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If you have concerns about medical interventions, consider involving a trained labor or childbirth assistant. It is always a good idea to have available a knowledgeable person who can support you and your partner. Too often women express regret that their husbands did not know enough to comfort them during labor; some even end up angry at their partners. A husband may feel he failed when his wife's expectations for his role were not realistic. this common pitfall can be avoided by having a support person present who can tell you that what you are experiencing is normal and healthy. Taking time to read this chapter and to participate in the exercises in this book will give you a more realistic orientation.
It is also important to stop taking care of anyone else while you are in labor, including your partner. This is not a time when you can afford to inhibit your expression or the release of pain. Do not play the role of hostess. Labor is a time when you owe all your attention and loving concern to yourself.
You and your partner are learning about the process of labor together. By sharing your fears and expectations, you can eliminate any false beliefs about comfort or protection that either of you may have. this can clear the way for loving support that is possible and realistic. True intimacy can make a difference in the quality of your journey into the unknown. The foundations for intimacy are honesty and sharing. Whatever your labor brings, it can be a shared experience that deepens your relationship rather than an isolating experience that alienates you from each other. How you travel through labor together can make all the difference as you begin your new family.