After going through one birth experience, you might think that you’ve got it down. Well, you might think that if things went swimmingly.
You very well might. It’s entirely possible you nailed this birth partner thing, and have nothing to learn. If so, that’s great! Also, please let the rest of us know your secrets. We certainly would benefit.
Having experienced one birth will at least help you know what to expect at different stages, and that by itself is a vital piece of information. (If you don’t have experience and you want that vital information, along with a lot of other very useful information on how to be an awesome birth partner, download my book.)
But–and this may be surprising to some of you–no two births are the same. Some are a lot alike. Some are very different. My first child kept my wife in labor the longest, including the longest time spent pushing. We joke, though, that when my second child was born, the doctor needed a catcher’s mitt because he popped out so fast. With my second child, most of the time between our arrival at the hospital and his birth was spent suppressing pushing and waiting for the doctor.
If I’d been locked into the road map from the first birth, I’d have messed up the second.
Use any previous experience you have as lessons about being physically and emotionally supportive, Don’t try to apply the specifics.
And good luck! I hope each time you’re a birth partner, things go even better!