“I stayed by her side throughout, and just kept telling her, ‘you’re doing really well’…”


“At first I felt really useless, when I saw what she was going through. Then the midwife told me my job was to tell my wife how well she was doing. There was a while towards the end when she seemed to go to another place, she didn’t speak, just moaned. I was a bit freaked by it all but kept mopping the back of her neck with cool water and repeating, “you are amazing…” She didn’t even acknowledge I was there, but the next day she told me that my voice was what she had been focusing on, that it had really helped to hear how amazing I thought she was because she had felt like giving up, but I had urged her on.”


“Every time I opened my mouth during the labour I got my head bitten off. The midwife whispered to me that I shouldn’t take anything that was said personally, that some women just didn’t like being talked to.”


“I did any thing she wanted. If she wanted me to juggle while riding on a unicycle singing ‘O Dixie land’ ', I would have. Thankfully, back rubs, candles and daily warm baths seemed to suffice. We were much more of a team than I expected during labour, I got her water, ran a bath, rubbed her back, held her, let her squeeze my hands and helped her to squat.”


“Towards the end she kept on muttering “water” and pointing to her head. I started mopping her brow with a damp sponge, but she kept shaking her head from side to side. Later she told me she had wanted cold water poured or sprayed over her, she had felt like she was burning up and wanted to be covered in cold water! Afterwards we said a previously agreed set of non-verbal signs between us would have been very handy – she was unable to talk for that last crucial hour or so.”


“Looking back, I would probably have given more information to my partner. For example, twice when the heads crowned she would have liked to know that I could see the head, and how much was out. I also only realised after that hot compresses (heated in microwave) provided relief.”


“I rubbed her back, held her hand, provided the sick bucket and remembered her birth plan.”


“We had two home births and during those I helped her with close contact, support, and back massage. I also helped by telling her when to do her “huff huff” breathing. Our third birth was breech and a C-section so I helped by just being there and staying with the baby.”


“Don’t get completely distracted by timing contractions or writing them down, or other things ‘read in a book’. Suggest things only if they might be really helpful, but remember you partner is in pain and needs lots of support, and is not in position to listen or to be told to do things.”


“If I had gone through it before I feel I would have been stronger and more with it. I felt spaced out, whether that was from the tiredness or the enormity of the whole thing, I’m not sure.”


“The midwives really kept me going through the labour. When J got really tired and starting giving out to me, the midwife kept talking to her. I couldn’t say anything without getting my head chewed off…”


“During labour, I was able to help my wife in small, practical ways as well as just being there, providing encouragement.  The nature of the midwives’ scheme was such that it gave the opportunity to be close to my wife in a quiet atmosphere rather than a more public one which would have been more inhibiting. The first labour was much longer than the second and I think that I spent a lot of it on non-essential things rather than being physically close at hand at the early stages.”


“I held her hand, gave her words of encouragement and made sure she was comfortable.”


“I was able to help my partner during labour by holding her hand, just being there, praying silently, encouraging, cracking jokes.”


”My wife was amazing. Respect…awe…respect…awe! What more can a man say!”