You may already know that birth doulas are trained to provide physical, emotional and spiritual support to you when you’re in labor. Sounds fantastic, right? What could be better than that? Well, what if I told you that in addition to providing that service to you, she’ll also be providing it to your partner? Yes, it’s true! Doulas are a package deal, a 2-for-1, so to speak. Let me explain.
We all know that as “the vessel” who will be bringing new life into the world, the mother-to-be will be priority one, the numero uno in the room for receiving support, and rightly so. You and your baby will be getting LOTS of TLC from the doula you hire, everything from verbal encouragement, massage, aromatherapy, guided visualization, hair brushing, the sky’s the limit. Whatever you need in the moment, she’ll be there to give you (for the purposes of this blog we’ll assume she’s female since most doulas are and that she identifies as she/her) [not sure if this is necessary].. But there’s another very important person in the room that needs some attention, too. It’s your partner. They have (hopefully) been on this journey with you every step of the way and on the day your surges start they will be right by your side. But how can you be sure they will know what to do?
A doula plays an invaluable role in ensuring your partner feels prepared and confident to support you when the big day rolls around. How? Because the three of you will have met 2 or 3 times in advance and discussed all the pertinent things your partner needs to know in advance, for example, the different ways labor may start and progress, what things to say and not to say to you, how to anticipate your needs, just to name a few. And very importantly, your doula will teach your partner various techniques to give you physical comfort, so they are empowered to help you themselves, and not relying solely on the doula for this (if you are worried your doula will replace your partner, read this blog).
And if for whatever reason when you’re all in the birthing room together all these lessons go out the window and your partner freezes, not to worry, your doula will have their back. If the doula senses your partner hanging back because they lack confidence, she will encourage them to engage with you. If she observes they’re exhausted and no longer able to give you the support you need she will encourage them to take a nap and not to worry, she’s got you. If they haven’t eaten for hours, she will remind them to go grab something to eat. Her goal is to make sure your partner is as well-fed and well-rested as possible once baby comes so they can support both you and baby once she’s born and you’re ready to rest.
It’s common for partners to feel out of their depth when it comes to birth. They know they love you and the baby more than anyone else, but may feel uncertain how to best support you during this life-changing experience. A doula recognizes when partners need some gentle guidance and are experts at supporting them through these unchartered waters. With education, connection, joy and lots of support, doulas can enhance the childbirth experience for both you and your partner.