A: whoever will give the laboring mother a sense of calm and expectation. She thinks about being in active labor in the presence of a particular person (her mother, her best friend, her sister, her father-in-law, etc). When she imagines that person with her in labor she smiles. She knows that she will feel more energized, more secure if this person is with her. Invite this person!
Conversely, if a pregnant woman thinks about being in active labor around a person and finds herself wondering what that person will think or how that person will behave, if she frowns even just slightly while she imagines this person there, this is not a person to invite.
This process changes from birth to birth. The right birth team for your first labor is probably different from the right birth team for your third labor. We change. We grow. We need new kinds of support.
Anyone who wishes they could be with you in labor but who is not invited should have a special job to do during labor. Some of my favorite assignments for such people (grandparents, often):
1. Bake a birthday cake for the baby
2. Purchase the day’s newspaper and a lottery ticket
3. Have dinner ready for the family when they arrive home
4. Send them to the store for some absolutely necessary supplies: more diapers, more wipes, more baby blankets, whatever you can imagine needing. Just make it sound IMPORTANT!
5. Serve as the conduit for information to the rest of the world during labor. The dad or doula can make one phone call or send one text to this person who can then broadcast any information to the world that the birthing family desires.
6. Write a letter to the new baby on its birth day to welcome her or him to the world!
Why do I believe that a woman’s intuitive knowledge of who will support her best is the way to decide? I have a simple answer. A woman’s body is designed to shut down labor if she perceives even the smallest threat to herself. It doesn’t matter how much you love your mother or your friend. If you feel judged by this person in any way, you can compromise your labor. It’s not worth it. Be selfish! Consult your inner wise self and no one else.