Many of us have heard of the popular book The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. In his book, Chapman explains that everyone has a primary “love language” to communicate and interpret love. When both partners speak the same love language, giving and receiving love is much easier for the relationship. However, most couples have different primary love languages, so they need to learn both of their primary love languages. This will help them better understand and express their love and appreciation to one another. (Here is the free quiz you can take if you want to know more about your love language.) But how can you show your love to your partner, the laboring woman, that will ensure she will feel loved during labor and delivery? Here are the 5 love languages of labor and delivery and what you can do to show your love and support.
How to Use the 5 Love Languages During Labor and Delivery
Giving birth is a moment that will live with the laboring mother forever. It’s not just how the birth unfolds that she will remember. She will also always remember how she was made to feel and supported and cared for. Her feelings are just as important as the end result of a healthy mother and baby. There are many ways you can show your love and support to your laboring partner. If a parent can look back on their baby’s birth fondly and remember their loved one(s) providing love and support, it is more likely to be a positive, memorable experience.
1. Words of Affirmation
Words hold power. Whether they’re negative or positive, words can make a real impact on a person’s life, especially during childbirth. If your laboring partner’s love language is words of affirmation, I recommend thinking about it in advance and writing down what you can say to show your support and love to your partner. Your words will provide her comfort and strength to carry on.
Here are some things that you can say if you are unsure of what will help:
- I love you.
- You’re doing so great.
- You are so strong and beautiful.
- You are safe.
- I love you.
- I’m really proud of you.
- You can do this—you got this!
- You’re amazing.
- I love you.
- You’re such an incredible mother already.
- You are powerful and courageous. You were made for this moment.
- Thank you for carrying and birthing our child.
- I love you.
2. Acts of Service
She may be the one doing the hard work, but there are things that you can do to help her during labor to show her your love. Some acts of service that you can do during labor are:
- Get her water and refill her cup or get her ice chips.
- If she can eat snacks during labor, offer her snacks to help with her energy. Better yet, feed it to her if she is tired. Some ideas are:
- fresh fruit
- granola or dried fruit bars
- toast with a nut butter
- labor-aide drink
- dried fruit and nut mix
- frozen grapes or berries
- honey sticks, for a boost of energy
- Be in charge of the lights and keeping the door closed. You want to help her avoid any unnecessary interruptions.
- Adjust the temperature in the room to keep her comfortable. She will go from hot to cold, back and forth, throughout labor. This is normal.
- If you do not have a doula, help her change positions and help her with her breathing.
- Help her with counter pressure during contractions.
- Massage her.
- Comb her hair.
- Do whatever she needs and asks.
And sometimes serving is just holding space for her and holding her hand. You don’t have to be moving and constantly doing something. Being fully present right next to her is still meaningful.
3. Receiving Gifts
If her primary love language is receiving gifts, then consider gifting your laboring partner a push present or any token of appreciation during labor or after she gives birth. Some sweet gifts ideas that you can give her are:
- Surprise her with her favorite snack or candy.
- Make her birth affirmation cards.
- Put together a labor survival kit for her with nonskid socks, aromatherapy, chapstick, etc.
- Make a meaningful playlist with her favorite songs and special songs to you both as a couple.
- Frame a focal point to get her through tough contractions. For example, the focal point could be a sonogram picture of your baby or a picture of her favorite flower blooming, etc.
- A handwritten letter or card with a thoughtful message that she can read after giving birth.
- A new robe/nightgown/slippers for postpartum.
- A necklace with the baby’s name on it.
- A charm bracelet she can build on.
- Arrange a surprise visit from a special friend/family member after the birth who you know she will love.
4. Quality Time
It may seem obvious that you will be spending time together as your partner labors and gives birth, but there are still things that you can do if her primary love language is quality time that will really show her your love. The most important thing is to remain engaged and attentive to her throughout childbirth. I do not recommend leaving her (only leave if you have to use the bathroom or get a quick bite to eat) or sitting on the opposite side of the room playing on your phone/tablet/computer. This includes if she has an epidural. She wants your full attention on her and the baby. This is a big moment for her—probably the biggest moment in her life—and she will feel loved if you are just as connected as she is to the birth of your baby.
Ways that you can show your love with quality time love language during labor and delivery:
- Always be right by her side.
- Hold her hand.
- Say words of encouragement.
- Hold space for her.
Holding space may not sound like a lot, but it is profound for a laboring woman. Holding space means to be with someone without judgment. To donate your ears and your heart and let them be as you practice empathy and compassion. It means putting your needs and opinions aside and accepting someone’s truth, no matter what it is. And if your laboring partner has an epidural and is not resting, it does not mean that you can treat that moment like any other. Instead, use that time for conversation, games, and other things you both enjoy doing together.
5. Physical Touch
Physical touch is a big love language during labor and delivery for many women. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to massage her every moment to show your love. There are simpler ways to do it. Slow dancing and or rocking helps engage the baby further down and lets gravity aid in the process. Holding your partner or client in this position while running your fingers down their back can help them rest in relaxation. Don’t overthink this. Even something as simple as a soft hand on a shoulder can provide a sense of security and calm. Some ideas are:
- Back and neck massage.
- Foot/hand massage.
- Slow dancing or rocking back and forth.
- Scalp massage or brushing hair.
- Counter pressure on her hips or sacrum.
- Sitting near your partner with a hand on her shoulder.
- Holding hands.
- Hugging her.
- Kissing her.
Physical touch is one of my primary love languages, and during labor and delivery, I actually couldn’t handle anyone massaging me. It was too much stimulation as I experienced the contractions. But what I really did enjoy was when someone had their hand on my shoulder, when my husband hugged me, and when he stroked my hair between pushes. This reminded me that we were there together and that even though I was the one that was laboring, I felt like my husband, my doula, and my midwives were in it with me. That we were a team. That feeling and memory are something that will stay with me forever.
What’s your favorite way to receive love? Did that change during labor and delivery?