originally published on March 25th 2017
by Justin Phares
Something I realized, not too long ago, was you rarely meet people who simply want to help. Even more rarely is it possible to find an entire profession that exists, for much the entire purpose, of helping a person they have literally never met. A doula represents something that I had a hard time finding in our world anymore, kindness and positivity.
I admit, birth just wasn’t something I understood for a really long time. You learn about it, yeah, but do you really get it? Answer the question yourself, but I didn’t. A doula is there to help, to teach, to guide. She wants you to succeed in the most literal way. Her purpose is to give you the affirmation and steadfast compassion so you can have a healthy baby, your way. Your way can change, and your way can be hard, and your way can be loud, but she’ll do it your way for that baby. She is a support system built on knowledge, experience, and transparency.
Then there’s us, the dads. Most of the time we like to think we’re pretty knowledgable resources for clarification in life. Not this time, you’ve got secondhand context at best and a false sense of understanding. You don’t have to admit it, but I will. Birth is a beautiful mystery and you can only prepare yourself to be the best advocate you can,
a doula provides the support and affirmation required for the task at hand. Birth isn’t easy. I hope I’m not the one breaking that news to you, but it’s 100% true. It’s especially not easy when you only have the secondhand knowledge stated above. A doula represents the bridge that spans the gap we often have between what we think and what we know about birth.
Pregnancy and birth can be a roller coaster of emotions, an untamed and unpredictable ocean of possibilities. You can never truly prepare for what each new day will bring, but knowledge and experience are power. Knowing what COULD happen protects you from panicking when anything does happen. A doula can provide as little or as much information as you want, they bring an infinite pool of best practices and information that no book or article or website will provide. They go out of their way to give you the information you need and couple that with the information you WANT so you are able to experience birth with far few what ifs.
When we found out my wife was pregnant, I believe I was far more anxious than I ever imagine because I was so genuinely lost in my understanding of the topic. A doula showed me that birth wasn’t hectic or stressful, it was beautiful. She showed me the event is as calm as you make it. That your mentality and preparation will greatly effect the outcome. When we found out about baby #2, a doula was the easy decision. Someone to assist in our greatest moment of vulnerability could be nothing but positive. Someone would ALWAYS be there with the mother of my child, even if I was pulled away for who knows what reason. She provided stability and comfort when it was needed most.
Here’s the deal, I don’t like to admit when I’m wrong and I don’t like to ask for help. Total honesty, real life flaws of mine. In regards to the role a doula has played in my life, I have nearly never been more wrong and the help I received has impacted the man I am today. A doula is not someone you’re hiring to have your partner’s baby, nor are they magicians who make it some fairy tale experience, and they definitely aren’t there for the vast riches of the profession. They are there because they care about you, they care about your partner, and they care, to an incredible threshold, for that beautiful ball of life. That wonderful human they can’t wait to meet. A doula is a clear mind, an affirmative reassurance, an walking Smithsonian of knowledge, and an unrelenting advocate. Doulas amaze me, and I am honored and humbled by those who surround me. Honored because I have never know deeper loyalty, and humbled because they baffle me with the power they inspire. Pregnancy and birth, as was said, are not things I was born or equipped appropriately for. One can assume things are going well or poorly using context clues. What a doula provides is logical fact, valid research, and an affirmative “it’s gonna be ok” in a time when it’s needed most.
Thank you doulas, dads everywhere need you more than you’ll ever understand.
Doula: Natasha Woodard Gulf Coast Doula www.gulfcoastdoula.com
Childbirth Education/Doula: Kate Fillinghim http://mississippihippiemama.blogspot.com/