Thanks to my husband, Kit, for sharing his thoughts about doulas from a father's perspective.
She's gone quiet. She was excited, and now she's serious. Which signpost was this? Does this mean she's close? Now she's quiet. She's never quiet. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? How do I help her? I remember that Sears book. Barely. It mentioned something about helping with the pain. What was it? I don't remember!
Sound familiar, Dad? This was me once upon a time. Scattered, a little bit panicked, and unsure of what to do or where to go or what Heidi was going to need next.
To be clear, the idea of being a superdad really appeals to me. I want to be my wife's hero, supporting her exactly as she needs during her labor. But let's face it, there's a ton of stuff going on, and pretty much none of it is even remotely within your control. So the question remains, what can you do to best support your wife?
It turns out it was pretty simple for me. Just focus on her. Keep near. Hold her when she needs it. Let her hang on me. Look in her eyes when transition comes. Let her know she can do it and that she's not alone. But what about the other stuff?
That's where our doula came in. What the heck does a doula do, anyway? Turns out, doulas are versatile and handy to have around. With a little bit of planning, they come prepared to help you with pretty much whatever you need during your labor.
We discussed Heidi's hopes and dreams with our doula well before Heidi's due date came. Labor positions, coping techniques, all those sorts of things were noted, catalogued, and planned for.
While we were in the zone, running straight into transition, focusing on getting the baby here, our doula was able to remember everything that fell away. "Try walking." "Get off your side." You're looking shaky, here's some juice." And Heidi and I were able to focus on the moment.
Our doula was our spare brain. Our brains were otherwise singularly occupied with getting Heidi through labor. We were forgetting things, but that's okay. We had our doula. She freed us from the minutae of labor and let us just be in the moment.
I can't stress how much having a doula helped me, as a husband, support my wife better. The weird part for me was to realize that superdad could be a superhusband by asking for a little help. Our doula was worth every penny of her fee.
Heidi is now a doula herself, helping moms and dads have their perfect births. Friends ask how that's working for us, me having to drop everything to stay home with the kids so Heidi can go and help out with a birth. It's no sacrifice. Our doula was so effective during our birth, I kind of feel it's my duty to now help Heidi be that for some other couple. I love that Heidi is able to be a doula. I believe in the power of doulas. For birthing parents, Doulas can make all the difference in the world.
The photo is Kit and our doula just after our sixth baby arrived. The day we found out we were expecting my husband asked me to call our doula to get on her schedule! To learn more about doula services click here.