Many moms who are researching and looking into hiring a doula have the question "Will a doula replace my partner?" The short answer, absolutely not!
Your partner is the person you have chosen to share this incredible milestone with. It is a huge deal to bring a tiny human into the world and those that are present are there to honor and support the mother and they are chosen carefully.
A doula knows that this is a time of powerful bonding between mom, dad, and baby. Your doula wants to support your family unit with the intention of helping you create amazing memories of this time. I like to say that mom knows her body, dad/partner knows his wife, and doula knows birth, which makes for an excellent team.
Here are 8 ways in which a doula will support both you and your partner.
1.) A good doula will support you no matter what your birth choices. Your parents, your friends, the crazy nosy lady in line at the grocery store all have their opinions on what is best for you and sure, they might really care about you but they may over step boundries and not respect you and your decisions.
A doula will support and help you no matter what you choose and with zero judgement and tons of compassion. Doulas can't garauntee that you will have the birth you want but she will help you to understand what your choices will be and also to help you stay calm when decisions do come up that need to be made. The goal is a birth where mom feels empowered, loved, and supported.
2.) She will feed you and your partner so your partner will be able to give you their undivided attention. And when your partner needs to pee or nap, your doula will seemlessly take their place and support you.
3.) She will shoo people out of the room for you if you want them gone and turn the lights down if you want it dark and quiet. Hormonally, having a dark quiet room is what we instinctually want as mamals. It will help keep the hormones flowing that encourage birth to happen. When the loud family member or the loud nurse comes in, your doula can gently but assertively make the room a safe feeling place for mom.
4.) She will set the tone for the room based on what mom wants. When other people in the room hear your doula telling you in a quiet and calm voice how amazing you are doing the other people in the room will follow her cues especially if they see mom responding positively to the doula. If mom wants to have music and dance her baby out then your doula will get up and dance with you and tell you how amazing you are. If mom is dancing with her partner, your doula will have a cool cloth ready, provide hip squeezes during a contraction, and a sip of water for both mom and her partner.
Sometimes people don't know what the mom wants and they don't know what to suggest to try if mom doesn't know what she wants either. Your doula can give suggestions of things to try and her positivity and encouragement will make everyone in the room feel more at ease and calm.
5.) She will help you with breastfeeding and learning how to care for your new baby. Most doulas have some kind of training in helping mom to latch her baby for the first time. Some doulas have more experience than others. I am working on becoming a Breastfeeding USA Counselor and I am constantly learning more and more about breastfeeding. I have also breastfed my own four sons.
Birth is the end of pregnancy but it is the beginning of a huge adventure in nurturing this new tiny human. It can be tricky and unpredictable in the beginning but that support and confidence that a doula has in your ability to care for your baby goes a long way.
6.) A doula knows birth and she can interpret what the nurses and doctors are saying and give you suggestions and ideas as to what questions to ask your care provider to better understand the situation.
You always have the right to say No to anything suggested. You also have the right to ask more questions and take time to think over the medical providers suggestions. But what if you don't know what in the world the doctors or nurses are talking about? That's when your doula can break things down and help you formulate questions to ask your care provider so you actually have informed consent when you agree to or refuse an intervention. This helps both mom and dad feel more empowered.
7.) Your doula will be the other side of a hip squeeze or rub your back while your partner reminds you to breathe and what an amazing job you are doing. Four hands are better than two. Is mom tired and needing help getting out of the tub? Is mom tired and needing help getting into a squatting position to push? It's easier to have dad and doula helping. Mom will probably want comfort and reassurance from her partner but wouldn't it be wonderful to get a foot or back rub while moms loved one is whispering encouragement to her at the same time! Your doula will have ideas for position changes and pain management that your partner can help you do.
8.) A doula will remind both mom and dad what normal is and that they are both doing an awesome job. Mom's partner is invested in this baby too. But mom's partner may be scared about what is going on. Maybe they have never seen birth before. Maybe they didn't take a childbirth class to prepare them. It's hard to watch someone we love struggle and work hard and sometimes be affraid. With a doula smiling and telling you not to worry and to take those deep breathes you will both feel more at ease.
There are some circumstances where partners are not available to be at the birth. I live in Kitsap County in Washington and we have a large Naval military population and often times dads are out to sea and can't be there. That's where a doula stands in for mom's partner.
A great place to start looking for a doula in Kitsap County is go to
Peninsula Birth Network.
Love and light coming your way from me to you as you plan and dream about birthing and meeting your new baby!!