If you were to see a photo of my husband directly after our first child, Leila was born you'd see that his face tells quite a story. Not only is he overcome by emotion about the arrival of our daughter, but he is , quite frankly, shocked and overwhelmed by the intensity and enormity of what we had just endured.
To think that just a few months prior, when I expressed my very firm decision to hire a doula, he said, “Then what am I for?!” It took a few weeks to convince him the price tag was worth it and now, having gone through a second birth as well, it’s safe to say that he 100% recommends that all birthing people have the support of a certified, professional doula.
I interviewed my husband to see what his thoughts were about hiring a doula.
So, walk me through your thinking process when I first told you about my desire to have a doula. What were your initial thoughts– had you ever heard of such a thing?
Well, I was dumbfounded at first. I was ignorant to the entire thing. You’re raised a certain way as a man and you have this idea of what labor and birth is and it doesn’t include an extra, paid person to be there with you. But, no, I didn’t know what a doula was, so I asked around- coworkers and friends– no one had any personal experience, but everyone had their assumptions– that it was this expensive thing, why not just “do it” yourself– but all in all, no one really knew exactly what a doula was.
But, I knew that you were well-versed in this other approach to birthing, so I trusted you. And the more I learned, I realized that a doula [and also midwife] really was more reflective of how women handled birth forever– before men and science got their hands on things. I’ll be honest, when you met me I was pretty ‘alpha male’ and something like this wouldn’t have made any sense to me, but you taught me a lot and I realized, I trust my wife.
Was the cost something that deterred you or gave you pause?
Yeah! But again, if this was something you really wanted, then I had to get on board.
What was the birthing process like for you– someone who was sharing in the experience, but also not the person going through the physical process?
Well, you had really long births, but let’s be honest, any [partner] who says it’s not emotionally intense or physically exhausting is lying. For me, the anxiety was a lot too– worrying about you, getting through the hours with you. But it all starts with support– our doula helped me understand what you were going through and how I could help you. And she was there the entire time with us, starting at the house. We worked as a team— she would be with you for a while and I could rest and then we would switch. It was also about emotional support. There was a moment, I remember, after your epidural, when you were having some episodes of your blood pressure dropping, and I was getting very worried. But she gave me reassurance, she explained things. I don’t know if things would have been different if you weren’t trying your best to have an unmedicated birth, but even if you weren’t, I can’t imagine getting through it all without her. Even just reminding us that we could take our time to make a decision that was coming up from the hospital staff, and helping to explain our options, too. All those things ended up mattering a lot.
What would you say to partners who are reluctant to include a doula in the birthing plan?
Again, it’s all about your partner– if this is what [the birthing person] wants, you need to listen, but I promise, you won’t regret it. Because if we didn’t have her, I don’t think I would have been strong enough to get you through all those hours without an epidural, which was your birthing plan. And your ultimate goal was a vaginal birth, and I think you got that both times because of her support. So listen to your partner! Get on board!
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