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August 2011 - What To Say to your Partner


In a recent class I asked the women to write down things they’d like to hear during labor, and partners to write things they can imagine saying or think their wives would like to hear. We then had a very interesting, enlightening discussion. Half of the group wanted their husbands to say “you’re doing great” “things are going well” “everything is fine” and the others wanted their husbands specifically NOT to say those things, but rather to be quiet, present, strong (rubbing them, being a leaning post).  


I asked whether it was an issue of “credibility,” e.g. when a man says “you’re doing great” [in labor] a woman might think “how do YOU know?”  It wasn’t. 


It was more an expression of very individual personalities, and subjective interpretation of the words (to which there can be no right or wrong). To the women who wanted them, the words meant “I’m here. You are okay. I’m here.”  For the women who wanted his silent presence the words meant he was trying to help ‘too much’ and it was his SILENCE that said ““I’m here. You are okay. I’m here.” it was a wonderful example of the subjective experience of labor, and an acknowledgment of different personalities, temperaments, and needs.


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