A Doula’s Role from a Husband’s Perspective

One question I am usually asked by a couple is: “Will having a doula benefit my husband/partner? Is there a need for a doula since I will have my husband there to support me?” It can be hard for me to articulately answer this question, as I have never been in that role before. I often talk about how a doula is not emotionally attached (it’s hard to see a loved one in pain!) and that a doula is more knowledgeable about the labor process, hospital protocols, etc.

I recently had the honor of attendingĀ  a client’s birth. Her husband wrote a review and with permission I am posting it here:

To the new parents,

This is a new dad’s perspective so let me first start out by confessing my ignorance. When my wife, Lydia, asked my opinion on getting a doula, I simply did not have one because I did not know what a doula was. For all I knew, a doula could have been some kind of birthing chair. Lydia had explained to me that her friend who recently had a baby used a doula and both her friend and her friend’s husband highly recommended getting one for our labor. Lydia made it really easy for me and said, “They help me get through laboring.” I agreed that a doula may be a good idea after the high recommendations so Lydia found doulas online and we scheduled meetings with a couple of them.

The first doula we met was Stacie. My wife and I may have initially scared Stacie because we immediately pull out 2 full pages of questions and a 6 page birth plan. We had not even made an agreement for her to be our doula but she took the time to help us establish our birth plan. She answered every question and scenario we threw her way with professionalism and honesty. It had appeared that Stacie and Lydia were on the same page with everything. Having a natural birth was very important to Lydia and Stacie had three natural births of her own, so she knew exactly where Lydia was coming from. Stacie also had experience being a doula where things have changed and the birth plan went out the window. That was important to us because my wife was very set on going natural but did not have a gauge on her pain tolerance because her worst injury in her life was a sprained ankle. Lydia knew Stacie would be able to comfort her with whatever played out during labor. After our interview, we felt really good about Stacie but we also wanted to interview other doulas so we have something to compare her to.

We obviously picked Stacie to be our doula. Not to put down anyone else we have seen but we felt Stacie was very authentic. She wasn’t going to judge us in whatever decision we made. You could see the passion she had to create a positive birthing experience for mothers. She was calming, something that two new parents needed in the room. She was in-tune; she wanted updates after every appointment because she truly does care! Stacie made things easy for us.

Now we get to the fun stuff! My wife started laboring at 1:00 AM. I was at work and had called her on my first break around 2:00 AM. She told me that she was pretty sure she was in labor and she had already been in contact with Stacie. I left work for home and Stacie showed up not too long after. She immediately began helping Lydia which was helpful because I did not know how to cope. I was watching my wife in pain and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it. (Here’s the thing about men: When we don’t know what to do, we just keep ourselves busy. I started cleaning the house, taking out the trash, loading our bags, etc). Stacie stayed with Lydia and was the calming presence, helping my wife through each contraction. If it were up to me, we would have left for the hospital right away but Stacie’s knowledge and experience told us to wait and labor more at the house. She had suggested a warm bath and Lydia really took to that. After about 4 hours of laboring at home, Stacie told us it was time to leave. We got to the hospital and my wife was 7.5 centimeters and we were thrilled because that meant we would not have to labor very long in the hospital.

Lydia labored for 5 hours at the hospital and Stacie was by her side EVERY SECOND. She kept my wife as calm as possible. Suggested different things to help during labor. Kept reassuring my wife that her body was capable of doing this. My wife asked for an epidural on two different occasions but Stacie helped her stay with her birth plan (plus, Lydia did not say OKLAHOMA three times which was our code that meant she really needed pain medication). After everything was said and done, Stacie helped my wife give birth to a 9 lb 14 oz baby girl. The only pain medication my wife had was a Motrin about 45 minutes after the delivery. We stuck to our plan and Stacie was a huge factor in helping us attain that.

Stacie took the guess-work out for me. She was the one with an answer when I was wavering. She had the experience that I had lacked. I am so thankful we got the recommendation and I found out that a doula was not a birthing chair. Plus, do you think I would go on this long if I Didn’t think she was worth it?

If and when the time comes, there is no doubt in my mind that we would use Stacie as our doula for our next child.

Joel Miller

 

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