Birth space is such a sacred area to be in. If someone invites you into this space, you should feel honored. There are a few things to keep in mind when being courteous of this space.
One of the first things to keep in mind is that birth is a physiological event (in the case it is left unhindered). There is no emergency, no need for fear, concern, or anxiety. Birth is a naturally occurring bodily function that more often than not, needs zero help. Women have been doing this for centuries!
Second, the energy you hold in her space. If you start to become anxious or frightened, it may be best for you to step out and move away from her. Your energy effects those around you. In the time a mother is laboring, she is very spiritually/energetically open, and receptive to the energy you give off. It is key to have positive energy in the birth space.
Thirdly, time. Just because your birth was 6 hours start to finish does not mean another woman’s will be. Each birth has its own time frame and no two are identical. Do not make her feel rushed or become fearful due to the length of labor. Labor can be only minutes long or it could be days long. Go in with no expectation, and enjoy the unknown journey with her.
Next, is staring. Mind your eyeballs at her labor and birth. Women are not circus acts. A laboring mother is absolutely beautiful and admirable every. single. time. but, staring and watching her will likely only delay things. Women, more often than not, will labor more efficiently not being watched. I personally do not like to stare a laboring mother down. It is not respectful and I know it is not doing her any good. I also believe I will learn much more from her voice/sounds than looking at her face, more often than not. More ears, less eyes.
Lastly, remember that this is HER birth. It doesn’t matter if you laid on your back to birth your children, if she wants to hang off of the door frame and birth her baby, she should. She should not be encouraged to meet someone else’s desires for her birth. The navigation map of labor and birth is generic, no two identical. Let her navigate her own way through, know that she does not need your suggestions. Her body will relay necessary information. Let her make her own choices in her birth, and respect them, even if you might not agree. Her autonomy is important and something to respect.
What are a few things you wished others would have minded at your birth? What advice would you give someone who will be holding sacred space at a birth?