What are the 5 Love Languages?
The 5 Love Languages were first introduced by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts.” The idea behind the Love Languages is that we all express and receive love differently, and it’s important to understand your own Love Language and that of your partner to build a strong and loving relationship. The 5 Love Languages include: physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, and gift giving.
It is often the case that people in a relationship may not necessarily be aware of what the other’s love language is. Therefore, it is quite plausible that one doesn’t feel adequately cared for by their partner when in reality the partner might be doing their best to support the person. Therefore, the love languages are a useful communication tool in helping people give and receive support that is meaningful and intentional.
How can the 5 Love Languages create a blueprint for labor support?
When it comes to labor and birth, these five love languages can be used to nurture, uplift, and support the birthing person. The love languages provide an effective framework for partners, support people, and care providers to understand how best to support and comfort a mother. It can help the support team provide the kind of love and support that a mother needs to feel confident, empowered, and fulfilled during this vulnerable time. Once the mother’s preferred love language is known, it can be incorporated into the birth plan and labor toolkit.
The 5 languages provide a handy tool for the mother herself to communicate her support needs accurately to her partner and birth team. Knowing oneself truly and deeply is one of the highest levels of learning in birth preparation. It allows us to move away from old patterns, set ways and beliefs and truly ask and receive what we need in the moment. Using the framework , the laboring mother is able to receive exactly what she needs at one of the most vulnerable times of her life. This is in part due to the time spent in pregnancy with the partner and birth team to explore and discover the love language(s) unique to her. It’s important to note that everyone has different love languages, and what may make one person feel loved may not have the same impact on another.
It is also important to remember that every mother and every birth experience is unique, and a mother may value different love languages at different times during labor and birth. The key is to be attentive, responsive, and open to her needs, and to offer support that is meaningful and appreciated. In this blog post, I share ideas to express love in each of the languages and accompanying verbal statements to support the actions.
1. Love Language: Words of Affirmation
People whose love language is words of affirmation feel loved and seen when they receive words that are positive, encouraging, or uplifting. They may appreciate hearing positive statements about their strength, courage, and ability to cope or give birth. A lovely bonding activity in pregnancy can be to create personal and meaningful affirmations together that can be hung up during labor where the birthing person is able to see them.
Here are some ideas for what to say to a person in labor whose love language is words of affirmations:
- “I am so proud of how you’re handling this!”
- “You are doing an incredible job, and I am so proud of you.”
- “Your strength and courage during this time is truly inspiring.”
- “I believe in you and know that you can do this.”
- “You are a rockstar, and I am so grateful to be here with you.”
- “You are a birth warrior.”
- “Our baby is so lucky to have a mother like you to bring them into the world.”
- “You’re doing great so far!”
- “”I am in awe of your strength and resilience”
- “You can do this – you’re doing so great!”
2. Love Language: Acts of Service
These people love a doer! They feel loved and appreciated through acts of service. A person who values acts of service may appreciate having her partner run errands, take care of logistics of the birth planning, or take care of setting up the birth room to free up her energy and focus on labor. For example, a partner could offer to fetch her water or a snack, offer to adjust her pillows or to bring her a cool washcloth to help her stay comfortable.
Here are some ideas of how to verbally support a person in labor whose love language is acts of service:
- “What can I do to make this experience easier for you?”
- “Do you need anything? I am here to help in any way I can.”
- “Let me take care of that for you. You just focus on bringing your baby into the world.”
- “Let me help you find a comfortable position”
- “I am here to serve you and make this experience as comfortable as possible.”
- “Would you like me to fetch you a drink or adjust your pillows? Just let me know what I can do to help.”
- “Do you need me to do anything to make the room more comfortable?”
- “Can I walk with you to use the toilet?”
- “Can I get you a snack?”
- “Just let me know what I can do to make this process easier for you.”
3. Love Language: Gifts
Receiving gifts makes these people tick!
As a partner, you can notice and take note of anything she has had her eye on for a while. You can pack it in her hospital bag to give later in the labor room or birthing suite as a surprise (or even afterwards would be a lovely gesture). Some ideas for gifts include: photographs, baby keepsakes, or jewelry with a special meaning. The gift doesn’t have to be big but the thought behind it gives a huge love boost of oxytocin to partners who receive love through gifts. Plan ahead and you could even surprise her a time or two.
Other ideas for what a partner could bring to the labor room can include her favorite candies, a cozy blanket, or a special book to read during early labor.
Here are some ideas for how to verbally support a person in labor whose love language is receiving gifts :
- “I brought you something special to show you how much I care.”
- “I hope this gift brings you comfort and happiness during this time.”
- “I wanted to give you something to show my appreciation for all that you are doing.”
- “I brought you a surprise to help take your mind off things and bring a smile to your face.”
- “This is just a small token of my love and appreciation for all that you are going through.”
- “I brought you a special treat to help take your mind off things.”
- “I hope this small gesture brings a smile to your face.”
- “I brought you a comfort item to help make this process a little easier.”
- “I brought you a little something to keep your spirits up.”
- “I hope this cheers you up!”
4. Love Language: Quality Time
These people value focused time and attention and appreciate having their partner or a doula stay by their side during labor, offering emotional and physical support.
For example, a partner could offer to hold her hand, look into her eyes, and remind her to breathe during contractions. Simply having the partner present in the room offers comfort and safety to the person who focuses on quality time even in those times when she is doing the work of labor on her own.
Here are some ideas for verbal support to a person in labor whose love language is quality time:
- “I am here with you, focused on you and your needs.”
- “I am here to support you every step of the way.”
- “We’ll get through this together. I am here to provide comfort and support during this special time.”
- “I am here to listen and be present with you during this experience.”
- “I am here to offer emotional support and help you through this journey.”
- “I’ll be right here in the room with you”
- “I won’t go anywhere as long as you need me.”
- “I’m listening – tell me what’s on your mind.”
- “You are important to me and I want to be here for you.”
- “I’m going to walk every step of the way with you.”
5. Love Language: Physical Touch
This love language is about affectionate physical contact and the comfort it provides. During labor, a mother may appreciate having her hand held, her hair brushed, or her back rubbed. For example, a partner could offer to massage her lower back during contractions to provide relief, or stroke her face gently or simply hold her as she moves through her contractions. Touch is a powerful coping tool in labor.
Here are some ideas for providing verbal support to someone in labor whose love language is physical touch:
- “I’m here to offer a comforting touch and provide a sense of safety during this experience.”
- “Would you like a massage or a hug? I’m here to provide physical comfort in any way you need.”
- “Let’s hold hands and take deep breaths together. I’m here for you every step of the way.”
- “Would you like me to rub your back when you feel a contraction coming?”
- “I’ll be right here, providing a supportive touch during contractions and helping you stay focused.”
- “Just lean into me, and let me hold you. I’m here to provide physical comfort during this special time.”
- “Let me stroke your cheek”
- “Let’s change positions and try some different comfort measures to find what works best for you.”
- “Would you like to slow dance with me to feel more comfortable?”
Labor and birth are profoundly intense experiences in which the birthing person goes through the highest highs and the lowest lows. Understanding the 5 Love Languages of Labor and Birth can help you provide the best possible support to a mother during this special time in her life. By offering the kind of love and care that speaks to her heart and meets her needs, you can help her feel safe, secure, and cherished during childbirth. So, take a moment to reflect on the love languages that matter most to the mother in your life, and use them to offer the kind of love and support that she needs to feel confident and empowered during this transformative time.
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