There was a time when partners were not allowed in the birth room. Things started to change several decades ago when partners expressed a desire to be more involved in the process and thus, began the shift to an expectation that the dad/husband/partner would always be in the birth room.
The reality, however, is that not everyone does well attending births. We all have different personalities, gifts, and strengths. And if this is your first baby, it’s likely you’ve never been to a birth before. There is a lot of pressure on partners to play a role they may have no idea how to fill.
Some may have a partner who is a witness. The birth room may be daunting, and they may not do well with change or stressful situations. The partner may have a really hard time seeing you in pain or feel fearful about the unknown. They may not understand what is happening and may struggle to find the right questions to ask. They can hold the space for you like someone who witnesses something and can speak about it afterwards, helping you process the event and the feelings you have about it.
How a doula helps when your partner is a witness:
a doula in this situation can explain what is happening to the partner, reassuring that things are normal and helping form questions if interventions are needed. Having a doula allows the partner to go through their own birth experience while still making sure that you have the physical support you need.
Your partner might be really excited about being a teammate during the birth of your child. They are there to go through this birth with you. You’ve talked over the things you want, and they are there to support you in those choices. It’s like having someone who is on your side that you can high five at the end of the game.
How a doula helps when your partner is a teammate:
a doula in this situation encourages both you and your partner as you go through the birth together. She can give your partner tips and ideas of positions to try and things to say, and then your partner and doula will support you together.
You may have a partner who feels really confident about being in the birth room, or maybe has done this before and wants to be the coach. As your coach, your partner will be there to make sure you drink and use the bathroom, change positions and keep moving, and encourage you with words of affirmation. They will be your advocate with the staff and will ask questions when you need more information. They want to have a very hands-on role in the birth. This is like having a sports coach who helps you take your body to it’s limits in order to successfully meet your goals.
How a doula helps when your partner is a coach:
a doula in this situation is like having an assistant coach – someone that a coach would go to in order to talk things over with, get more information or a second opinion, or simply have so they are not alone in the situation. You could also think about it like an offensive coordinator and a defensive coordinator. Just as these coaches have different views of the game, your partner knows you better, and your doula knows birth better. Working together the two coaches complement each other, forming a strong team of support for you.
You may know exactly which role your partner is going to fill, or your partner may have no idea how they’re going to react once in the situation.
Having a doula on your birth team means you’ll both be continuously supported whatever role they end up playing.
Taking a Childbirth Class is also a great way for both you AND your partner to prepare for birth. The Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class that I teach is amazing in empowering you — not just for what your body is going through, but excellent comfort measures and advocacy training to help you both be ready to embrace your birth with a sense of peace and adventure!