHER|
|BIRTH FOR HER||BIRTH IT UP|