In the old days, fathers paced in waiting rooms, eager to hear childbirth news. Now fathers and partners can and do take an active role in childbirth, often attending childbirth classes and being present during labor. I am so grateful that my husband was with me when I gave birth. It wasn’t just his comforting touch, or the fact that he knew me better than anyone else in the room. That day was a spiritual journey for us. We started the day as husband and wife and we finished it as parents. I needed my husband there for that transformation.
A doula does not replace a partner’s presence in childbirth. Nothing can replace the comfort and reassurance of a closely connected loved one. A doula’s role is different. Often times, doulas enable partners to participate more fully at the birth by guiding them, helping them to understand normal behaviors during labor and reassuring them in the comfort measures they are providing for the mother. The doula offers an objective perspective with knowledge of several options.
I think many partners have it tough these days. In the best of circumstances, they take a few classes, maybe(?) read some books, checkout some websites and talk to friends. Their training schedule lasts a few weeks and then “poof” we ask them to play in the Superbowl of birth! A doula can help a loved-one experience this special time with confidence.
It seems to me that dads and other partners want to participate in one of three ways: head coach; team player; witness. As a doula I can support your partner in any of those roles.
With your partner and a doula at the birth, you can have the best of both worlds: your partner’s loving care and attention and your doula’s expertise and guidance.