I love this picture.
To me, this is what support looks like at a birth. The dad providing counterpressure. The doula supporting the mom’s squatting position. The midwife a reassuring presence. I love her hand on Noelle’s head.
The transition into pushing is an intense time. The body is releasing adrenaline and mom’s “thinking brain” has shut down. She is fully immersed in the sensations. It can be a vulnerable time and one that is often abused by caregivers who are uncomfortable with the power of it.
This is not a time for loud noises or flurried activity. This is not a time for bright lights. This is not a time for medication or the offering of medication. This is not a time for instruction or cheerleading.
This is a time for calm reassurance and gentle hands on support. If the mom asks for help, offer it in a way that bolsters her trust in her ability to birth. I quietly whisper to women words like “your body is designed to do this” and “you are bringing your baby down.” I remind them to take it slow, there is no rush. I remind them that they are not breaking; not damaging themselves. They are stretching and opening.
Sounds of power from the mom. Croons and murmurs from the support team. A cry of awakening from the newly born.