Hi moms and mamas-to-be! Chances are you’re reading this because you’re already a believer in the benefits of having a doula at your birth. Is your partner on board? While most dads and partners I’ve worked with have been open to my presence at the births of their babies, every now and then I encounter a skeptic. These are the top five things I tell partners in hopes that we can all work together.
1. A doula reassures you that what you're seeing and hearing is normal and great! Crying, shaking, getting cold then hot... it's all part of the process and you might not know that if you've never been at a birth before. A doula helps a partner remain calm which boosts a laboring mama's confidence big time.
2. Labor can be physically demanding and, when it's longer than anticipated, fatigue can wear down even the strongest of mamas and partners. A doula gives you a break from applying that counter pressure to the low back, provides ideas for comfortable positions to try, and helps you both find moments to rest when you need it.
3. Sometimes a doula's biggest job is to run out for coffee or offer a hair tie. If your baby is born at a hospital, chances are you don't know where the warm blankets are or who to ask for cranberry juice. A doula makes a hospital room feel more comfortable by taking care of the little details for you.
4. A doula offers gentle reminders about the birth plan you and mama worked so hard on! You both know what you want and don't want, but it can be difficult to remember or assert those wishes in the moment. A doula is a respectful advocate who helps you communicate with the rest of your labor and delivery team.
5. You want to be in the pictures too, not just taking them. Even if it takes several days to get through labor and delivery, for most parents, the whole thing tends to be a blur. A doula helps preserve the memory of your baby's birth, in pictures, writing, or by processing the experience with you both afterward.
Ultimately, partners, it’s the mother of your child who has to do the heavy lifting during birth. If she wants a doula by her side, that’s her decision. Go with it.