So your pregnant partner would like to hire a doula for the upcoming birth experience and you’re not so sure. I completely understand. This is quite common. I’ve worked with many couples that have had an unsure birth partner at first. But every birth partner has adamantly stated after the fact that they’re so glad they chose to work with a doula.
Perhaps you’re concerned about a doula taking your place or pushing you aside. Or perhaps you want this to be an intimate experience, just the two of you. Maybe you’re concerned about the financial investment and wonder if it’s really worth it. These are all valid concerns. I’d love to share 7 reasons why you might want to reconsider and support your partner in hiring a doula.
1. Knowledge is Power. Doulas know a lot about pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. Not super interested in these topics? Doulas love to talk about them and will happily discuss them with your partner throughout her pregnancy. Very interested in being involved in all things pregnancy and birth? Doulas can point you in the right direction. We are consistently reading new research and immersing ourselves in new information. It’s likely that you and your partner are somewhat new to these topics and sometimes it’s hard to even know what information to look for in the first place. Doulas are eager to provide references to evidence-based and reliable sources of information so that you can make the best decisions for the health and well-being of your family. Many times, families are surprised by something that happens during labor or birth and somewhat lost about what decision to make in a very intense moment. With doula support, you’ll have learned about many potential occurrences during your prenatal visits so you won’t be surprised and you’ll have somebody with you to support your decision-making should the birth take a surprising turn.
2. Watching your partner as labor takes over can sometimes be scary or unsettling. Many partners have never witnessed their significant other experience something similar to labor. You may see and hear things that are new and potentially unsettling. If you’ve never been with a laboring mother before, it can get intense. It can be hard to try to support somebody through the process of labor if you’re worried that something isn’t right. I have found those moments, when I reassure a partner that this really is normal, to be crucial in terms of helping a birth partner move through fear and stay in close support of a birthing mother. The last thing a mother in labor needs is those around her being afraid. While it’s normal to feel afraid, a doula can help reassure you that all is well.
3. Labor can be long and physically grueling. Especially for first-time moms, labor can last for many, many hours. Having a doula there gives you the opportunity to step out for a few minutes and stretch your legs. Or even to take a quick power nap. If your partner is benefiting from some form of physical support, like massage, counter pressure, or hip squeezes, you will be so glad to have somebody to take turns with.
4. A good doula will perfectly complement the role you envision for yourself. Do you want to be front and center in supporting your partner in labor? Your doula will step back, relieving you if you ask and providing constant verbal encouragement. She will also be fully present to offer ideas if you need or want them. Are you a bit squeamish or unsure about how you’ll react when your partner is in labor? Your doula can confidently stay near your partner, providing consistent support and help you find comfortable ways to be involved in the process as well. I always remind families that I can’t love and support a mother in labor in the way that her partner can. I will never take your place, but will actively work with you to figure out how I can best support you to be the birth partner you want to be.
5. A doula fills a unique role that the rest of your birth team can’t. It’s never really just the two of you in labor. If you’re birthing in a hospital, there will be doctors, midwives, nurses, technicians, and sometimes students. And even if you have a fantastic midwife or OB, and are giving birth at a facility with fantastic nurses, these healthcare professionals often have clients in labor at the same time as your partner. They also often have limited time with you during prenatal appointments due to scheduling demands. Once you hire your doula, you can call her anytime with questions. When your partner is in labor, your doula’s only concern is your family. She won’t need to leave the room to check in with anybody else. She also has no medical responsibility for you so she can focus purely on physical and emotional support, letting the medical experts focus on safety.
6. The postpartum transition can be challenging and overwhelming. Many families are somewhat overwhelmed during their postpartum days. If your partner is experiencing emotional challenges or your family needs some extra breastfeeding support, call your doula! Doulas are very well connected to their local birth community and can point you in the right direction to get the support you need.
7. Your partner wants a doula. This one is pretty simple. Your partner’s body is working hard to grow and nourish a baby. She will work hard to birth a baby. The birth of your child is a truly momentous occasion. In our culture, we tend to spend money on graduations, weddings and other events. It seems appropriate and important to budget some money for your family’s birth experience. A confident and supported birth will be an incredible experience for your partner and you. It will bring you closer together and result in a happier new mama.
And if you’re still unsure, check out the second to last testimonial on my testimonial page written by a father I worked with.
All the best,