One common question people have is what does the role of the partner look like if there is a doula present? Many partners may feel inadequate or that the doula replaces them.
The truth is that I’m there to support both members of the birth! Obviously the woman gets more attention, but partners are absolutely a significant part of the equation. It’s their birth too and they should be able to enjoy the birth of their child.
How doulas help partners
- Expecting a partner to know absolutely everything about what normal birth looks like is a lot to expect of anyone, much less a couple having a baby for the first time! Doulas can reassure partners that what’s going on is normal, even though it may look like something scary happening to the woman they love.
- Doulas provide an extra set of hands and can run errands (like grabbing juice, etc.) so that the partner can be there for mom. We are your birth slaves!
- Doulas can be helpful in teaching relaxation and massage techniques to the partner so they can be involved.
- Doulas can take off the pressure to perform so the partner can relax and enjoy the birth of their baby.
- Doulas can reassure the partner that they’re doing a great job.
- Doulas can help by staying objective. Partners are emotionally invested and it can be terrifying to see the woman they love go through such an intense experience. It’s nearly impossible to remain objective, and rightly so!
- Sometimes labor can be quite long and exhausting, and not only for the woman in labor! Women need constant support, reassurance, and physical presence in order to feel safe and keep from going into the fear-tension-pain cycle. Having a doula there can give the partner a break so they can step out for a minute to use the bathroom, grab some coffee, or get a bite to eat without the woman feeling abandoned. It’s important that all parties take care of themselves!
- Doulas bring experience to the table. Most first-time dads in the delivery room have never seen a woman giving birth. While it is vital for a woman to hear “I love you, you’re doing great!” from her partner, it also means a lot when an experienced childbirth professional says “that’s exactly what you need to do, you’re doing it!” Both messages are key to a woman in labor.
- Having a doula can be important in aiding communication between the couple. Laboring women aren’t always known for their tact when in labor. If something that was working before isn’t anymore, a doula can say something like “maybe she would like it better if we start applying pressure to her lower back.”
Hear from a Dad
“I now believe every mother-to-be should have a doula throughout labor, especially a doula like Amy. Amy brought us invaluable insight and research which allowed us to plan for the type of natural birth that we wanted. But it was Amy’s immeasurable experience and support during my wife’s lengthy 30 hour labor that proved her worth several times over. Regardless of the number of classes you take or books you read, first-time fathers still need the guidance of someone who has been there before. Not only did Amy give my wife the specific encouragement and instruction she needed, but she helped me be a more effective labor partner. I was amazed that Amy stayed by our side each and every hour through the night and next day, always keeping a positive attitude. Amy brings the perfect attitude and knowledge to being a doula, and we still wonder if we could have done it without her.”
– Mark S.
“Having a doula was beneficial for both of us. For me, it was someone I could turn to for advice. Since I have an inherent mistrust and some fear of hospitals, the doulas simple explanation of things helped ease my worries. We had an unexpected and early labor with complications. Things were moving intensely fast. When the doctors told us that we needed to induce to save the baby from a condition I had never heard of, I immediately called the doula. She gave me a down-to-earth explanation and helped reassure me that we needed to take this course.
She provided incredible mental and physical support throughout the process. She made the atmosphere relaxing and pleasant. She gave my wife a massage. She gave me a break when I needed one. She took pictures when neither of us could. We felt comfortable with her because we had interviewed her, we chose her, and we met with her prior to birth. She mentioned things that we would have not thought of, or would have forgotten about, to help make the event special.
She acted as an liaison with the nurses, so we were interrupted less often. She controlled the atmosphere so that we could enjoy our moment, even as things were intense. Because of our prenatal consultations, she knew the type of birth that we wished for. She remembered those things, and made sure that as many as were possible, came true. She provided us with support materials before and after the birth.
I am definitely happy with our choice to have a doula, and would have another if the situation arises.”
– Steve M.
As a first time dad, having the support of someone with as much knowledge as Amy made the birthing experience much less stressful. Her presence during labor was comforting not only for my wife, but for me as well.
– Eric G.