Here’s the video for you Mama!
Welcome to Partner Perspective- a monthly series where I bring in my husband, Mr. Matt Brier, to share his perspective on different birth topics.
Today we’re discussing the importance of communication before, during and after birth.
Matt has learned A LOT about birth over the past 8…9…maybe 10 years. So let’s kick it off!
Q: What are your top 2-3 biggest takeaways, as it relates to communication, that helped you prepare for birth and the early postpartum days?
Partner Perspective: At first, I wasn’t a firm believer in doing a “class” to learn about birth. I originally thought that since Erin is a doula, she would know what to do and I would just follow suit. But we ended up taking a childbirth education class with another couple and it was actually a lot of fun!
Having that time set aside to learn about what to expect in the process of birth, but to also have an open discussion on how we would want to handle certain scenarios.
If we’re not on the same page, it’s better to figure that out before we get into the delivery room, than having to talk about it in the delivery room.
I’ve seen a lot of births in movies, and I knew that I didn’t want to be the dad that was nervous, huddled in the corner or just pacing around not knowing what to do. So for my own personal preparedness, being able to go into it with some sort of knowledge of what my role was going to be was very important to me.
I feel like I got a lot out of the class by just being able to set time aside to have open conversations. And a lot of times, the conversations about what we were learning morphed into things completely off-topic, BUT they were very relevant to what was going to happen in the delivery room.
It all came from talking about how we would want to handle things before we even got into the delivery room.
Q: What are some things that we communicated prior to being in labor that helped you know what to anticipate during labor:
Partner Perspective: One of the things that always stuck in my head was that you wanted to have a delivery room that had a tub, so I knew that if we got into a situation where we were given a room without a tub… that wasn’t going to fly.
(Spoiler alert: We had a tub… but I didn’t get in it once!)
We talked about BRAINS, which is an acronym that can be used in pregnancy, labor and delivery to guide conversations and communication on topics and decisions to be made.
BRAINS stands for:
Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition, Nothing, and Space as it relates to the decision-making process when answering questions from a medical professional.
(A proud doula/wife moment as Matt crushes the BRAINS pop quiz!)
My perspective going into birth was that what a medical professional tells you is law- you just do it and don’t as questions.
I learned that you can make it what you want it to be, to a certain extent, and you have a ton more options than I thought you had.
Q: Now that we’re two years postpartum, and like everyone, still have work to do when it comes to communication in parenting, something new that we have implemented is weekly touchpoints. Can you share about those?
Partner Perspective: We have touchpoints on Sundays after Cooper’s bedtime. It takes 15-20 minutes where we would normally be sitting on the couch anyway, so we just take some time to go through a list of things that we have both decided are important to talk about and gauge where the other person is at.
It’s formal in the fact that it’s on the calendar on a certain day, but it’s a very informal touchpoint.
We talk about the same topics each week… a running calendar where we can get on the same page with upcoming plans/obligations, financial conversations, mental health check-in, sex life check-in, thank you’s and a time to show appreciation… because it’s the same topics every week, the conversation flows fairly quickly.
Like the childbirth education class, it’s a dedicated time to talk and get on the same page about things.
It goes a lot better with an alcoholic beverage if you’re into that sort of thing… and a game of Scrabble after, if you’re into that too (we know we sound old!).
Q: What is one key thing or piece of advice that you would give when it comes to communication in the realm of parenthood?
Partner Perspective: Specifically the childbirth education class, and even these weekly touchpoints, are exactly for the people who aren’t great at communicating because you don’t have to communicate until the meeting if you aren’t confident in communicating.
It forces you to think about this stuff, and inherently, questions are going to come up. It’s a space where you can ask those questions, and you’ll be amazed and probably a little surprised at the answers that your partner gives, and it will lead to a really good and solid discussion that I promise you will help out when you’re in the throes of watching your wife deliver a baby… and even in the depths of parenting.
This would be my advice: Force yourself to communicate, even if you’re not a great communicator, because I promise it’s going to help immensely AND get a doula.
What a great way to wrap it up:
A BIG thanks to my partner, and biggest supporter, for sharing his perspective! We’ll see you again next month!