My partner can't join me?
Partners offering support from afar
by Elizabeth Weinstein
- Virtual Support: As a doula in the time of Covid, I have become accustomed to offering support over the phone. This means modeling calming breaths, making eye contact, offering words of affirmation, reminding families that this is the work that must happen to have a baby, offering suggestions for movement changes, and participating in conversations with care providers. While we are used to doing all of these things in person, all of this support can still be offered over the phone. Even seeing your partner’s face through Zoom of FaceTime can offer a simple reminder that you are really right there, that she is not alone, and that you are a steadfast companion who will be there with her through the long hours of labor.
- You are an Irreplaceable Partner: Yes you! There are words and stories and reminders that only you know. Bring them to your partner over the phone. Remember to offer eye contact, undivided attention, expressions of encouragement and love, reassurance and calm confidence, human, and reminders that you are really in this together.
- Mental Support Strategies (click on these strategies to go to video demonstrations)
- Visualization - partner tells story
- Focal point - picture, baby clothes
- Chant, sing or pray
- Identify meaningful affirmations
- Virtual Love Letters: The words and affirmations of loved ones can make a massive difference in moments of difficulty. Ask your partner(s), your best friend, your parents, your family, anyone who’s words and guidance could be a source of light to prerecord voice memos and send them to you. These can be love letters, pieces of scripture or your favorite poem, reminders of your power and strength, sweet memories of a special time together, reminders of how much you want to meet your baby, anything that might bring you joy and help you tap deeply into your power. Don’t listen to these love letters yet, but keep them in a special folder on your phone to listen to during particularly trying moments of labor. Let the light of your loved ones come with you into your birth room.
- Mindfulness and Birth Meditations:
- FREYA Hypnobirthing App: Provides guided breath meditations, contraction (surge) counting and calming reminders to move and breath through labor. $5
- Headspace App for Birth
- Mindfulness Meditations from Nancy Bardacke, Author of Mindful Birthing
- Creating a Sacred or Special Space to Come Home To: As a partner and parent to your child, it may be especially difficult to come to terms with not being able to be present at your baby’s birth. Know that your support and care is invaluable and irreplaceable, no matter where you are. If possible, you can spend your time at home creating a space of love and welcome for your partner and your baby to come home to. Considering cooking a special postpartum meal, hanging up special words and affirmations, doing the laundry and or cleaning the home in a meaningful way, putting fresh sheets on the bed, preparing a batch of postpartum sitz bath herbs, or any other special gesture of love that will make coming home that much more peaceful and welcoming.
- Preparing for Early Discharge - The first days at home can be full of adjusting not only to your new baby, but to your new postpartum body as well. Here is a guide for monitoring your vital signs, cramping, postpartum bleeding, urination and bowel movements, nutrition, exercise, milk supply and breast health, perineal healing, recovering from a c-section, and emotional health. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call your healthcare provider or 911.