My wife was entering her third trimester when she told me that she wanted to hire a doula, so I did what every rational, intelligent person would do.
I Googled the word, “Doula”.
In case you are like me and had no idea how to spell “doula”, let alone know what they do, here’s a short description: They are a non-medical support for a pregnant mom leading up, during and after birth. After a quick 5-minute speed read where I discovered what a doula actually did, I asked the question that every rational, intelligent person would do.
I asked if we really needed another person in the delivery ward.
(Side Note: In general, asking your pregnant wife if she really needs something is probably not going to lead to positive outcomes).
In my defence, it seemed like we had over enough people to deal with the… simple… task of giving birth. We had an amazing OBGYN, access to great health care and I’d be there. I mean, what support could a Doula offer that I couldn’t?
In case you haven’t guessed, this is one of those moments when present-day me looks at me back then and just shakes his head. I could not have been more wrong. Firstly, I’m not sure there is such a thing as too much support during a pregnancy and birth, definitely for my wife but also for me.
We agreed to meet our potential Doula before making a decision, and it was during that conversation that I realised something: this was my first time being a partner in a birth, so there were loads of things that I simply didn’t know.
Seems obvious, right? Well, up to that point, I arrogantly thought I had it all under control. The other reason why I agreed that we needed a Doula was the fact that she made it clear that she was not replacing me in the delivery room – merely offering support. And when the day arrived, suddenly and unexpectedly, she knew how to keep both of us calm, and how to help me support my partner.
Really, I cannot emphasise how important her role was.
Even just having a person to stay with my wife, while I handled the hospital admin, and making the calls to family and work to let them know what is happening was a godsend.
Most importantly because she had knowledge about what was coming, wasn’t filled with anxiety (like me) or about to go into surgery (like my wife), she was the right person to properly advocate for my wife and the way we wanted the birth to happen.
Luckily, our OBGYN was great and was completely on board with our wishes, but I can see how in that moment it would be easy to be swayed by a doctor who you might not agree with completely.
Of course, our relationship with our Doula didn’t end there. She regularly came by to check in on mom and baby afterwards. In fact, we’ve become friends with her and her family since then. That was an added extra – but don’t be surprised if it happens to you too!