Through every stage of pregnancy and birth and beyond, a woman has no bigger asset than her partner
Dads and Partners
The supportive presence of a dad or partner is vitally important to a woman in labor. It’s a defining moment for both parents and it is so helpful to have expert guidance and advice to get through it. Sometimes partners wonder why a doula might be needed when giving birth in a hospital setting where nurses are caring for the mother-to-be.
Nurses are fantastic! Some of my favorite people are labor and delivery nurses. They are kind and caring and want the best for everyone. But, they are bound by rules and protocols, and a 12-hour shift. They need to do other work besides monitoring the mom and baby, and generally, that doesn’t include continuous labor support, though each and every contraction.
Women need their partners to be present for labor and birth. They need the loving support that only they can give.
At some point during the latter part of the pregnancy Dads see their role as the major source of support, encouragement, advice, and knowledge and ultimately feel overwhelmed in an area they have little or no experience. What father or partner has attended an animal birth, let alone a human birth? The process of labor and birth can be intimidating for them also.
Some partners are comfortable being physically close and intimately helpful. Others want to help but aren’t really sure what is appropriate or beneficial.
Some just need a little encouragement and are thrilled to learn that what they are doing is great!
Sometimes the dads are in need of a break from the intensity of labor, and having time to regroup knowing that mom is cared for is a welcome respite.
As the third person in the room during labor, my goal is to have dads and partners give and get the birth they want also.
This is where a doula can provide help for both. It’s a delicate balance between taking care of the couple and taking over.
I want everyone attending in the labor room to feel that they have a purpose and are needed.
I assign tasks and roles so that dads and partners are participating at a level with which they are comfortable. And sometimes during labor things change and it’s important to be able to adapt to the ebb and flow of labor.
Make sure you both feel comfortable with a doula. When choosing your doula listen to your intuition.
It’s important to have a good rapport and feel completely confident in the doula of your choice. Her experiences, techniques, and training are just part of what she brings, that makes for a memorable birth.
EXACTLY THE KIND OF DOULA WE WANTED
We are three weeks out from the birth of our son Ezra, and deep in the whirlwind that is first-time parenthood.
With that said, we couldn't be happier (unless of course we were getting twice as much sleep). Both the pregnancy and the birth were amazing, if not somewhat intimidating, experiences, but we felt so incredibly fortunate to have Fiona there with us the entire way. During the pregnancy she was always available and always willing to talk us through any questions or concerns we may have had. She showed such amazing dedication, humor, and love for the work, and a deep respect and regard for the decisions we made regarding our birth.
When my wife Mary-Kay went into labor, she was right there at a moments notice. We had opted for a natural child birth with no meds, and my wife labored for close to 12 hours, the whole time Fiona sat with us, held my wife, and very lovingly coached her through the challenges of childbirth. Without a doubt, we could not have done it without her. Well, maybe we could of, but I think we would have been at the whim of various nurses, doctors, and our own uncertainty of the birthing process. Even when things got a bit scary, Fiona was always calm and always effective in keeping both my wife and I equally calm and focused.
If we could do it again, there are things we might change or reconsider, but having Fiona as our doula would not be one of them.
I think there are a lot of highly qualified doulas out there, and I won't be so bold as to say Fiona is hands-down the best (I honestly wouldn't know), but my wife and I are forever grateful for the experience she gave us and, in general, we just think she is awesome.