Recently I asked dads what they thought about their birthing experiences with and without a doula and how each experience compared. From what they wrote their experiences were like night and day. Below is what one of the dads responded with.
When my lovely wife told me she wanted to hire a doula for the birth of our son, my first thought was, “If you have a doula, where do I fit in?” At the time, I barely knew what a doula was, and my misconceptions lead me to believe that the doula was there to replace me as the primary support person during childbirth. My wife assured me that this wasn’t the case and that I’d still have an active and involved role in the birth. But I was unsure about what the doula would and wouldn’t do. Would she take charge? Would she push me aside? Was hiring a doula even worth it? I was very unsure about involving someone we didn’t know in such a personal family moment.
As the expected delivery date got closer, my wife and I talked more and more about her birth plan, what she wanted me to do, and how the doula would work with both of us. We met with the doula for the prenatal interview, and it allowed me to be more comfortable with the whole situation as well as give us all a chance to ask questions of each other. One thing that I didn’t realize was that although the doula would be taking a large role in the process, both she and my wife still wanted me to be the primary person for support. I could focus all my attention on my wife and her needs while the doula could fill in and support us both. If I needed a bathroom or meal break during a long labor, I could do so comfortably knowing that my wife wasn’t alone if I had to step out for a few minutes.
The day finally came, and we were off to the hospital. My wife had been in frequent contact with our doula and she showed up at just the right time. We got to the birthing room and got comfortable. Our doula arrived right on time, with plenty of time to be there to help while not too early to be sitting around waiting for something to happen. As labor progressed, our doula was amazing. She helped my wife with position and suggestions for how to stay comfortable. She came prepared with a camera to document the birth so we could focus on the moment and each other. She helped us communicate with the nurses and doctors while keeping us both calm and focused.
My wife wanted to have a natural birth without an epidural or heavy pain medications. After a bad experience with the epidural during a previous child’s birth, she felt strongly she wanted to skip the epidural and drugs this time around. When she hit the transition between labor and active delivery, she begged for the drugs. She cried and pleaded with the nurses to give her the epidural. For a moment, she felt she wouldn’t be able to deliver naturally because of the intense level of pain. I was unsure about what to do. I knew she wanted us to support her natural birth, but was she really in need of the epidural? The doula stepped in and comforted us both. Along with the delivery nurse, she knew it was too late to setup the epidural before the baby would arrive. She reassured us both that it was ok, and that every woman feels the same way when active labor begins. This gave me the go-ahead to begin telling my wife that I knew she could do it, that I knew she could handle the pain and deliver the baby safely. Both the doula and I stepped up our coaching and encouragement to support the natural birth plan.
In what felt like a short time later, our son and newest family member had arrived. Our doula went immediately into full time photographer mode. She was snapping pictures quickly of the baby, his first skin-to-skin contact with mother, his first measurements, his first swaddling. This allowed us to enjoy the moment without worrying about missing anything important.
So if you’re considering a doula but you’re not sure, I would highly recommend it. Forget the cost, forget your ego, the doula is there to help you and your wife have a good birth experience. A doula can help you in ways you’ve never even considered.
Another partner told us that his first response was “you’re hiring a doula? What am I supposed to do?” He felt like having a doula there would limit his involvement and his birthing partner wouldn’t need him. He also wrote “I realized that the doula wasn’t just there to support my partner but to guide and support me in supporting her.”
Having a doula doesn’t mean that your partner will be left out, it means that they will have the unconditional support, encouragement, and guidance that you have as well. Hope you enjoyed this blog and make sure you check back for more.