One of the biggest struggles with being a doula in Edmonton is selling our service to the birthing person’s partner. I’m going to be real with you… I totally get why! If you have no idea what a doula is, you probably assume that the service is not a needed one, and you’re not wrong. People here have babies all the time without Edmonton doulas supporting them! However, as I take off my birth doula in Edmonton hat and put on my Edmonton mom of two hat, I can say that doulas really do make a difference for partners. My hubby and I did not use an Edmonton doula for the birth of our first born but we did with my second, and I can say that he specifically really came into his own during that second birth! Along with him getting to take some much-needed breaks to call family and grab a coffee, I was a much happier labouring mama when he wasn’t cracking jokes at inappropriate times and getting in the way more than helping (reminiscing about that first birth…ugh haha). So let me break it down for all of you out there who are on the fence about hiring a doula in Edmonton because your partner just isn’t sold on the idea.
The doula balances the birth partner’s strengths
So the one obvious advantage that the birth partner has going into the birth person’s labour is that they know them well. We all have pet peeves as well as things that comfort us in times of chaos, and odds are your partner will know what these are (or you’ll have lots of time to talk about them – 9-10 months actually). The only problem is that it’s extremely hard to think fast when you are in a high-pressure situation about things that are quite new to you. Where you’d normally feel lost after trying every trick in the book to help your birthing person to feel comforted, a doula can give you a nudge in the right direction or bring some much-needed calm energy to a highly charged situation. For an example, if a woman normally likes light touching and soft speaking to relax her but the partner is not getting a good response from this, their doula can suggest a different technique of touching, some good phrases that might help or some new comfort techniques all together.
The doula is there for the stuff that the partner doesn’t know
Partners, as much as you might think you know about the woman, birth and motherhood will bring out a whole new side of her that you’ve never anticipated! It’s such a beautiful transition to witness, but also can be quite scary. ‘Is she really ok?’ ‘Should she be making those sounds?’ ‘I can’t help her and I don’t know why!’ These thoughts commonly run through the minds of loved ones in the labour space, but with a doula you get answers! You’ll know why things are happening when and how they are, what you can do to help or if you’re doing the right things. We are your coach just as much as we are the birth person’s. You’ll never have to be put on the spot to know all of the information you learned in your Edmonton childbirth class, as we are there to educate you on all the unknowns, when you need to know them. And in all honestly, it’s what we love doing best! (well it’s what I love doing best at least)
The doula allows the partner to take breaks
There’s a reason why labour laws in Alberta insist on workers getting a 15 minute break for every 2-3 hours worked. No one should be going at a tough job for an extended period of time without a break for their physical or mental well-being, and this applies to birth partners too! I’m not going to say that the partner’s role is nearly as tough physically as the birthing person’s role, but mentally and emotionally you partner will become drained. Imagine watching one of you favourite people in the whole wide world go through hours and hours of physically intense discomfort and not being able to help take their pain away… it can be torture if you aren’t fully prepared or get any sort of break. Doulas are there for times like these, to relieve the partner so they can grab a cup of coffee and decompress, catch a breath of fresh air, clear their head temporarily, etc. and be reassured that the birth person is not left alone. When looking back on the birth of your child, you’re going to remember how you felt and you’ll want to look back on that moment thinking that you felt inspired and in awe of your birth person’s strength, instead of thinking how you felt foggy, frustrated and ready for it to be all over.
Did you have an Edmonton doula attend your birth? How did it help your partner during the rough parts of your labour? Leave your experiences with doulas and partners in the comments section below!