How Doulas Help, Part 2- Partner's Perspective
Birth doulas offer emotional and physical support for moms-to-be. They do this prenatally as well as during labour, delivery and after baby arrives. Studies have shown that the support of a doula offers amazing benefits to mom and baby, including shorter labours and fewer medical interventions. But what about dads and partners?
Some people have the mistaken impression that hiring a birth doula means replacing dad. But in reality, the role of a doula is actually to support the entire family unit, however that may look.
Just how do doulas do this?
By Building a Relationship
Birth doulas do prenatal client meetings. These meetings are a chance not only for the doula to share what to expect during pregnancy, labour and delivery but also for everyone to get to know one another and build a relationship. Every family is different and everyone wants and needs different information, support and encouragement. Building a relationship with the whole family means that during the birth everyone is comfortable with each other.
These prenatal meetings are meant to help moms and their partners feel confident about what to expect, what could happen, and be a space to discuss any worries or fears. There should be time to practice techniques that can be used for comfort during pregnancy and during labour so that everyone is on the same page once it's "go time". Dads and partners should come away feeling like they have a better understanding of birth and how to provide support while also knowing that a labour support professional has got their back.
By Reducing stress
When labour starts, there's a lot to remember. Doulas are there to provide calm reassurance. They've seen a lot of stuff before. They can remind everyone what to do if you've forgotten and suggest alternatives for pain management and labour positions. And if things get a little crazy, the doula is there is answer your questions and let you know what's going on while the other medical staff are doing what needs to get done. Dads and partners can be assured that the doula is there is make sure they are the best labour and birth supporters they can be; no stress having to worry that they have to remember everything!
In the event that baby needs some extra support, dads and partners are often put into a difficult position deciding if they should stay with mom or go with baby. A doula on your team means no one needs to be alone. Your doula can act as a go between, taking needed items or messages back and forth if necessary.
By Being "Practial"
Doulas are great for practical support to. They can go get ice and water, tidy up the room and go grab the nurse if the buzzer doesn't seem to be working. Dads and partners can also be confident knowing that mom is in good hands if they need to take a bathroom break, go move the car or fill out paperwork.
Doulas usually come with stuff too. Extra hair elastics, gum, pens, massage oil... She just might have what you're missing in her bag and if not, she can either figure it out on the fly or go get it for you which means everyone is happy.
At the end of the day, doulas want the whole family unit to feel supported and birth to be a positive experience for everyone involved. This looks different for every family but the end goal is ultimately the same.
From a Partner's Perspective
For our second pregnancy, we decided to hire a doula. We were having twins and needed help because we had a small support system and we were growing from a family of 3 to 5. We wanted a natural birth but needed a c-section. Having a doula at the birth took off a lot of pressure being a rock for my wife and she gave me confidence in being a father of 3. She would say, "You're doing great!" & "You guys are awesome!". Our doula made an impression on us, she was genuinely excited and joyful at the birth of our girls.
After the birth of our girls, our doula, gave us help according to the time/frequency of our needs. She would help with the babies, give us advice ... and even did dishes! But by far, the biggest help was her presence. Having her with us really reassured us and gave us confidence. I was able to do errands, chores and have personal time. The much needed breaks helped me better come to terms with my new life. It really was a smooth transition for me and a pleasant experience.
I wouldn’t say that I was hesitant to have a doula, not knowing a lot about what a doula does, but it did sort of lead me down a road of "Hmmmm, do we need this?" But my girlfriend was adamant she wanted a doula so who am I to argue with a pregnant woman?
Upon meeting our doula things changed; seeing her knowledge and background and different courses/training that she had done did comfort me. I had thought "I am going to be a super dad and know everything," and the thing was, I didn’t. Our doula was there to help and teach us what we needed to know before baby came and after. I think having this knowledge helped us prepare the right way and go into things with an open mind.
Our doula really helped at the hospital to relieve the stress of not only my girlfriend, but myself as well. There were just these little things here as well as positive reinforcement before birth, during birth and after birth as well.
I look back at my experience and can honestly say we made a great choice having a doula and her presence and knowledge was very helpful during the most important time in both of our lives.
If we were to have another child down the line somewhere there would not be any other way of going through labour, our doula would be there for sure.
Stefanie is a birth and postpartum doula and the founder of Karis Doula. She works hard to support moms and their partners during pregnancy, birth and what comes after. For more information or to speak with Stefanie about your upcoming birth call 514-895-3981 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Karis Doula serves the West Island of Montreal, Vaudreuil, Hudson, Saint-Lazare and surrounding areas.