While birth doulas are becoming a much more recognized part of a birth team there is often a misunderstanding of their role during a birth. Some partners even fear a doula will take their place during the birthing experience. We want to throw that idea to disintegrate into the wind. Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Doulas are for Partners Too! There are so many reasons why a partner should want a doula in the room, let us count the ways.
- Oxytocin – You probably know that the main ingredient in labor is Oxytocin. Oxytocin is the love hormone. Its the same hormone that is released when you cuddle or kiss your partner. Its also known as the happy hormone. While we doulas can aid in increasing that hormone by helping the birthing person feel safe and comfortable, it’s you, their partner, who can really keep that hormone flowing. We encourage all the cuddling and love that only you two share as much as we can. Labor progression relies on the birthing person’s natural oxytocin and we doulas recognize partners are the key to tuning into that. At prenatal sessions we talk about how we work as a team and how you as the partner can best tap into using the oxytocin super power that happens when the two of you come together.
- Feeling Safe – Fight or Flight – Even after loads of birth education and reading, it is unfair to expect a partner who has never or rarely seen birth to know what is normal or how best to support the birthing person. As your doula, we enable the partner to not only know where you are needed but also to be in a good headspace to provide the best support. When a birthing person feels safe they are telling their body it is ok to have a baby. The opposite is also true. And so, if a partner is sick with worry and continually questions what is going on, that energy leaks into the birthing person. Adrenaline, the fight or flight hormone, can function in slowing down labor. The birthing person’s mind is connected to her body and the goal is keep her body out of flight or flight mode. When you are in control, calm and helpful – that changes everything. We doulas help you do that.
- Energy Conservation – Labor and birth can take a long time, especially for someone giving birth for the first time. Doulas enable partners to care for themselves without leaving the birthing person without someone who knows her well. A weary partner, one who is hungry or mentally overstimulated, has a more difficult time helping the birthing person feel strong, confident and calm. Doulas provide seamless transitions in support so that you can take brief moments away to recharge.
- Overall Experience for All – The birthing person is no doubt doing all the work in labor and birth, but you both are becoming parents to a new life. It’s a big emotional day! Doulas help everyone to be informed about the options and choices in childbirth so that you can make joint decisions that you both feel good about. Doulas are also there to bear witness with you to your amazing birthing partner! With us, you are not alone when the birthing person drifts into “laborland”.
“Bethany reminded me when my partner should be drinking, suggested positions, gave massages and Rebozo all while fending off assorted distractions. This allowed me to be myself, support my partner, and relax that I wasn’t missing something fundamental” – Alex L.
“I know my husband is especially grateful for Becca – he had a hard time, and he credits her entirely with keeping him sane :)” – Ashleigh R.
Read about Sarah P.’s experience with Becca (“doula C”) as the non-birthing parent.