As a man I find it useful to equate situations to sport as a means of dealing with the stresses or challenges that life presents. Pregnancy and labour is no exception, from a man’s perspective it’s much like being an athletics coach. First you identify the talent and potential, then you put her through her paces and conduct some ‘training sessions’ (This is a family blog so I’ll leave it there). Then eventually you strike the big time and entry into the premier race, I’m thinking 100m final in the Olympics, all that time preparing for (hopefully) a short flurry of activity at the end.
So you’ve got the entry into the race for your athlete and now as coach you job is to provide support and encouragement. Diet and nutrition are important so you have to make sure that there isn’t an increase in junk food or biscuits. Clearly they shouldn’t be consuming alcohol and the only performance enhancing drug allowed is folic acid (you may want to have random drugs tests to check). Training should continue so that your athlete can keep fit and healthy, but it should probably look to taper off towards the end. Some light walking or perhaps a swim are particularly good options. The job of a coach isn’t easy, particularly in those tough first 12 weeks where no doubt there’ll be some tears and a few temper tantrums. Plus of course this training will reduce energy levels so you have to provide regular meals and massage’s to relieve stress. Prepare to become their cook, cleaner and general dogs body.
As you approach the big day you may attend joint training sessions with other competitors for some final expert advice. This is a good chance to size up the competition and judge who you think will finish first. You may decide to invest in new equipment at this time, always brings a sense of re-assurance to have the latest greatest technology even if people have been running for hundreds of years and never needed it.
Then before you know it the day is here, the final push for the finish line. A good coach will anticipate his athletes needs and be ready to reassure her. He’ll know what words of motivation she needs and what will make her relaxed enough to perform to her potential. This is where it gets tough, where grit and determination will be needed. Where you know it’ll be painful, but when it’s all over the pain will be forgotten and the sense of achievement will be everything. You do it, both of you, she may go through it physically, but you’re in this together and as a team you’re going to have to stick together for what’s coming next.
So now you know how my brain works, I’m off to stock up on Lucozade (other energy drinks are available), dig out my lycra and buy a new stop watch. The big race is soon, we just don’t know exactly when….