A partner’s participation during labor is both irreplaceable and indispensable; nothing can replace that emotional connection between the couple. Partners are also navigating their own transition into parenthood during childbirth and may need support for themselves during this time. To help support both people on their individual and connected journies, a doula’s work enhances this experience for the couple by providing neutral information and support to both people.
A partner is there for the laboring mother every step of the way helping her with physical and emotional support and “a doula compliments and reinforces that unique partner support,” says Kelley Burke, owner and doula at Portland Natural Birth.
The doula’s training, experience, tools, and skills gives partners permission to experience the labor and birth without feeling like they are fully responsible for everything that happens once labor begins. “As a doula I wear many hats during the time I’m working with a family. I learn the family’s communication style and see where there are places I’m needed to support both people,” continues Kelley.
It is common for partners to be concerned that hiring a doula might force them out of the picture or like they won’t be needed as much. Really, a doula is trained to work in collaboration with partners and enhance their experience; childbirth isn’t about a doula, it’s always focused on the entire family. A doula’s presence will compliment the partner’s ability to be present and attentive to the laboring mother.