You know how sometimes you can forget you forgot something? Well, it recently reoccured to me, not everyone knows that doulas are there for partners too!
A potential client reached out with some questions her husband had for me related to a concern that my presence might take over his role as husband in the birth room.
I was so glad she reached back out to help me clarify a doula's role, which I assured them is never a replacement for a partner's support.As is the doula way, my goal was not to convince them to hire me or any doula, but rather to better inform their decision making process.
These are just a few highlights* from my response to them and how I see a doula's presence as being equally supportive for both the birthing person and their partner as well as the farthest thing from a replacement:
* Most people don’t realize how much support birth takes. Doulas share the burden of physical and emotional support, so partners can feel ok to take a break when birth is long while knowing their partner is still being supported.
* We take the pressure off needing to know and be everything in an experience that is new to both of you.
Doulas are a grounding and reassuring force for both parents in understanding and normalizing things that may make a first timer nervous, such as vomiting and shaking during active labor (all normal reactions to birth hormones but can feel scary nonetheless).
* We are a sound board and resource for using your B.R.A.I.N. (Aka assessing Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition, or waiting/doingNothing) and help both partners understand their choices, from when to go to the hospital to deciding if and/or when to engage with any interventions.
* While I also always recommend childbirth education, no birth class can cover everything you will encounter. Doulas help you prenatally to get clear on your personal preferences and then help you adjust when different options present themselves along the way in real time as birth unfolds.
* Our training and experience helps partners feel more confident in the support they have to give and guides them in being great at offering support. There are many comfort measures that benefit from having more than one person. The image above is a perfect example. The partner/doula sandwich is an amazing place to be in labor when available.
* I’ve never known someone to regret having a doula.
In light of this awareness that doulas don't replace partners, who wants to join me for my next Comforting Touch for Birth Partners Class at the Prenatal Yoga Center? If you or someone you know is pregnant and looking for a way to prepare as a couple for birth, to be the best hands-on support you can be, this is the class! In NYC in person and anytime anywhere on-demand. Learn more and sign up here.