the doula and
Often, when a couple is considering hiring a doula, the partner may think, "Well, if we have a doula, what will my role be?"
Many partners are eager to be involved during labor and birth. Others, no less loving and committed to the mother's well-being find it difficult to navigate in unchartered waters. At times, a partner may not understand a woman's instinctive behavior during childbirth and may react anxiously to what a doula knows to be the normal process of birth. The partner may become understan-dably stressed when watching his or her partner during the intensities of childbirth, which can lead to getting to the hospital too soon and risk being sent home.
Doulas can actually help facilitate a partner's involvement during this special time. With doula support, the partner tends to stay more involved with the laboring mother and share in the birth at a level he or she feels most comfortable. If the partner wants to provide physical comfort such as a back massage, a change of position, or helping the mother to stay focused during contractions, the doula can provide the partner guidance and make suggestions for what may work best.
A partner's presence is comforting and irreplaceable. The love that is shared between them is something only the partner can provide. And a doula can skillfully help the mother to cope with labor in her unique way, while taking some of the pressure off her partner.
The combination of a doula's knowledge and experience with the partner's loving touch or voice can make all the difference in the world - less stress on the partner and perfect loving support for the mother.
As a first-time father, I cannot overstate the assurance and support I received from Joni. Despite attending all the prenatal classes and learning as much as I could about the birthing process, I was still unsure about a lot of things. She met with us several times before the due date and helped us write a thorough birth plan. She also made herself available by phone and email anytime we had questions or concerns to discuss.
When my wife went into labor at home, Joni promptly came over and assisted her with relaxation techniques to help minimize her discomfort, then went with us to the hospital and stayed with us the entire time. It was incre-dibly valuable to have Joni there as our advocate to help explain everything, discuss our options with us and to have her there as a "bridge" between us and the nursing staff. Having Joni there actually helped me to be more present and attentive during my wife's labor and the actual delivery.
We could not imagine having gone through that experience, one of the most intense and emotional experiences of our lives, without Joni. She was calm, professional and reassuring the whole time. We enthu-siastically recommend Joni to any mothers (and fathers!) to be!
~ Michael K.