Beyond Breathing

In honour of my oldest son’s 7th birthday and the 45 hours I spent giving birth to him, I’d like to remind you all that perhaps the least productive thing you can say to a woman in labour is “just breathe”. As such, I offer you my top 50 Things to Say to a Woman in Labour Other than Just Breathe (lifted directly from my full list of 100 which you can find in my book Naked in the Driveway – cha-ching!)

1. You can do this
2. You’re stronger than you think you are
3. You’re almost certainly not going to die today
4. You’ve never been more beautiful than you are right now
5. No, that vein in your forehead is not popping out
6. Let’s find out if I can fit this rubber glove over my head
7. Remember that time you climbed Mt Kilimanjaro/left your shitty ex-husband/learned to speak Italian? If you can do that, you can do this
8. I know it hurts and I’m sorry
9. You’re going to be so happy when this is over
10. Do you want to punch me in the mouth?
11. You know, hospital green is really your color
12. That gown is so slimming on you
13. This is all his fault
14. I’ve booked you in for a pedicure next week
15. Do you want some drugs?
16. It’s OK to scream
17. It’s OK to cry
18. Do you want to call your mother/sister/therapist?
19. Grunt louder, woman!
20. You’ve got this
21. Yes, it is a big deal, but you can handle it
22. You actually do deserve a medal
23. It only feels like the end of the world
24. Hang in there
25. It’s really only your belly – your butt is still tiny
26. You’re creating new life right now
27. Tomorrow you get to sleep on your front side again
28. Now aren’t you glad you did all that Pilates?
29. So what if you’ve never done Pilates?
30. Of course I’ll still love you, no matter what happens to the baby fat
31. If you were a cat, you’d have to do this for an entire litter
32. Show those cry babies in the waiting room how it’s done
33. You’re not a cry baby
34. The nurse said you were the best mom on the whole ward but she can’t tell you that because she’s not allowed to show favoritism
35. You’re going to do a great job – just like your mother
36. You’re not going to turn into your mother
37. I’m turning off the video recorder right now
38. So then Cheryl said, ‘Oh, no you didn’t’ and then Sue said, ‘Oh, yes I did’ and that’s when they started fist fighting and then…
39. It’s margaritas the minute we’re out of here
40. The last contraction lasted ten seconds – let’s count through the next one
41. Yes you can
42. It’s OK to say the F word
43. Fill up your lungs all the way and then blow for a count of ten
44. The doctor thinks you’ve got about [how long] to go and then it’s over
45. We can burn your maternity underpants now if you want
46. You’re right
47. Let’s see what’s on Showtime
48. I wouldn’t do nearly as well as you’re doing right now
49. You’re almost finished
50. I’ll shut up now

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