Doulas support partners too!! Birth is also a transition time for partners and can be associated with overwhelming feelings. Unfortunately partners are often a bit forgotten in the big birth scenario and expected to be there, cool and grounded, supporting their woman. Some partners find this easy and are more than happy to be right in there and feel very connected to the whole situation. Others find it very challenging and feel anxious in the medical setting and unsure of what to do.
A doula also supports the dad and works together with him, enabling him to take on exactly the role he wishes to have during the birth of his child. As a doula I am happy to support and work with partners in whatever role they would like to have. Often having a doula present means that partners can let go of some of the responsibility they tend to take on and this gives them freedom to just be, which is generally what birth is all about.
Some of the things a doula can really help a partner with during birth is information, a gentle nod that ‘this is normal’, and yes, she says she can’t cope, but she can. It can be support in communication with staff and explanations of what is happening. I model emotional and physical support and encourage and reassure partners during the whole process.A doula also supports the dad and works together with him, enabling him to take on exactly the role he wishes to have during the birth of his child.
For a partner having a doula can mean someone to share the work with. It means he can comfortably leave the room for a break or some space and know his woman is still being looked after. It means someone to take turns with during a long and tiring birth as well. It can also mean support in coping with seeing the woman you love in pain without being able to make it go away or in general about how the birth unfolds.
Some partners are reluctant to “share” the birth with an outsider, and worry they will be made redundant in the birthing room if there is someone else there in a supporting role. But talking to couples after the baby is born, the actual experience of having extra support is usually expressed as a blessing, and a part of their positive view of their birth.
Another issue couples sometime struggle with is whether a doula will take away the intimacy of the experience. But if you are birthing in a hospital there will be a number of people involved in your birth. A doula can help you limit the people who enter your room. The great thing about having a doula is that she is available when you need her and will be one with the wallpaper when you need intimacy and time to yourselves.