Dads, 10 Things Not To Say When Your Partner Is In Labour

03/05/2014 22:06 | Updated 20 May 2015

Father present in a labour room


Choose your words very carefully during this trying time and you might...just might.... be forgiven for everything she's going through. Say one thing out of place.... and you're a daddy doomed...

1. You look knackered...

She's suffered agony for hours, has been prodded around like a stuck pig, has pushed, strained, wept and hasn't slept for what seems like weeks, so - as you take that first sweaty picture of her with her tiny little bundle of pride and joy - be very careful what you say. She's more than aware she's not a match for Megan Fox right now, but stating the bleedin' obvious by telling her she looks wrecked won't win you any favours. Instead cross your fingers - and lie. "You look amazing," "You're the most gorgeous mum ever...." These kinds of compliments are more likely to instill in her anything close to the desire to allow you to touch her again within the next couple of years.

2. His head looks like a rugby ball...

Or, "He looks like he's done a few rounds in the boxing ring" or "Blimey, do you think she'll grow into those ears?" Even a lighthearted joke about your baby's hair looking like Ann Widdecombe's won't go down in the spirit it's intended and could result in buckets of tears or a grudge she'll hold for years (and which will be brought up during every subsequent argument you ever have.) To her, this baby is the most perfect and gorgeous thing ever to have graced the earth. So, no matter what you really think about the cosmetic merits of the squashed little chap or chapette who's just cascaded into your world, it's your duty to heap adoring praise on his or her handsome looks. "He's beautiful" is all you need to know.

3. I'm starving

She's just gone hours upon hours without so much as a sip of tepid water passing her teeth, so don't even dare to bring your pathetic bodily needs into the equation. Slip out of the room if you need to and guzzle secretly on that Mars Bar that's been burning a hole in your pocket (make sure you wipe your mouth well afterwards – all women can smell chocolate from a far way off). But don't dare to eat (and god forbid, enjoy) anything in front of her until she's been served up that cup of tea and toast by the midwives that she's been gasping for since she went into established labour. Asking for a share of said toast is sacrilege, by the way, and suggesting you have a sip of her tea could result in understandably rottweiler-like behaviour from her. She's earned it. You haven't. Honestly. You haven't.

4. I've got a headache...

"And I feel sick. Do you think it might be a brain tumour? Maybe the midwife could take a look at me....". Trust me when I tell you that sharing your aches, pains and health concerns with a woman (or midwife) during labour will not result in the sympathetic reaction and mopped brow that you're looking for (especially if said headache and nausea is probably the result of swiping a little too much of her gas and air). Suffering in silence and taking it like a man is your best bet. Unless you fancy being on the receiving end of a torrent of abuse from her that will make you feel less of a man than you really are. You get my drift?

5. I'm exhausted...

Oh really? Oh REALLY? May I politely suggest that this will be the very, very worse thing you can ever say to a woman who's just slogged away for hours giving birth. Don't even yawn in front of her. Stifle it. She will want to hurt you for any signs of fatigue you show so stay out of reach and duck for cover if you feel a weary stretch coming on. At the very least expect a torrent of abuse, which will, as above, make you feel less of a man than you really are...

6. These seats are so uncomfortable....

"You'd think they could put out some comfy sofas in the delivery suites when we have to sit here for so long..." Complaining about your own comfort when she feels like she's sitting on burning coals with a hot poker placed somewhere unnecessary will not elicit any words of understanding from her. Again, suffering in silence is the best option – and if you really cared about her, you'd stick some long sharp pins all over your body voodoo-style just to show her that you're with her on this journey.

7. Could you keep the noise down, love...I've got a hangover...

If anything is likely to make her turn up the volume (and add a few expletives to her repertoire), it's you complaining about said volume in the first place. So no matter how much she screams, yells or caterwauls, your job is to hold her hand, mop her brow and grit your teeth through the din, hung-over or not. You shouldn't have had that extra pint anyway. We have no sympathy for you.

8. Do you thinkyou'll be much longer?

Expect a slap for this unless your missus is Mother Theresa herself.

9. I wonder what the football score is?

No, no, no. No matter how much you're missing real-life, you must resist the temptation to indicate to your lady that you have any interest whatsoever in what is going on outside of this delivery suite. Your sole focus in life is her and her contractions. There is no enjoyment for you outside of this room. You must suffer with her every step of the way. You care about nothing else. Not football, rugby, cricket, or the pub. Not food, drink, or worldwide current affairs. It's all about her. Remember that.

10. Does it hurt, darling?

Now that's just silly, isn't it?

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