Why are pregnancy chiropractors such big fans of doulas? Why do so many dads feel like they don’t need doulas at their births? Let’s bust a myth, re-align some thinking, and explain why a doula should be at every birth. Watch this One Belly, Two Brains video to learn more and check out the detailed list below.
If you’re wondering what a doula is, check out World Doula Week!
You Do Doula, Don’t You?
- A doula provides a unique function in the birth team. She has usually been to far more births than a dad or a birthing partner. Experience matters whether you’re looking at a home birth or hospital birth. Ask yourself how many times you’ve watched your OB deliver a baby or your midwife resolve a shoulder that’s stuck in the birth canal. If your DIY answer is less than 5, maybe you should consider a second person who can advocate for your birth plan.
- A doula speaks the birthing partner’s language. Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a crisis moment (“Lost? I’m not lost. I just took this exit because I wanted to,”) and had a little miscommunication with your partner? I guarantee that you will have moments during the labor where a second voice is going to be helpful. Doulas are expert communicators. There were things our doula said during our son’s birth that I never would have thought of. Also, there were things I could have said that wouldn’t have landed the same way if I had said them. Doulas solve this problem by serving as the best friend/mom/sister/coach stand-in, the trusted voice that says “You’ve got this.”
- Doulas have thicker skin than dads do. Let’s face it, fellas, we’re sensitive to critique. We want to try, we want to do things the right way. A mother’s list of needs and wants shifts constantly during labor, and the things that felt good 2 minutes ago suddenly stop working. The laboring mother is in her primitive brain and doesn’t have time for whether or not your feelings get hurt by a “Stop doing that.” Doulas are good at rolling with the flow.
- Every pro athlete you’ve ever been a fan of has a coach. I don’t care who the Hall of Fame person is, I can tell you he or she did not get there on native talent alone. Do you know how many teams have won a championship without a coach? Zero. How many people have stepped onto a playing field and took home the trophy without an outside set of eyes preparing them for the moment? Hasn’t happened. If by chance this challenge has you throwing down the gauntlet and searching up an example to prove me wrong, let that sink in for a moment: You have no immediate recollection, and the event is so obscure, that the instance is an exception to the rule. Is that what you want for the birth of your child? Do you want to hope that your laboring mama suddenly becomes Superwoman? That isn’t a plan, buddy.
The Biggest Secret Reason Revealed: Dads Have Egos.
Dads want to be heroes. We aren’t used to asking for help. We’re budget conscious and don’t want to spend extra money on something that isn’t worth it. These are all reasons why dads don’t get why a doula is necessary, but it’s not the main one. For most dads, it comes down to our confusion about our role in the birth team. This might surprise people, but a birthing partner’s role traditionally isn’t support; it’s protecting the cave. Part of that protection is making sure the right people are in the cave to help the mom. It is very tough to do both things at the same time. It can be very hard to let go of that control but trust me, you can relax- they’ve got this.
Some doulas also offer postnatal services. If you haven’t had the pleasure of waking up every hour to feed or change diapers, let me share with you- it’s not fun. Moms specifically need the rest… for weeks. Some doulas are available at night to help with feedings, changing babies, and nursing issues. I sometimes wish that dads could have doulas for non-birth situations so they can picture how useful they can be before and after labor. How handy would it be to get a sandwich while you’re working on building a website, or have someone hand you the right socket wrench while you’re under the car changing the oil? Ever have a friend guide you through shortcuts around town that Google doesn’t know? Your partner has been growing this baby for close to a year. Doulas are to birth what flowers are to anniversary gifts. At some point in time, you should just expect it’s going to be a part of the process.
To find a doula or a like-minded birthing professional local to Fort Myers or Cape Coral, check out our community resources page here.