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AIBU to think that I might not be a great choice of birth partner?

(16 Posts)
WellTravelledPrawn Tue 22-Jan-13 14:06:51

My very close friend, and godmother to my daughter, has just announced her pregnancy. She is single (and 36, successful and solvent so no worries there) and her pregnancy was achieved via donor insemination. While I am thrilled for her, I was totally taken aback when she asked me to be her birthpartner and am worried I will be rubbish!

The reason she asked me is that she wanted someone who had 'been there, done that' and also because her mother, who would have been first choice, has been less than supportive of the whole process. While it would be a priviledge to take the job on and I am more than happy to go with her to classes and be with her through labour, I hardly fit the criteria of someone who has 'been there, done that'. I had one emergency c-section before I was in established labour and one elective c-section. I have never felt a single contration, felt the agony of transition, nor (sadly) the joy of delivering a baby naturally. While I would love to be there, I am worried that I won't know what to do, what to say, how to help and will let her down. I suppose I also have some issues around my own very frightening first birth experience, which I have never really had to face up to and which might get in the way.

AIBU to think that I might be a bad choice and would it be best to talk about my concerns with my friend or just to do my best and get on with the job I've been asked to do?

CrazyOldCatLady Tue 22-Jan-13 14:20:17

Talk to her about it honestly, but don't forget that most birth partners are dads who have even less idea of the whole thing than you do!

Tweasels Tue 22-Jan-13 14:22:43

I would tell your friend your concerns but don't back out yet, You'll probably be a great birthing partner.

Most OH's who are there aren't experienced, haven't even carried a chid let alone gave birth and will be scared and worried.

If she really wanted someone for their experience she could hire a doula. I suspect she wants you because your her closest friend.

Pascha Tue 22-Jan-13 14:23:52

My husband was my birth partner both times and he has never felt a contraction either. I would take it as an honour and a privilege.

redexpat Tue 22-Jan-13 14:29:02

Why dont you just tell her your misgivings and say are you absolutely sure you want me to be there?

WellTravelledPrawn Tue 22-Jan-13 14:53:52

Thanks to you all. My husband did point out that now I know how he felt in the run up to our own children's births.

Tweasel's mention of doulas did make me think that I could talk to her about hiring a doula as well, so that at least someone there is of use!

On the plus side, I'm looking forward to the ante-natal classes again, I enjoyed those!

Bakingtins Tue 22-Jan-13 14:55:56

Talk to her about it, but you do know what it feels like to be heavily pregnant, waiting to meet your baby but anxious about the process and needing loving support. There will be midwives there with the technical knowledge needed, she just needs a friend. I agree completely with the point that most people will choose to have the baby's father there, and most of them will be clueless how to help. Go to the classes with her, chat about how she wants to be supported when the time comes. It might also be a way to process and come to terms with how things went for you?

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Tue 22-Jan-13 17:30:20

That's why you go to the antenatal classes you mention in your OP! I didn't know much about giving birth before I went and nor did my DH. Sure someone who has actually given birth vaginally might have a slightly better insight about certain things but your friend is comfortable with you and wants you there. I wanted my DH and he certainly hasn't given birth smile

PicaK Tue 22-Jan-13 17:44:08

Just to echo the others - my DH had no idea about birth either and i wouldn't have wanted anyone else! I trusted him because i knew he loved me. Your friend trusts you. Simples.

HDee Tue 22-Jan-13 17:46:31

Oh I would LOVE to be asked to be a birth partner. What am amazing thing to experience.

You will be fine. Alternatively, tell her I will do it grin

ReindeerBollocks Tue 22-Jan-13 17:51:40

I was a birth partner for my best friend. It was an amazing experience (and my previous birth experience was irrelevant). It was about putting my friend first, listening to her and advocating her wishes when she was unable to do so.

It truly was a bonding experience and a lovely thing to be a part of - you should feel pleased that she trusts you so much.

Id do it again in a heartbeat

maddening Tue 22-Jan-13 17:55:34

You've been there when it didn't go as you hoped - you have.a good understanding of when birth turns in to an emergency - the bit we all dread - you are more than qualified.

Also - my fiance was not practiced at birth and labour but he made a fine birth partner smile

Tryharder Tue 22-Jan-13 18:02:45

Oh I would love to be a birth partner as well. Can I go instead of you? grin

CheeseStrawWars Tue 22-Jan-13 18:04:18

As a birth partner, your main job is to act as the advocate of the woman in labour - to represent her wishes and ask the questions that she might be unable to, being otherwise busy managing contractions etc. If DH can manage it, I'm sure you'll do fine. smile

awaywego1 Tue 22-Jan-13 18:14:40

I was a birth partner last year, i have no DC, and didn't really have a clue, i read a book and just chatted with her about what she wanted before, massaged her back, encouraged, reassured, brought drinks and didnt panic much when things went a bit wrong.
Talk to her about your fears, shes asked you for a reason, it was a really amazing experience grin

EugenesAxe Tue 22-Jan-13 18:17:40

I think it might be really amazing. I had DH and DM in with me (latter is very very chilled out BTW) and she said it was amazing watching the baby emerge; she was fascinated by the biology of it all. I don't think it's a coincidence that most MWs love being there at babies' births and find it very emotionally uplifting.

I think for me the question is if you think you will be upset if it comes naturally, because you didn't manage it - I feel that about failing at BFing despite everyone telling me it's mental and something I shouldn't be upset about. Having said that, there's no guarantee her labour will be straight-forward, in which case you will be a calm head to have around; you will know if you felt railroaded into something you later regretted and will be able to speak up for her if it looks like the same thing is happening.

As for the agony of transition... I didn't really notice it. The agony for me was all first stage; I liked pushing.

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