Has anyone ever said the words “just relax” to you?
How did that work out for you?
When preparing for childbirth, you will learn ways to relax and be comforted during labor. Relaxation is important to the process and is a great coping mechanism. But just as important, is learning how you communicate during stress or pain.
Many of us appreciate kudos or encouraging words when we’ve accomplished a great task. And when we need to keep going, a shout out can be just the thing to get us over the finish line. We all deal with stress and pain in different ways. Words can be a big part of how we cope during labor. And sometimes, silence can be the answer too.
How do *you* receive encouragement?
Think about a time when you were tired and just wanted to put your comfy pants on and binge watch your favorite show. But you had to finish your workday and run errands. You knew things would continue to be busy for a while. This can be compared to early labor. What would you want to hear in that moment? Soft words like “you’re doing great”, or “take a deep breath” can be helpful.
Now think about a time where you were pushed to your absolute limit and you had. to. keep. going. Maybe it felt like you hit a wall and you wanted everything to stop so you could catch your breath. But it wasn’t going to stop. What did you need to hear in that moment? This is like transition and pushing in labor. Will you need a cheerleader, saying “that breathing was great! You kept your body so relaxed”. Or “Keep going. You’ve got this!”.
Maybe you need silence and presence when you are going through moments like these. You gain strength from someone being with you, but not speaking. During labor, you may draw into yourself and don’t want external distractions of conversation and questions. The silence can help you focus on breathing and coping with the contractions. And you know if you need support, your partner or doula is right there.
Discuss what works for you with your partner and doula team. What you need to hear during labor can change as the contractions increase. Silence, or the right words, will give you strength and power as you work to meet your little one!