Partners and Doulas
It was late into the evening. Claudia laid awake staring at the big bright yellow moon through her bedroom. With 3 months left in the pregnancy, she knew that the conversation of having her partner and her doula in the birthing space would have to happen. Much of the decisions regarding the pregnancy had been Claudia’s. Although they weren’t officially together, they knew that their love for each other was like a storybook. Claudia wanted her partner to adore her doula just as much as she did, and wondered how partners and doulas work together when it comes to birth. She didn’t want her partner to feel left out, and she wanted every ounce of support that her doula was there to give.
How the Role of the Partner and the Doula are Different
A common misconception about doulas is that they replace the role that a partner provides to a birthing individual. This is a HUGE myth! Doula support comes in the form of being able to have a whole view of the situation. Educationally, the doula understands the nuances of birth, therefore assisting the family with their decision making, releasing anxieties, and being a player on the birth team.
Emotionally, the partner has never seen their partner in this capacity before. All birthing experiences are different, whether it’s one’s first for eight births. Being able to remain emotionally calm and stable in any situation that may arise in the birthing space is something that can be vital to the experience. The physical burden that labor can take on a physique can be felt days after the occurrence. Labor doulas understand the newly postpartum body and how to decipher what is “normal” and what is outside of the realm of “normal”. This is a benefit when there are questions and concerns surrounding the healing and recovery period.
How a Doula Supports a Partner
What’s even better is that doulas support the birthing person’s partner. Birth is a family affair and doulas support all aspects of the family dynamic. How a doula can support the partner showcases a variety of benefits. Emotionally, birth can be filled with anxiety and excitement for the new supporting parent. They are also witnessing their loved one in a new light. Physically, labor can be a long process and doulas assure that the partner is also rested (and resting) as well as being incorporated into the comfort measures. Educationally being able to translate what is occurring in the laboring process can provide a sense of serenity in understanding the “unknown”.
Creating Your Labor Support Team
When curating a labor support team the beginning steps can be overwhelming. Where do I start? Who do I need? What do I need to know? How do I select the right team? The first step is the medical provider. Choosing to go with an OB/GYN or a Midwife, as they are the ones that provide all medical treatment, diagnosis, and procedures. They are also who will be “catching” the baby.
Then choose your doulas! Your doula support begins from the moment you say “YES!” and sign a contract. Your labor doulas are on-call for you no matter when, no matter what. They provide support in-between your prenatal appointments, they conduct an in-home birth preferences session, and they show up during the duration of the labor before your provider arrives. Labor doulas are your person!
Think about who you want surrounding you when your big moment comes. Who is your life is supported and understanding. Surrounding yourself with cheerleaders during your labor and delivery will make the ups and downs, and unknowns of birth more manageable.
Claudia couldn’t wait for her prenatal appointment with her doula team to introduce her partner to her doulas. Deep down Claudia knew that she had curated the perfect team of cheerleaders to guide her through this upcoming monumental moment in her life. “Doulas support partners too!” She reiterated over the phone. “Partners and doulas work harmoniously for my serenity.”