The Partner Manifesto

There is so much information available about pregnancy at our fingertips: how to get pregnant, how to be healthy in pregnancy, how to be comfortable in pregnancy, how to do the best exercises,  how to name your baby, how to shower a pregnant person with gifts, what to buy for baby.  There is much to learn about birthing and then parenting your new baby.  BUT, do we really consider the birthing person’s partner?  What role do they play in all of this?  Peaceful Passage Doulas believe just as the Matrona, that the birth partner is the second most important person in the birthing space.  In fact, the partner has a key, rather sacred, role to play in the birth of the baby.  Here is our PARTNER MANIFESTO (based on the Matrona’s Father Manifesto).

Be Yourself. No one gets to designate your role.
As The Partner, it is your privilege and honor to receive your child as the birthing person invites you to participate. It is you who gave the Light to create this baby and it is you who is chosen to receive the Light. Your presence at the birth is authentic and organic so be free to show up as who, and how, you are.
If you see yourself as the birthing person’s support person, embody that role. If you see yourself as the protector of your family and want only to stand and witness, then that is your role. If you see yourself as a liaison to the caregivers, be that person. If you see yourself as the beneficent partner who oversees the room, then that is your place.
You choose your role and show up as yourself.
You need not let anyone else tell you how to act or what you should do during the birth.
Often, well-meaning caregivers may attempt to suggest or even dictate a specific support role which may or may not resonate with you. Resist the temptation to allow anyone else to designate your role.
Be yourself. You know how to be with your partner. Be that person.
Partners are not at births simply to be “the support person.”
Partners are present because they are the other important person in the room and are to be treated as so. That doesn’t mean we don’t support our partners. Actually, the best support is for you to be the authentic person you are and allow your instinctual responses to guide you.

Know that you have instinctual responses to the birth of your child.
You probably know this birthing person better than anyone else in the room…maybe better than anyone else on the planet. So, of course you will have instinctual responses to everything going on in the birth.
You can tell when your partner is frustrated, and why. You instinctively know if a particular person is out of alignment with the birth. You will know if someone is persuading your partner to do something they don’t want to do.
Are there too many people in the room? Does your partner want to be left alone? Or are they uncomfortable and want some help.  Of course, you know these things.
And they have their own instinctual response to their labor. They generally know how the baby is doing.
And how you are doing.
The birthing person knows what’s working and what isn’t and, while they may not always be able to articulate their needs, they know that you may be aware of them before anyone else.
Your instinctual responses are usually more accurate than those of the caregiver so be yourself…and feel free to act on those knowings.

Feel free to act on your instinctual responses.
Yes, you do have the authority to act on your instinctual responses. It is expected of you in your role as the Parent/Partner.
Naturally, your actions arise from the place of advocacy, rather than taking over the birth or making decisions contrary to the birthing person’s instincts and wishes.
Share your knowings and feelings with your partner and the caregiver. It is appropriate to speak for your partner if they wish. Your partner may be deep in a delta state in labor and not able to articulate wishes in ordinary reality. It is perfectly fine for you to be that advocate because ultimately, you hold the charge for this birth.

Know that you hold the charge for this birth and what that means.
Our birthing practices do not support transparency.
We withhold information about the true lawful, legal, cultural, social and familial power of the partner to hold the charge for the birth of their child.
Many couples are under the impression that the caregiver or the hospital/ birthing center holds the charge for the birth…meaning that what the caregiver says is the bottom line or that the hospital’s protocols are a matter of law or legality. This is not the truth according to any of the systems mentioned above.
In the 80s and 90s we fought very hard for something called Informed Consent. Prior to that there was no public avenue for choices or refusal of procedures.
It was a hard fight because many medical/clinical practitioners were confused as to why anyone would want to refuse medical/clinical advice. Today, however, we have a public document of Informed Consent that states a person’s right to advocate for themselves and accept or refuse any caregiver or procedure not agreed to.

Today, any doctor or midwife will allow that any birthing person has the right to advocate for themself. However, it is required that a person advocating for themself must do so in a reasonable manner, looking the caregiver in the eye and stating clearly and rationally with a witness present that they do not give permission for a specific procedure or matter of care. People in labor are often not in the appropriate space to do that, and it is ridiculous to ask a laboring person to continually be present in that mainframe, so often the birthing person’s wishes have been ignored.
 And this is still the case.
However, as the parent of the baby, you hold the charge for this family and you are lawfully, legally, culturally, socially and familially able to advocate for your partner in the birthing arena.
As stated before, the caregiver does not hold the charge for the birth for the simple reason that the caregiver will never take this child home or be in any way responsible for the upbringing of this child.
And the hospital or institution does not have the final say either because of the same reason.

As the parent you have the privilege and responsibility to bring this child home, to raise this child and to financially support your family. This gives the partner the bottom line for decision making and the legal, lawful, social, cultural and familial authority to advocate for your partner in the birthing arena.
Partners have an amazing power that they are seldom aware of and that has been withheld all these many years.

Act on the power accorded to you in holding the charge for your family.
Now that you are aware of the authentic power you have as a parent, feel free to act accordingly.
If you advocate for your partner and child, you will be heard. It is the law.
If your partner is being ignored, step up, and speak up with a simple statement such as…’I think I heard them say they didn’t want that.’
This is simply you, being you. Having instinctual responses and then bringing them forth as advocacy for your partner. You know they don’t want something, you heard them say it and now you speak for them (with their permission, of course) as their perfect, intimate advocate.

Be the perfect intimate advocate.
You know your partner better than anyone.
You are, together, more invested in this child than anyone in the room.
That makes you the perfect advocate. Not because you are perfect and never make mistakes but because you have the most intimate relationship in the room. No one else has this level of investment in each other and this baby.
This makes you the perfect intimate advocate.
If your partner wants something, you make it happen. If your partner doesn’t want something, you make it go away.
This is your organic role and however you unfold it, it will be met with appreciation and gratitude by your partner. You partner will look up to you.  Your partner will have a renewed respect for you just as you will have for your partner. Nearly every birthing person is elevated by a partner who stands up in the birthing room.
Remember, you are charged by the law, the legal system, our culture and our social customs to take this inherent power and use it wisely.

Be your highest and best.
The birth of a child is a gracious opportunity.
It is the gracious blessing of a new life on the planet.
It one of the most transformational experiences a couple can ever imagine as parenthood conveys the potential to live for more than ourselves.
It is the creation of Family, as it exists here on earth but even beyond.
The giving and receiving of the light is an opportunity for our planet to shine…to speak to the universe that  we understand the gift of life and that we do as stars and galaxies do…create life and birth into a waiting cosmos.
Because we are part of something, not just greater than ourselves but greater than the Earth and the Solar system, greater than the Milky Way and our star cluster, Laniakea…because of this, we ask each partner to be present in the highest form possible.
Accept the invitation, come forth in your best and you will bring forth the Archangel. You are the Great Protector of your family and your wingspan encompasses more than what is in this room. It can hold every family and bestow the blessings of life into every spiral of the Cosmos simply because you showed up and gave, not just the Light, but your BEST.

You are Pregnant. Now What About Your Partner? Taking a Look at the Sacred Role of Your Partner at Birth
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