I think my husband Jason may have audibly laughed the first time I mentioned hiring a doula for the birth of our first child. Mind you, this was long before I became a doula myself. “Why would we spend money on someone to be by your side when I’ll be there?” Of course I was thrilled that my husband was willing to get in the emotional and physical birth trenches with me but honestly I wasn’t sure he knew what he was signing up for.
I’m not certain what the tipping point was for him. Maybe it was the numerous birth videos I made him watch or the childbirth education classes that opened his eyes, but nonetheless he relented and agreed to hire a doula.
We must’ve interviewed 5 doulas before we found “the one.” And, I promise you there is “the one.” You instantly connect and feel like that person has been your best friend or your sister in another life. Your doula will be someone that makes you feel safe, supported, encouraged, and strong. Meg was “the one” for us. Our doula helped us prepare for the literal marathon that was to be our birth. She met with us a few times before the birth to go over comfort measures, expectations, and develop a birth plan. She was available throughout my pregnancy for questions I may have had after prenatal appointments or childbirth classes. Honestly, anything related to my pregnancy our doula was there to help us understand and process.
After 30 hours of labor, our sweet little lady was born on a cold Minnesota Sunday morning. As my husband held our baby girl in his arms he choked back the tears to tell our doula what I hear from so many fathers after I’ve been by their wife’s side for hours doing countless hip squeezes and many other exhausting comfort measures… “I couldn’t have done it without you.” The truth is he could’ve and would’ve had he needed to, but having a doula by his side too made the experience that much better for him.
Top reasons your husband will want a doula:
1. Nurses come and go, a doula sticks by your side. While you may have the most amazing nurse assigned to you, she is also the most amazing nurse for many other moms laboring at your hospital. She can’t be with at all times like a doula can.
2. A doula gives him the freedom to take a break without feeling guilty. While you doula is also emotionally invested in your birth, she isn’t at the same level your husband or partner is. Your husband is watching the love of his life transport to a place of intense, sometimes grueling, and very purposeful work. He’s going to need to be able to take a breather every once in a while and process what he’s experiencing so he can come back and be your rock.
3. He will have forgotten everything you learned in your childbirth classes. It’s called information overload. How many times have you and your husband/partner refreshed yourselves on all that you learned in your childbirth education classes? If you aren’t reading it over at least weekly before you have your baby, it isn’t enough. Your doula has this stuff memorized like the back of her hand. When you are at a loss for what to do next, she’ll be right there to say “try this” or “maybe it’s time to try and rest for a little bit.” Your doula is intimately familiar with the complexities of birth.
4. He needs someone to tell him that “it’s normal” and “everything is going to be okay.” Our husbands/partners are naturally fixers. Something’s wrong? He’ll try and find a solution. The problem is that birth rarely needs to be messed with. It may be hard, it may be next to impossible for him to see you in pain, but at the end of the day it’s all normal and it’s going to be okay. And he needs someone to remind him of that.
Now anytime one of his buddies has a wife that’s expecting, he says “man, you better hire a doula.”