How to Convince Your Husband You Need a Doula in 3 Easy Steps
Everyone has told you how amazing it is to have a doula. My doula happened to be worth her weight in gold. I birthed a 10 lb posterior baby with hardly a tear, no pain medications and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Of course I prepared like crazy. But without her facilitating and supporting me on the way, I would not have made it. There were many times when I didn’t want to go through another contraction, couldn’t see the end or felt like maybe my body wasn’t made to do this (after all I did have a c-scection for failure to progress with my first baby)
My doula helped me keep my head in the game, she kept me positive, she held space for me to listen to my body and do my thing, she reminded me that I CAN do this and she turned my husband into the most amazing supportive birth partner in the world (with very limited preparation on his part.)
What exactly does a doula do?
A doula is a person whose job is to 100% be there for the laboring mother. She is educated about birth and helps a mother prepare a plan, stick to her plan and flow with her labor.
She helps a mom know when to change positions. She helps a mom implement pain management strategies. She counters the fears and doubts that inevitably arise on the journey with her wisdom, confidence and surety.
She helps a mom gain the knowledge she needs to make educated decisions and empowers a mom to advocate for herself if needed.
She is often the first one on the scene when mom needs help. (My doula was there before my husband!) She stays after the birth for a short time to help make sure you have the support you need to connect with your baby through breastfeeding, make sure you get comfortable and will help you if you need to any further advocating on behalf of you or your child. Having a doula is like having wonderwoman by your side.
What do you do if your husband doesn’t want to pay for a doula?
Husbands are not birthing babies. They are there to help, but they often don’t understand all that it takes to get a baby from inside your womb to your arms. I wanted a doula with my first birth, we didn’t because of ‘expenses’. However, when the birth went sideways, when the hospital staff was rude and unsupportive, when we didn’t have any tools to pickup a stalled labor other than pitocin, we quickly regretted our decision. I found and hired the best doula the second time around. That birth was perfect. Does having a doula gaurantee a perfect birth? no! But it certainly increases the likelihood of it.
Here are the most common concerns partners have about hiring a doula and how to proactively counteract them.
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1. Address his concern about cost and show him how a doula will make the experience safer, healthier and perhaps even save well over the cost of it prevents extra interventions or c section.
Hiring a doula is an investment. It’s an investment in your health, it’s an investment in your relationship, it’s an investment in your bank account.
One way that doulas save your health and money is they reduce the risk of having to have a c-section. Studies have shown that having a doula at the side of a laboring mother has reduced the risk of a c-section 28-56 percent. You can see the studies that show this here and here.
If a doula helps you avoid the need for intervention then you have saved a LOT of money. Not to mention that your husband probably cares more that you are safe and secure and have the support you need during birth. Making the investment in a doula is also an investment in your health and relationship.
2. Some husbands are excited to participate in birth and are worried a doula will step on his toes. Here’s how to address this concern.
My experience is that while my husband has the desire to show up for me in big way, he doesn’t always know how to. Our first birth is an excellent example of this. When things we’re going sideways, he didn’t have the knowledge or experience with birth to support me in the ways that I needed. Though I can look back and see that now, at the time, everything was so raw and painful that this took a toll on our relationship. It was a hard experience for BOTH of us.
On the flip side, when we had our second baby, my husband showed up in all the right ways and it brought us closer in this incredible way. You know how he showed up exactly how I needed him? My doula helped him know what to do. He didn’t have to think on his feet. He didn’t have to worry if things were normal or not. When I was in pain (which he does not enjoy seeing) he had someone to remind him that I was okay and help him help me through it. I loved my labor, but I couldn’t have done it without my team.
Plus, my husband was able to call our parents, take a break to eat some food and go to the bathroom. All things he couldn’t do if he was my only support person in the room.
If your husband is still unsure about being replaced, ask him to squeeze your hips as hard as he can for 15 minutes straight, then ask him how he feels about doing that for 8 hours straight without eating or taking a break to go to the bathroom. 🙂
3. Be honest about why you want a doula.
You have your own reasons for wanting a doula. You know what your partner cares about more than anything on his agenda? Your agenda. Tell him why you feel you need the support, what kind of experience you want and what it will mean to you to have a doula. You are the leading lady in his life and having his child. Nothing in more persuasive than a little bit of honesty from you.
Rebecca Dekker PhD and RN, of evidence based birth, tells us Overall, people who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and Cesareans. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth. There is a smaller amount of evidence that doula support in labor can lower postpartum depression in mothers. There is no evidence for negative consequences to continuous labor support.
If you can help your husband over come the hurdles of cost and feeling like he will be replaced, you are sure to get his support in hiring a doula. Please let me know if you have any other tips or tricks when it comes to persuading him it really is the best choice.