Whole Parenting Family

Why You and Your Partner Need a Doula (And When I Was A Movie Star)


Watch this movie: Doulas, A Documentary. Yes, it’s made by our doula, Emily Rumsey!, and sponsored by the Childbirth Collective, both of whom we love mucho mucho. And yep, we’re interviewed in it. You can see SuperBoy when he was right around 12 months running around us. You can rent it for a few bucks or buy it. At least watch the trailer. And then rent it or buy it 🙂 I was a movie star along with AA and SuperBoy for my 15 minutes of fame. Woot! (SweetPea was a mere twinkle in my eye at the time as SuperBoy was around 12 months when we were interviewed for it.)

So what’s a doula? Why do I need one? Isn’t that my partner’s role?

Doula. It’s Ancient Greek for “female servant.” No, I’m not one, so yes, this is an unbiased post on the necessity of having a birth support person beyond your partner. Consider her a birth support person for both you AND your partner. And your baby.

Every person for whom I’ve recommended a doula (now 4) said it was a lifesaver. She was invaluable. Their husband made a complete turn-around and went from suspicion to converting other partners. This is really a great addition to your birth team!

I’ll make my case for a doula in two parts (the bifurcated approach, thanks lawyerly instincts for teaching me to think in outline form):

1) She knows what’s going on.

She’s been here before, knows what comes next, and can help you make decisions as labor is full of unknowns and you may have to change your birth plan mid-stream. We had a few instances of needing to change our battle plan when SweetPea was on her way {Birth of Our Sweet Baby Girl}, once when I found out I was GSB positive at 5am after my water broke, and again when no labor had started 12 hours after said water breakage, to cite a few.

Also, there will most likely come a point during your labor, medicated or unmedicated {Unmedicated Birth: You Can Do It!–my story with SuperBoy}, wherein you experience fear, pain, and want someone who’s been with you all through your pregnancy to reassure you. A doula is your support pillar when you reach the feeling of not being able to continue. There’s a level of female-to-female trust that’s necessary.

2) Partners need help as they can’t do it all.

Most first-time parents have never seen labor before. And your partner certainly has never seen you in this state before. With the exception of a home birth or birth center birth, you two are on your own. A lot. Anyone who thinks they will see the same nurse the whole time may be mistaken. Anyone who thinks their own midwife or doc will deliver them  may be mistaken. Your doula is with you the whole time. Your partner will have her there, for bathroom breaks, food breaks, and to rub your back while she holds your head up, or the like. It’s really really a two person job, or three even! You will have lots of needs in labor that you can’t even imagine right now.

Ask your mom to help, ask your sisters. In the olden days, the older women helped the younger ones give birth. If your mom, sister, or best friend isn’t on board or able to help, ask a doula. I asked a doula because although I’m incredibly close with my female family members, I wanted someone with specific training in unmedicated labor assistance. Someone who knew counterpressure, essential oils, and what the medical scoop was.

In conclusion, I need AA to coach me through the first few hours of labor, but now after doing it twice, I know that I need my doula, Emily, for that last two hours or so. No joke. It’s like a switch turns and I just need to have her talk me through the contractions instead of AA. It is so comforting to know she knows me, and can walk me through the valley of the shadow of labor.

A few resources around the Twin Cities for finding a doula:

The Childbirth Collective is a wonderful group that runs free parent education nights, and they do a night monthly on doulas–where you can ask questions of doulas, meet doulas, and hear about the reasons to have one. See link here.

Enlightened Mama is a new childbirth education center in Saint Paul opened by the doula of all doulas, Liz Abbene, who literally is a doula trainer. She knows a ton about doulas (and is one, duh), and can really help you explore this option given her training in being a doula trainer. She and her other educators are pretty amazing resources. See link to contact her here.





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