What You Shouldn’t Say To A Woman In Labour

Pregnant African woman in labor in wheelchair

There are so many beautiful moments in life. Some you don’t enjoy when you are living it, but with the benefit of hindsight, you realize that you missed a good chance to live life and you play catch up, as it brings a smile to your face.

It is with a cheeky smile on my face that I write this article. It was during my birth of my first set of twins. As some of you know, they came prematurely, and I had gone to the hospital reluctantly that morning, thinking I would be asked to go back home.

What I did not tell you was that, as my husband and I left our home that rainy morning for the hospital, we managed to branch off to buy some snacks. It was like 8am in the morning and we were hungry. When we got to the hospital, I asked him to wait outside the labour ward, and while I went in to tell them what had happened, my water had broken.

When the nurse said they were going to admit me, I was pissed. I told them I was not feeling any contraction, and wasn’t in any pain. She just asked that I go to get my folder. As I stepped out to get the folder, I met my husband, who had made himself comfortable on a bench and was tucking into the snacks we had bought earlier. Something snapped in me at that moment and I told him, “So you are here, eating snacks, while I’m in labour abi?”

He stopped eating immediately, and rushed off to get the folder I wanted, while apologizing profusely. But then, what else would he have said. Men say a lot of “Sorry”, when their wives are in labour and “I love yous” too.

Nowadays, we laugh over it, and when he told the kids his own version of their birth story, he included it, and they all laughed at me for being a spoil sport, denying their daddy breakfast. And I tell them, when it’s their time, they will understand.

My story is not even as funny as that of a fellow mom, whose water broke at home. While she wanted to rush off to the hospital immediately, her husband said he was going to have a bath. She actually tapped him again and felt his forehead, just to be sure he was in senses, and had heard her correctly. She told him again that her water had broken and she wanted him to drive her to the hospital now.

He said, alright but he wanted to shower, as it was already morning. Besides, it was sure to be a long day, which indeed, it turned out to be. 18 hours of labour afterwards, they welcomed their baby into the world. But those were 18 hours that brought out so many reactions and things her husband said, which just did not make sense to her belabored brain.

Here are list of comments, questions and whatnots, that women in labour get to deal with.

“You look tired?”
Really?? I guess after several hours of labour, and a cervix that is not fully dilated, I should be full of energy? Or not? Of course, I am tired!! But until it is over, I can’t give up or show the tiredness. Yes guys, women in labour get tired, stop mentioning the obvious.

“How long will this take?”
As in ‘this’ is referring to the baby coming out, right? How on earth will I know? I don’t know how long it will take, and is that really important right now??! I don’t know how long it will take, so you can go back to your game, or work, or whatever is normal to you. How long it will take to birth a human being? You know what? I don’t know.

“I’m exhausted”
Are you? You poor thing. I remember those time, I had to sit still too for hours watching someone else in pain, and then too, I thought I was tired. But you know what? Since I’ve gone through violent contractions, and labour, and trying to push a baby out of my body, I’ve just realized what an absolute enjoyment it was to just sit with nothing discomforting me. Guys, sitting on a chair is beyond easy, in fact it’s enjoyment. And please don’t talk to me about exhaustion, ok?

“You’re hurting my hand!”
Well yes. That’s the idea. If your hand needs a rest, feel free to stick a different body part in my tightly gripping claw. I can think of one I wouldn’t mind sharing this pain with.

“Shhh! – You’re screaming”
I’m sorry, are the sounds I am making during labour putting you off doing nothing? Are my groans and cries a bit much for you to handle? Well, I’m afraid I can’t turn the volume down. I’m not making these noises on purpose, they’re just pouring out of me.

“I feel hungry”
Huh?!! Hungry?! Well, it can wait until I’m done birthing your child. I bet you can fast right now, given the pain I’m going through to have your baby. I can’t even eat, and you are talking to me about being hungry. How insensitive!

Dear ladies, these are things that really grated on my nerves when I was in labour. What was your experience like? Please share.

May we have enough strength for the journey!



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Photo credits:

1. http://www.huffpost.com/



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