Some women feel that if they have a partner they don’t need the support of a doula, and a partner may feel threatened by the presence of a doula. The partner may feel worried that she will “take over” his role. In reality, a skilled doula can greatly enhance the birth experience for both parents.
During pregnancy, typically a doula will meet with a couple many times to discuss the birth of their child. BOTH partners’ thoughts and feelings are addressed. Their plans, wishes, worries, and concerns are discussed as thoroughly as they want. During a woman’s pregnancy, questions are typically addressed to her alone, but partners are given an opportunity, during a doula’s prenatal visits, to talk about their own concerns for the birth.
When a couple is going through labour, they may have a partial idea of what typically happens during the birthing process based on childbirth classes, or books they may have read during pregnancy, and in hearing the birth stories from their mother or aunt. However, no two labours are alike and as labour begins for them, a type of confusion may set in. A hospital, in this day and age, is a very active place.
Midwives and the doctors may have several patients to attend to, they can be commonly in and out of the birthing rooms the entire time. Fear of the unknown plays a part during labour but having a doula as additional assurance that all is well can take away that fear. A doula’s calming influence allows the father to give the love and support that his partner needs to feel.
A doula will spend a lot of time making sure that partners understand the difference between being a ‘supporter’ and a ‘rescuer’, this seemingly small difference can have a huge impact on the birth outcome. Women who feel well-supported find labour much easier to manage.
The role as a doula is to help a couple work together, to complement a father’s role and strengthen it. In doing this, fathers can fully experience the intimacy and joy of watching their children come into the world.