Can My Husband Be My Doula?
“I want to be my wife’s main source of support when we have our baby.”
“I want my husband to be my doula and help me get through labor physically and emotionally.”
These are the things my partner and I said as we prepared for the birth of our baby, and things I hear from many others who are expecting.
I love it when dads and partners want to be active and involved in the births of their children. As a doula, I love working with both moms and dads, birthing parents and co-parents. Many people don’t realize that doulas actively support and help both parents, and that a large part of our job is to facilitate strong communication between everyone present for the first part of a child’s life, from birth through the postpartum time.
Many also forget to think about the experience of the parent who is not physically delivering the child. My partner and I did not understand how his experience would be heavily emotional, physical and full of unknowns for him as well as me. On the day a child is born partners watch someone they love do one of the hardest things they will ever do. They worry when their wife feels discomfort or pain. They may be up on their feet for hours helping her cope with the sensations of labor. They may go hours without sleeping or eating a substantial meal as they focus all their attention on their birthing partner.
Together, the parents will make decisions along the way they may not have expected to confront. They will both be tired, and might experience every emotion from dread to joy during the process.
As a doula, I have supported many births where the dad was his partner’s main source of support. I want all parents to know that my presence could never replace or overshadow the presence of a dad or partner in the room. It enhances and complements it.
But the question still stands, “Can my husband be my doula?”
No, and not because of some outdated tripe about men or non-birthing individuals being incapable of supporting or empathizing with a woman or person having a baby. My job as a doula is to emotionally attune but not emotionally invest. As the father, you are emotionally invested. It is unfair to expect a parent to be able to detach emotionally and see everything happening in the room from a bird’s eye view. That’s why I’m there to support both of you.
As a doula, I am there for the parents, but I am also attuning to everyone in the room. I am thinking one step ahead to anticipate what your needs may be in the next given moment. I specialize in communication with a broad variety of personalities. I am well versed in many coping techniques, and the choices available to you at your given hospital, birth center, or home.
Your husband knows you. I know birth. I’m an unbiased professional and member of your team, there to help you both uncover your desires for the big day and after. I’m there to help you both be at your best, and to boost your confidence.