So, you’ve been considering hiring a birth doula because you’ve heard how supportive and helpful they can be when you’re in labor, but what about your partner? Aren’t they the one who’s supposed to support you through labor? Are they going to feel like you don’t trust their capabilities if you want a doula at the birth, too? Will they feel like you’re trying to replace them?
You’re not alone. Many mothers-to-be are apprehensive about inviting a professional support person (doula) into the birthing room, not because they think they won’t need one, but because they hate the idea of hurting their partner’s feelings by implying they may not be up to the task on their own. But before you talk yourself out of a doula altogether, let’s dispel this common myth.
So, is it true? Does a doula replace your partner?
How could a doula, or anyone else for that matter, be able to replace the deep connection you have with your partner? They are the one person on earth who knows you the best, the person you’ve been sharing the journey of pregnancy and parenthood with, the co-parent of your baby. Why would you want to replace your partner at the time you’ll be counting on them the most? The answer (generally) is you wouldn’t.
But let’s face it, the intricacies of childbirth, not to mention watching the person they love the most in the world (who, incidentally, is carrying their child) endure pain; well, these things aren’t often in your partner’s wheelhouse. They know they want to play an important role in the birth of their child, but may be unsure what that role will look like once labor starts. It’s a tall order for them to pull off by themselves. Imagine how they might feel when the door to the Labor and Delivery room closes behind the nurse for the first time and there they are, alone in the room with you, trying to figure out how best to take care of you. You may have taken childbirth classes together, read some books, watched some childbirth videos even, but it’s different when it’s their person (YOU!) going through it. It carries an emotional weight it’s hard to prepare for and can feel overwhelming.
Enter the doula (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]. She will not replace your partner (nor does she want to) but wow, how reassuring would it be for both you and your partner to have her by your side throughout your birth experience? She knows all things birth, and her sole job is to support both you and your partner, from the moment you call her until usually an hour or two after your baby is born (yes, I said your partner, too – for more on this, read this blog). Especially if it’s your first child, her knowledge and expertise will help explain the process every step of the way and keep the energy in the room calm and relaxed. Sometimes all it takes is for your partner to whisper discreetly to the doula, “Is what just happened normal?” and receive a nod and a smile back in response. With this simple exchange they will be able to release their fear in the moment, allowing them to refocus on supporting you and be present in the moment.
Deciding on a doula to help you and your partner is a decision you won’t regret. Far from replacing your partner, a doula will help guide them to be the most supportive, confident and connected partner they can be.