"Do WE need a doula?" This very common question is one that I greatly respect and understand. Many couples feel that to invite another person into their very private and special experience might be unnecessary and invasive. A doula attends a birth in addition to, not instead of, a partner. All doulas understand that the birth partner holds the unique and critical position of loving, knowing and caring about the mom more than anyone in the world! But this does not mean that the partner is also prepared to confidently coach, inform, comfort, advocate for and be co-decision maker in a situation and environment in which they have no experience and perhaps little ease. This is an unrealistic expectation for anyone.
Doulas can help partners by modeling and describing specific pain relief techniques, explaining procedures and labor progress, giving much-needed breaks. She provides confident reassurance that all is going well and normally. A doula is often the only other participant who plans to stay until the very end! And yet, sometimes the best thing a doula can do is to go invisible for a spell and allow the couple privacy, while providing the security of knowing that she will return when wanted. With the presence of a doula, the pressure on the partner is decreased and he/she can then participate in the experience at his/her own comfort level.
I am also acutely sensitive to the inclusion of family members during a birth, from grandparents to siblings. I love helping to facilitate the natural participation of any and all loved ones that you want to be involved in your experience!
I've included this photo of my first birth, because I love the look on my partner's face: he is anxiously searching the expressions and body language of the women attendants, seeking their experienced assessment of his partner's and baby's wellness. A doula can offer this reassurance and calmness during both predictable and unforseen events. Her focused, consistent attention to the well-being of mom can be enormously encouraging and comforting to mom's partner!
"There is a power that comes to women when they give birth. They don't ask for it, it simply invades them. Accumulates like clouds on the horizon and passes through, carrying a child with it." Sheryl Feldman
Serving San Francisco and Penninsula Communities