Encouraging words to a laboring mother - tell me your stories! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 11-04-2008, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi, everyone.

I'm actually not pregnant... yet. Waiting a while for that one! I am, however, writing a book for NaNoWriMo (nanowrimo.org), and have come to a part in my book where the main character is having her child. The scene has flashbacks of her relationship with her husband and finding out that she is pregnant with his baby, and she comes back to the present on occasion to hear encouraging words during the birth of her daughter by her doula or midwife.

However, I'm stuck. As I've never had a baby and only witnessed my best friend's baby's birth in the hospital (and honestly, I didn't pay attention to anything that was said... I was too excited!), I don't know what a midwife or doula would say to encourage the laboring mother.

So, what kinds of encouraging words would you say to help the mother out? What have you said? What do you do (physically) along with these words to help her out?

Thank you so much!
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#2 of 8 Old 11-04-2008, 02:33 PM
 
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Moms usually don't need as much affirmations during active labor before things get crazy intense at transition, during that time most want quiet and maybe some light physical support. At transition we start feeling and saying we can't do it and such a lot of the time, and reaching out for someone to help.

Some things that I've heard and also good affirmations I've read:
You can do anything for one minute (this reminds mom take contractions one at a time).
You're doing it!
You're doing a great job.
You can!
Birth is normal.
This is possible.
Open.
Let go. (really, a lot of the time giving in is what it takes here)
You're going to meet your baby soon!

A lot of the short encouraging stuff is great for mom to say as a mantra too with each out breath, like "I can", "open", or just "yes".

Physical stuff:
Supporting mom leaning in a standing position
Supporting in a squat
Smoothing tension in forehead, shoulders, anywhere
Hard counterpressure on lower back with a palm or fist or massage tool
Foot or hand rubs
Modeling calm, deep, abdominal breathing near her face for her to match
Giving drinks or snacks
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#3 of 8 Old 11-04-2008, 11:04 PM
 
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Work with your baby
Your body knows how to birth this baby
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#4 of 8 Old 11-05-2008, 12:42 AM
 
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Imagining this in book form or movie form - what would be kind of neat is if she came back from that flashback to her doula saying she should either catch her baby (baby is being born and brought into world and she has the option of catching it herself) or maybe saying to her that she can touch her baby's hair (as he/she is just crowning).

I just had a recent birth where the father totally teared up as soon as he saw the baby's hair emerge just a tiny bit. He announced to the Mom "I can see the hair sweety!" They also did not know the sex and that was so exciting - always is more exciting in my opinion when the parents don't know sex. They also had a very long labor so it was very rewarding to see his tears!

Mother to FOUR BOYS!!  Austin (1997) Luke (2005) Mason (2007) and Judah (2010), wife to Joe, doula to many, and Birthing From Within Mentor in SE Michigan
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#5 of 8 Old 11-05-2008, 09:43 AM
 
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"you're doing beautifully"

"you are so beautiful and strong right now"

"oh yes, a good strong one, that's what you want, strong contractions to bring this baby into your arms"

"you're doing this just right"

"breathe...just breathe" (spoken while I am taking a big breath, exhaling very noticeably and letting my face/shoulders loosen).

Physical support--as described already, also: light open-handed stroking/caressing down mom's arm, back, side (whatever suits her current position). Cool cloth for face/neck....warm towels for belly or back.
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#6 of 8 Old 11-06-2008, 09:39 AM
 
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I recently came across a great you tube video while searching for 'positive birth affirmations'. I don't think I can post the link here though.
I was actually thinking of putting together a class on this topic and incorporating self-help techniques for couples.

Shelly DeMeo Birth Doula/Educator, Massage Therapist, Birth Assistant, Echo Tech, Future CPM! Mom to Dylan (6/03) and Sage Aria (1/06).
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#7 of 8 Old 11-06-2008, 09:56 AM
 
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I'm not a birth professional, but I just wanted to add something that kind of helped me. When I screamed out "I CAN'T DO THIS!!!", my friend/doula said "You ARE doing it!" Even in the throes of transition, I remember this bringing home to me that it was happening and I had to go with it.

DS 12/22/05 and DD 5/24/09
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#8 of 8 Old 11-06-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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Yes, you are doing it is a great one!!! I think another good one is reminding them they're going to be able to hold their baby soon (mom's forget!).

Also, this isn't exactly something you "say", but for me it seems to work to just distract them with something new. Say- "hey, let's go try this position over here". Probably wouldn't make a huge impact in a story though

This is a useful thread for birth professionals anyway! Thank you!
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