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Labor Support Tips For Dads: 6 Things You Should Do When Your Wife Is Giving Birth

Labor Support Tips For Dads: 6 Things You Should Do When Your Wife Is Giving Birth

If you have decided to be there to watch the birth of your child, get ready for the most awesome and wondrous event of your life which you will never regret. The only thing is that you have to do some homework and preparation if you really want to be supportive. That means hard work and also being courageous when things get tough and the whole process of giving birth takes longer than you and your wife ever thought. Here are 6 tips to help you through all this.

“The best part about having kids is not actually having to have kids. Thank you, women.” – Jarod Kintz, The Days of Yay are Here! Wake Me Up When They’re Over.

1. Preparation is key

You cannot just turn up when things are happening. It takes a lot of preparation. If you have not attended childbirth and labor education classes, do so immediately. With classes, you know what is going to happen and the various phases of labor and childbirth. You know about C-section and why it may be necessary. Knowing the details helps you keep fears at bay so you can be strong for the woman you are supporting.

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It also means that you have to have your bag ready when the moment comes. This means having a change of clothes, your laptop,(as the hospital will have wi-fi), and plenty of reading material. There may be long waits if your wife has to have an epidural and you can get on with your own work, while she rests. Throw in some snacks in your bag because you too will need sustenance when things start to happen. Don’t be one of those who get dizzy and faint. Adequate food and nutrition are essential.

2. You know you are the supporter-in-chief

You have already been through the birth plan with your wife so you know exactly what she expects you to do and what she will need help with when giving birth. You know about the Braxton Hicks contractions and how these might be a false alarm. You also know that painful contractions which are lasting 30 seconds or more could be a sign that she is in early labor and you might have to get to the hospital pretty quickly, unless you are already there. You now know that throughout this phase, you have to be the solid supporter who is reassuring and confident that all will be well. Help her by keeping her company and distracting her through the use of games and TV. Help her by assisting her finding a comfortable position by using pillows, brushing her hair and applying gentle foot massages. Assist her with showering and getting dried. Basically, whatever the woman in your life needs is something you need to provide.

3. You have both decided what specific roles you will have

You will have discussed with your wife what other people should be present. Giving birth can be a bit frightening and wearing so there should be very few other people present and no videos should be taken although it will be perfectly okay to take normal photos when the baby is born. You will know whether you want to be the one to cut the umbilical cord and also if you want to be the one to hand the baby to his or her new mom.

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4. You know that contractions when giving birth can be painful

The best way to approach the whole pain question is to know that your presence is a key element in the birthing process. Each contraction is one step nearer to the happy event. You are there to encourage, hold her hand and to be the main cheerleader, but again you will have discussed that with your partner beforehand.

You can tell her that she is doing just great and give her practical assistance by feeding her with ice chips and helping to mop up the sweat. You cannot ease her pain but at least you are giving all the practical help you can. You have also discussed whether she will give you a sign that being touched while in pain may actually be uncomfortable. Some women cannot bear being touched during this delicate stage.

“Childbirth changed my perception of my wife. She was now the bloodied special forces soldier who had fought and risked everything for our family.” – Mohsin Hamid

5. You can discuss where exactly you want to be

If you feel a bit sick at having to witness all the yucky bits, ask the doctor or doula if you can be near your wife’s head so that you do not feel faint or keel over. You do not have to see everything! If there is to be a C-section, you may not want to see that either so being near your wife’s head where you whisper and encourage her is very important and will help shield you from some of the more gory aspects of childbirth.

You will have discussed what role you can play when the pushing has to start. Some women are quite happy if their partner helps by holding a leg up and out. You do not need to take part in any of the coaching as to when is the best time to push. The staff will look after all that!

6. Continue being supportive after the baby is born

You have brought the flowers and told the whole world!  But you will still need to be supportive, strong and loving as you both face new challenges in welcoming the little one into your lives. You can get into the new rhythm by helping with bathing and nappy changing. You can leave the breastfeeding to your partner!

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Did you know that up to 10% of new Dads suffer from a little postpartum depression too? You will have to cope with disturbed sleep patterns, you will need to be even-tempered and patient and also have a sense of humor as you both work out the new routine and help each other. Parenting will always be a shared task and start as you mean to go on. Take inspiration from President Obama who has said that fatherhood is the most important job he has.

Featured photo credit: birth72/Lindsey Turner via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

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Published on September 21, 2018

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

11 Smart Pieces of Advice to Help You Thrive as a Single Mother

Becoming a mother is one of the most difficult challenges a woman can take on in her life. Whether this happens the “natural” way, with the help of science, or through adoption, being in charge of nurturing another human being is a herculean task to take on.

Typically, when we think about parenthood, we imagine two parents sharing the responsibility and having each other to lean on. However, according to the 2016 U.S. Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 are being raised by a single mother.[1] This is a significant portion of the population that often gets overlooked.

If you are one of these mothers raising your children on your own, you are undoubtedly aware of the additional challenges that motherhood has placed upon you, including the constant struggle to find sufficient time, energy, money, and support.

For single mothers who find themselves bogged down by their daily responsibilities and struggle to stay afloat, don’t be fooled by the belief that you have to do all. It is possible to thrive and live as a single mother if you take advantage of all available resources and adjust your priorities based on your situation.

1. Find your community and ask for help

As the sole caretaker of your kids, going through the successes and struggles of parenthood can feel isolating and lonely. You have probably developed a strong sense of independence because you’ve had to go at it alone.

Being self-reliant is necessary in many situations that you have to face, but do not fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need support from others. If you have family nearby, strengthen your relationship with them by visiting and talking more often. Find time to catch up with old friends or co-workers, and don’t assume they don’t want to hang out if they are not parents themselves.

Would you prefer finding mom friends[2] who have more in common with you? Use resources like apps, Facebook groups, and community events to meet local moms in your area.

After you have established a support group that you can depend on, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is NOT a sign of weakness or incompetency to admit you can’t do it all, and others are probably more willing to lend a hand than you think.

If you feel uncomfortable burdening others, suggest trading favors such as taking turns babysitting. Because after all, helping is each other is what community is all about.

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2. Make peace with the past

Before you can move forward, you must make peace with your past and not let it define you or rule your life. Whether your journey to single motherhood was through divorce, death, or never having a relationship the father, it is crucial that you leave behind the feelings of abandonment or betrayal you may be struggling with.

You cannot change the past and the hurt you had to endure, but you can use the strength that you gained from overcoming those obstacles to work towards making the best life for yourself and your child. Learn from the past but live in the present and look towards the future.

3. Make plans and set goals

The daily repetition of trying to balance work and home life can make you feel like you are on operating on autopilot. However, it is imperative to set goals for yourself and to keep working towards self-improvement.

In your personal life, you can set a fitness goal (train for a 5k), a reading goal (read 20 books in a year), or a travel goal (take a trip to Europe). At your job, you can set career goals such as gain leadership experience, get a promotion, or earn a degree or certificate.

Spend time creating a realistic plan to on how you can go about achieving these goals. Not only will working towards these goals make you a more well-rounded and successful person, they will bring more purpose and fulfillment to your life.

4. Look for role models

A great way to jump start your plans for the future is to find a role model or mentor who is further along in their life or career experience. This person can be a great resource when you need guidance on what types of goals to set for yourself and how to achieve them.

It’s also important to have people to turn to for encouragement during difficult seasons of life. Someone who has been through it before can provide the most genuine reassurance that tough times will get better and that staying positive is best approach.

5. Rethink your priorities

Single parents have twice as many responsibilities to take care of, so priorities and expectations must be adjusted accordingly.

Know that you are not superwoman and striving for a perfectly clean home, no dirty laundry, and home-cooked meals for your kids every day is not a reasonable expectation. It’s okay to take shortcuts sometimes, like serving your kids cereal for dinner or waiting until the next day to wash the dishes.

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Don’t compare yourself to anyone else and let go of the guilt that you feel for being the only parent that your kids can count on. Give yourself a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

6. Make time for me time

Even though it can be difficult to find, making time for yourself is critical to maintaining your sanity and well-being. Without a built-in partner to take over, finding time to be away from the kids must be done intentionally and planned in advance.

If you are sharing custody, use the time away from your kids not only doing productive things but also making sure you are taking care of yourself. Sleep, exercise, and balanced diet are not things that can get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Also make time for fun activities, such as hobbies and creative outlets.

Even though being a mother is the most important job you have, don’t let it be the only thing that defines you. Time for yourself is more difficult to find if you are the sole caretaker of your kids.

Use the resources that you have to devote time to self-care, and you and your kids will thank you for it in the long run.

7. Stay organized

With so many things to juggle, great organizational skills are an absolute must in order to keep everything moving smoothly. Use apps such as Mint for your finances, Mealime for meal planning, and Cozi as a family organizer for everything from appointments and shopping lists to after school activities.

Maintain constant contact if you are sharing custody so that it is clearly communicated who will be responsible for what when it comes to your kids. Follow consistent routines in the morning and nighttime so that your kids also know what to expect on a daily basis.

8. Be flexible (Don’t be a control freak)

Although it is important to be prepared and stay organized, things don’t always go according to plan.

When kids get sick and have to stay home or babysitters cancel at the last minute, allow for flexibility by having a contingency plan for childcare and with your employer.

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For example, make a list of people you can call when you need last minute childcare, or talk to your boss in advance about working from home when emergencies come up.

Most of all, don’t let unexpected changes stress you out and ruin your day.

9. Learn to say no (Don’t feel guilty)

Single mothers have limitations in time, energy and resources that families with two parents wouldn’t be able to understand. Because of these circumstances, it’s important you let go of feelings of guilt and stop trying to do everything and be everywhere.

You don’t have to say yes to every single birthday party your child is invited to. Your kids don’t have to be involved in sports and extracurricular activities every night of the week.

Limit the things you do to only the ones that are the most enjoyable and meaningful for you and your family. Doing more things does not make you a better mother; simply a more tired one.

10. Live within your means

When you have to raise your family on a single income, budgeting and spending within your means becomes more important than ever.

If you have outstanding debt that is accruing interest, make it a priority to pay those off as soon as possible. Outlining a budget is the best way to visualize how much money is being spent every month on various things and what is left over.

Find ways to save money on the necessities by looking for sales at the grocery store, buying some things secondhand, planning out meals.

After the necessary bills are paid, determine how much can be spent on luxury items such as eating out, vacations, and going to the movies.

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Don’t let finances be a source of anxiety for you and your family. Keep your bank account in good shape while teaching your kids how to spend money responsibly at the same time.

11. Spend quality time with your kids

The time you spend with your kids is so precious and much more limited as a single mother. Make the time that you spend with your kids count.

Rather than sitting in front of the TV, take them on fun and budget-friendly outings to the park, the playground, or a museum. Use meal times as the perfect excuse to ask them about what they are learning in school and the friends they spend time with.

When your kids ask you to play with them, look at it as a privilege and an opportunity to bond with them, rather than a distraction or waste of time. Be present when you are with them, with no work or multitasking on your mind. Your relationship with your kids will absolutely reap the benefits.

Final thoughts

Being a single mother is not an easy job. That’s why it’s important to use all the resources available to you in order to make this job a little bit easier.

Using technology, an organization system and a supportive community are just a few examples of things you should utilize to your benefit. It’s also important to shift your mindset and be more practical when it comes to things like priorities and finances.

Most of all, don’t forget about your own self care. Only when you take care of yourself can you best take care of the people you love.

Single mothers are some of the most hard-working people out there, and you deserve to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

Reference

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