Doulas Are For Partners Too!
When you think of a doula, you often think of a woman massaging, reassuring and encouraging another woman in labor.
That is an accurate depiction, although a very small element of all the things we do do! But where does that leave your partner in the whole birth experience? Sitting in the corner/waiting room, just waiting for the baby’s arrival? Well, what most people don’t realize is that we also provide support to your partner! No, we aren’t massaging them (ha! Awkward…), but there are definitely aspects in which we support them sometimes as much as we are supporting you.
But how? I mean, it’s not like they are the ones giving birth! You’re right, but this is a life event that only happens a couple of times in the average American family and is an experience that most partners have no context for! The emotions that are coming up are usually frustration due to not being able to “fix things”, fear because they aren’t used to seeing you in this level of discomfort, discomfort themselves because they don’t spend a lot of time in a hospital environment, helplessness because they want to be an active player but don’t have the tools and knowledge to do that or guilt because they didn’t readallthebooks like you did!
Enter: The doula.
Let’s just list a few ways that I, as your doula, also support your partner, and therefore, make your birth experience as a family unit more fulfilling, memorable and yes, enjoyable!
Your partner will have the freedom to grab food, step out to take a break, take a nap, use the restroom without feeling guilty.
I will explain your options as they come up and your partner will be able to weigh in and be a active participant to each decision.
I will spend time with you while you are pregnant to give you and your partner tools to prepare you for any situation that comes up.
We will discuss not only your concerns, fears and wishes, but also your partner’s.
When it comes to comfort measures, I will show them what is working for you and get them as involved as they want to be.
I will give them things to do to contribute throughout the entire experience.
For the squeamish partners, they won’t feel obligated to do things they are not comfortable with (For example: If they are not ok with being present during cervical exams, they can step out and you’ll still be supported).
There are so many other instances that I could list where I was supporting the partner, but each person’s and family’s needs vary! What one couple needs, another may not. Regardless, I am here for both of you!
Tough love: Your doula should never push aside or replace your partner and make them feel useless in that space! Your partner knows you better than anyone else in the room - a doula worth their salt will recognize and honor that. As doulas, we know birth; But your partner knows you. A step further: Oxytocin is the fuel to birth - your doula doesn’t give you a rush of oxytocin (the “love hormone”). But your partner does!