“I don’t even want him at the birth.”
”He just annoyed me last time.”
“I want him to stay home, but he insists on being there. I need a girl with me. We want you to be our doula.”
It was a cold, sunny, late winter afternoon at the playground by Nytorget in Stockholm when a mom from the mama-baby group shared these words with me. Surprised and honored (and pregnant with my second child), I happily agreed and became a doula right there.
LOVE is what each partner brings to the birth
A birthing partner is anyone a mother chooses to bring with her. Friends, sisters, moms. Life partners.
There are as many ways to partner a birth as there are partners. Every partner approaches her or his role in birth differently.
What every partner has in common is LOVE for the mother. That LOVE is what each partner brings to the birth.
But what do they do at the birth?
The Dad researched microphones?!
I doula’d one birth where the Dad researched microphones on his smartphone in the early hours of an induction. I held the mom’s hands and she sang and rocked on her birthing ball. The Dad’s support would be needed later – hours of counter pressure and verbal support when mom was so very tired.
He was able to rest and charge in the early hours because I was there for the Mom. That was the relief he needed.
Every partner has different needs.
The doula serves the whole family
Partners in Sweden are provided with 9 hours of parent education and then thrown into the game. Like being lectured about American football and then expected to play the NY Giants. It’s a tall order.
The reality is a doula ensures the partner’s ability to focus on loving the mother.
With a doula on board, a partner is free to participate at the level that feels good to just them (or the level that feels good for the mom!), whether that’s massaging mom’s feet, sitting nearby and smsing friends and family or serving the mom her favorite flavored coconut water (see tip below) with ice and a straw.
Held in this space, the mother births her baby
The partner comes with love and knowledge of the birthing mother. The doula comes with love and knowledge of women in birth. The combination is a powerful support net for the mother who, safely held in this space, births her baby – exactly like she is built to do.
I love my job!
Oh and that husband who wasn’t wanted at the birth. He got to be there. And me too.
We were a dream team.
More Mighty Resources
Here are a few area specific Facebook forums for Sweden where you can hang out and get your questions answers.
And a general open group: Doula i Svergie (Doula in Sweden)
Tip: Coconut Water!
This stuff is ace for birthing and breastfeeding! It has the same electrolyte balance as your body. Just don’t get the one with sugar from the supermarket. Buy it at a health food shop.
And have your partner serve to you on the rocks with a straw while your doula gives you a massage. Yes, birth really can be like a spa vacation.
How did your partner benefit from a doula’s presence at your birth?