Your partner is an essential part of your support system during your labor, birth, and postpartum journey.
Some partners want to be very actively involved, holding you, reassuring you, advocating for you, and tending to your needs for food, drinks, and emotional connection. Others are less sure how to help you and may withdraw from what feels like a very stressful situation, or are too tired and working to filfull their own immediate needs before they can effectively attend to yours.
Partners may have had no experience with birth before and yet are often expected, through participation in a childbirth education course or by reading a book, to be familiar with the labor process and language of birth.
Society may put a lot of pressure on them to feel like they should know and understand medical procedures and hospital protocols, and to remember all the comfort measures that will be useful to you in the moments you need them. Understandably, while many partners are eager to take on this role, others who are no less dedicated to your wellbeing find these expectations unnerving.
A doula is someone who can help your partner(s) share in the birth at whatever level they feel most comfortable and participate with confidence. If they feel anxious about their reaction to seeing you in pain or your instinctive behavior and during childbirth (and let's face it, in giving yourself permission to be whomever you need to be to get through your labor, you may very likely behave on ways they've never seen before), your doula's skill and expertise can help them to relax. The doula can offer reassurance and clarify what are normal parts of the birthing process.
The doula can offer tips and guidance to providing physical comfort or suggest options for what may work best. These tips are the partner's secret to keep. The goal of the doula is to create a stronger team between you and your partner, helping you to know that you can get each other through birth and parenting.
The doula can also step in to give partners a break when they need it, or to go get food or drinks so that they don't have to leave.
A doula complements the partner’s role and strengthens it, helping them to nurture you, and helping to give each of you the best possible experience.