Husband/Partner and Doulas
by Ann F. Grauer, LCCE, CD (DONA), ICCE, PCD (DONA)
Q. Doulas seem to be getting more and more popular. Why do I need one if I have my husband/partner with me?
A. This is a great question and one that many couples wonder about. When fathers (and later partners) were allowed into the birthing suites quite a bit of pressure was placed on them to remember everything they were taught in childbirth classes and to be the mom's "everything". Many dads expressed mixed feelings about this---happy to be present and needed at the birth of their child, but terrified of failing mom in some way.
What we forgot was that dads and partners bring a special gift to birth that is needed by the mom but can make their own needs an obstacle. They love the mother in a way that no one else present at the birth does. By virtue of that their simple presence gives mom a level of security that no one else can. On the other hand, the fact that they are so wonderfully emotionally involved prevents them from being able to be truly objective.
The doula allows the mom and her partner to work together as a team in whatever way feels comfortable to them. She is the lead support if that is the desire of the family. If they prefer to have dad be mom's primary support, the doula acts as the secondary support. She is able to allow dads to participate to their level of comfort and helps him to feel secure in his efforts on mom's behalf.
Working together with the medical careproviders, the doula helps the mom and her partner with communication. How wonderful for a birthing woman to have such amazing support!
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