(This includes: Husbands, Wives, S/Os, Parents, Siblings who plan on being a support person to beautiful birthing person…..)
This one’s for you.
Ever wondered why a doula might be a benefit to YOU?
In the past, it has been my experience that the idea of hiring a doula has left partners feeling a number of ways:
- Yes! Someone to take the stress off of me when you are in labor!
- A doula is someone for you and not a support person for me, too.
- A doula is going to replace me and you won’t want me with you. I will be left out. Are you saying I am not doing a good enough job/didn’t do a good job last time?
- What’s the point? Birth never goes to plan and we will have just wasted our money.
- I have already gone through childbirth and I know what it’s like. I didn’t need a doula. (A very common feeling for mothers or siblings of the birthing person.)
As a partner, you might be experiencing any one of these feelings and let me tell you, THEY ARE ALL VALID. Pregnancy and Birth are exciting times for your family and that is something that doesn’t just affect the person giving birth. It affects everyone involved.
Having these feelings and thoughts is one of the big reasons why doulas can be so beneficial to you and your partner:
You are emotionally invested in this birth, the birthing person, and it’s outcome: THE BABY.
This is your birth, too. All of the nerves, prayers, reading, and wishes are a part of a deep connection to your family and partner. When your partner is in labor you should be able to let go and have all of those feelings: be present, connected, and ready to support your partner as well as welcome new life into the world. I call this stepping out of your thinking brain and stepping into your instinct brain. This is an act that both the support people and the birthing person reach during labor to allow the body to do the physiologic task of bringing forth life.
But man, it is hard to do sometimes as a partner. You may feel responsible for a number of things during labor. If you have previously attended a birth, you may have also felt unprepared or, as many partners have said to me, like all the information went out the window once labor started and when baby was born.
I know it may be weird for me to say, but that is a GOOD thing! During Labor, Birth, and the Postpartum Period we talk a lot about the hormones that are being produced by the laboring person to help birth continue, stimulate lactation, and be a more connected mother. Partners actually experience similar hormones! They produce that feel-good hormone, Oxytocin, as well as Prolactin, a hormone that triggers that parental response to pick up your child when they cry. It’s your Spidey Sense, if you will.
Just as a mother does her best hormonal work in labor by being left alone to react instinctively, a partner does the same. They react in a way that allows them to be the most responsive to their partners and babies, making them a better parent and partner in the moment and in the long run. When your brain gets caught up in all of the things you have to remember or say or do, you may lose that responsiveness to your partner, and many partners feel they don’t connect as much to their babies, partners, or the birth itself.
What if I told you a doula could help YOU as a partner be your best as the primary support person for your laboring love?
Here are the top ways a doula can help you as a partner during pregnancy, labor, childbirth, and beyond:
A Sounding Board
Pregnancy is an emotional time for everyone. As a partner you might be faced with a difficult time hearing out your partner. You might even feel frustration over trying to get your partner to understand where you are coming from. A doula is great support to talk to that can help to diffuse tension and foster communication between partners for the best understanding.
A Walking, Talking, Birth Encyclopedia
Have a question? Send me a text. Want some more info on a comfort measure or book that may be best for you? Let me know at our meetings. In the labor room and blanking on your birth plan? I got you. You can allow yourself to be fully present for your partner and I can handle the mental labor. In pregnancy and beyond.
Physical Support for You and a Member of the Tag Team
Labor is long and exhaustive process, especially for the birthing person, but definitely for you, too. Not to mention that once baby is born, your job doesn’t end. Having another person to trade with you on the physical support can be such a relief for you and your partner. Doulas offer continuous labor support, so if you need a break to get some water or take a rest, I got you. If you are holding your partner close, I can do those hip squeezes. I also make sure that you are resting, hydrating, and eating. Doulas meet the partner’s needs as well as the laboring person.
Fostering That Partner Connection
The number one thing I hear from clients is that they want to feel close to their partners in labor. A person giving birth wants to feel confident, empowered, heard, and cared for. Especially by their partners. That connection starts during pregnancy. As a doula I guide you through communication exercises, verbal and physical, and help you to create a daily bonding activity that you can carry with you through labor to make it a more enjoyable and memorable experience for you and your partner.
A Doula is an Unbiased Support Person
I cannot stress this enough. As a doula, I am in support of YOU: my clients. My wishes, personal opinions, and choices do not and should not, in any way, affect how I provide support for you and your partner. Your birth is yours to choose and make decisions on, and I uphold that autonomy in the highest degree. So if you have a preference or wish, you can feel comfortable to talk openly about it and I can help you formulate a game plan, offer resources, and figure out what might work best for you on your birthing day.
FOR MOTHERS OR SISTERS WHO ARE ACTING AS A SUPPORT PERSON
For Mothers, Sisters, Siblings of the laboring person it can be a great blessing and gift to be supporting them through their pregnancy and childbirth journey. With all of the natural knowledge gained from your previous birth experience and your strong connection to the laboring person, it can be hard to separate your own feelings and experiences of birth from the person you are supporting. I get it! I myself sometimes have to check in with myself when talking to pregnant friends or family members just to question if what I am saying is coming from a place of love and support or from my own bias.
It may be a difficult thing to understand if you have no experiences with doulas and your daughter/sister/family member has hired one or is contemplating bringing a doula onto their support team. You may feel left out or that your specific support or expertise is not needed or respected.
I promise you, in my heart of hearts, that is not the case.
The wisdom and care given from one family member to another, specifically from a mother to child on their own birthing journey is SO POWERFUL and so meaningful in the birthing process. You are a gift to the birthing process.
I want to share a personal anecdote from my birth journey:
When I was pregnant and planning my birth journey I planned for my husband, my doula, and my mother to be my support people. I had (and have) so much respect for my mother and her birth wisdom. She had birthed 7 children vaginally, unmedicated, and most of them at home. The energy of that connection was exactly what I wanted to bring into my home birth space. I wanted to be surrounded by powerful women who had birthed before me. I wanted to feel that connection and know it could be done, it had been done, it would happen for me. My husband was there for that connection a lover and partner could bring. He knew the most intimate details about me. He and I were in a relationship of conscious and active trust. But my mother was the person who shaped that being into fruition.
When I discussed my birth team arrangements with my mother, I felt almost guilty for suggesting a doula to her. It was such a natural emotion that I expressed to her that I didn’t want her to feel like she couldn’t support me fully. She was so understanding and beautifully said,
“When I was in labor with all of you there was a point where I absolutely, without a doubt needed my mom to be there with me. And there was also a point where I absolutely did not want her there at all. I understand needing different support people and that there will be a time and place for me to be there for you.”
Those words are something I wish for every laboring person to hear from the ancestral birthers in their lives: “You are respected, Your needs are heard, and I am here for YOUR birth, not for mine.” You are given such a great gift and privilege to support your loved one in this journey, they are allowing you into their space because they respect and trust you to uphold their wishes above all else.
Having a doula helps to foster that family connection, not interrupt it. I am here to make sure that your loved one has the most positive birth experience for THEM. So that when they look back on their births, as I hope you have, they feel confident, respected, and have a joy to look back on:
A joy of being surrounded by the people they love and who love them, while they bring the next generation of love into the world.