I recently read a fascinating article in Romper called, “My Husband said no to a Doula & I’m still pissed.” Writer Kelly Green openly discusses her frustration about her partner’s decision “quasi-unilaterally” that they did not need to hire a doula for the birth of their child, a choice that Green writes should have been hers to make. I know hiring a doula can be a tricky thing, but they are beneficial for dads too.
(I’m using the term “dad” here because I most often deal with fathers, but this applies to any birthing partner.)
In my experience, dads want to just support their wives with the love and affection. Birth is a vulnerable time, and an advocate doula can — as one dad explained — “hold space” for a laboring partner.
One of my crucial roles is to support dads too, to make sure they are free to focus on supporting their partner rather than having to play the role of advocate. (Yes, birthing partners can be advocates in the delivery room; signing up for Doula Insights Childbirth Class is a great way to prepare to fill that role.)
I’m not sure what conversations Green and her partner had about the necessity of hiring a doula, but I know the benefits of hiring a doula are clear. If your partner is concerned about hiring a doula, I suggest they visit DONA International’s Dads & Doulas pages, where they misspell many of the myths birthing partners may have about hiring a doula.
If you or your partner are concerned about the financial cost of hiring a doula:
- Ask your doula about payment plans
- Ask about bartering services, you may have a special talent the doula needs services for
- Add doula services to your baby registry
- Have a doula shower instead of a diaper shower
- Check into your companies flex spending plans and insurances
- Ask for early birthday and Christmas presents
Here are some comments from recent Maternal Instincts Dads about the value of having a doula:
“Finances are easier to fixate on compared to unpacking fear and anxiety of both mother and father face-to-face. I think as fathers-to-be (and society, generally) we tend to focus on baby so much we miss the mother’s needs”
~ C. B.
“You wouldn’t go to a court proceeding without someone on your side. The experience and value of a doula in the stressful situation of labor is invaluable to have that mediation on your side, fighting for your rights”.
~ R. B.
“One of the issues that often remains unseen by husband’s [sic], is that the services provided by a doula are often intangible or it’s at least hard to explain the necessity of them. Men have the viewpoint of ‘if there’s a problem, I’ll handle it, and if I can’t do it, the doctor will.’ Men (myself included) can fail to see that the doctor himself may, in fact, be a problem. From a medical professional’s eyes it’s simply a matter of get this baby out of her body and make sure nobody stops breathing. We (men) may not think to question if it is necessary to cut a woman to get the baby out (episiotomy, or C-section). We aren’t medically trained. If somebody who has been to school for years and years tells us that ‘labor is delayed and we need to intervene’ how are we to know? I’ll tell you how. A doula. A doula is someone who has been there. Someone who cares. Someone who knows the in’s and out’s of the medical system. Money is the reason that we didn’t have a doula at our [first] child’s birth. We quite literally couldn’t afford one. My wife told me a doula would be there to give advice and talk us through the process, so i [sic] didn’t realize the need…Had I known that a doula would also serve as an advocate for the rights of my wife, and keep her best interest in mind, as opposed to the interests of a hospital making money, I would have sold my truck and walked to work to insure my wife had that privilege. It’s not that a woman needs a doula to give birth. It’s that in today’s commercialized medical industry, a woman needs a doula to protect her from doctors and hospitals viewing her as another dollar sign. I thought ‘God created her body to give birth, and if something goes wrong the doctor will help.’ The problem with that logic is that doctors don’t see it that way. They just want to get the baby out…Doula’s help us husband’s level the playing field. And they’re worth much more than the monetary value. It’s just hard to explain why.”
~ R. E.
I’ve been privileged to support lots of moms and dads at birth. The important thing is to find someone who can be a part of your team — someone who can support you both as you journey through birth.