I want a doula, but my partner doesn't. What to do?

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Photo by flequi, used under Creative Commons license.
I'm only 13 weeks, so this is super early, but I've been thinking about how much I'd like a doula with me during labor. I'm not super crunchy, but I plan on having an unmedicated birth and I'm really happy with my choice in hospital and doctor. However, I also think a doula would provide even more support and make it as close to the experience that we want as possible. (There are no guarantees and I'm going to be flexible, but we can try, right?)

Well, the only problem is that my husband is not down with me getting a doula. It's not the idea of them (he thinks they're super helpful) or the cost, but the fact that he thinks he can be the advocate and support I'll need during the birth. I think he's amazing and absolutely will be great during the birth… but I don't know that he'll be able to remember everything from class, worry about me, worry about the baby and advocate for our birth plan while dealing with how he's about to become a father!

We're still talking and will probably interview some doulas before we make a final decision, but part of me feels terrible for possibly talking him into something he really doesn't want. Another part of me is terrified that if we don't have a doula and he isn't able to be as supportive as he wants, I might resent him for it.

Am I being selfish, and will I regret not giving him the birth he wants too? I know it's my body and I'm the one doing the work, but it's his first kid too and I want him to be as involved as he's able. — Alyssa.

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  1. Take your husband with you to meet with the doula. A good doula can explain how she can make the experience better for both of you. She's not there to replace your husband but to support the both of you.

    34 agree
    • THIS!! Exactly this!!

      I am 23 weeks along and we have hired a doula. My guy at first was apprehensive but after meeting her, he totally understood what a big help she would be. She put him at ease with what he would have to do and knowing that he would have someone to talk to besides me when he is worried about what is happening. I mean, there are going to be moments where I can not talk or function in this process.

      So take your man to some doula interviews and I think he will come around and see how she is not only a help for you but a help for him too.

      OH…ours brings snacks!! (mommy appropriate ones and ones for him too!)…maybe mention that?? haha

      3 agree
    • My husband thought he was going to be enough, but he was kinda fluttery and unsure (as I recall) and I was really glad to have my doula there, because I think she helped him almost more than she helped me. At least she was there for him to talk to when I was lost in laborland.

  2. I think that you have to trust your instincts — you're the one who will actually be giving birth, after all! My husband was super-involved and supportive during labor, but part of me actually felt guilty (guilty!) for how long I was in labor, and the fact that I wasn't changing positions as often as our childbirth instructor had encouraged, and I wasn't into doing the breathing. Maybe if I'd paid someone, I wouldn't have felt bad about being "difficult".

    Maybe try framing it this way: "Babe, I trust you and know that you're going to be super helpful during labor — but I also want to be able to connect with you emotionally during labor, and if we have a little help, you'll have to worry less about the practical stuff." A doula is someone who's attended LOTS of births. It will be your husband's first. It's nice to have someone around who's not phased by all the surprises labor has to offer.

    10 agree
    • you're the one who will actually be giving birth, after all!

      I just want to caution that this line of thinking can degrade the role that fathers can and should play in making parenting decisions.

      17 agree
      • I totally get your point Ariel, but I have to agree with Jill. This is about L&D, not parenting.
        Don't get me wrong I understand that L&D is a part if parenting but you wouldn't expectant bio-mom to just go along with the birth plan of adoptive parents.

        16 agree
        • But adoptive parents are no where near the same as a father/parenting partner. That thinking may lead to you doing something your husband/partner just isn't comfortable with. That could lead to resentment, and you would have to live with that resentment because your relationship goes beyond the birth.

          I would never hire a doula if it makes my husband uncomfortable. Even though I'M the one giving birth, it's still very important for my husband to have a good birth experience as well.

        • I'd also push back on comparing the relationship between the dad-mom-futurebaby to the relationship between adoptive parents-mom-futurebaby. Adoptive parents aren't ANY kind of parent until after the baby is born – they don't have a say because the baby being born isn't their baby – not legally, and not really until final placement decisions are made after birth. When expectant mothers who are planning to place their unborn child invite prospective adoptive parents into the labor and delivery process the dynamics are very different than they are at any point with a loving and involved expectant bio-dad.

          I've never given birth so I don't feel qualified to comment on that!

      • Sure, I understand how it could come across that way. But no matter how involved a husband is (and mine was — for almost 2 days of labor) you can't compare his role to the actual physical experience and toll on the body. And I do think that it's kind of an unreasonable expectation for him to want to be her *only* support during labor. Would we think that was okay in life? Just because your spouse is your best friend, could they demand to be our only friend?

        Again, I'm not trying to be argumentative or cause drama — I just think that if her partner really wants to support her, he should respect her instincts, which are pretty darn powerful when it comes to labor.

        22 agree
      • Whoa, I'm going to have to strongly disagree with you here, Ariel. There are major, major body ownership issues that you're missing. I do agree that most fathers should have some say in the birth planning, and I understand the conflict between, say, one partner that wants a homebirth and another partner who wants a hospital birth. However, it's the mother (and the mother's body) that will be going through the incredibly intense and transformative experience, and quite possibly painful experience of giving birth.
        There are two things that need to be considered first and foremost: the safety of the mother and child, and the emotional state of the mother.
        You can really see this play out in the worst way in relationships with abusive dynamics. I've heard so many stories of abusive partners who refused to allow the mother to get support through a doula or family member, refused to honor the mother's birth plan wishes, etc.
        Long story short, it's her body and she 100% has the right to call the vast majority of the shots (barring serious threats to the baby) during her own medical care.

        10 agree
        • Absolutely: abusive relationships are a completely different situation.

    • Thank you, that's a really good way to frame it!
      As far as me giving birth, I'm actually in line with Ariel's thinking, which is why I'm asking in the first place. I just don't feel that I can exclude his feelings in this, because it's technically my feelings that are making me WANT a doula. I'm truly not worried about the physical, I'm lucky that my hospital and doctor are two of the highest rated for natural childbirth and supporting mothers in the area. But it's the support and experience of a doula that I want, and it's his want to BE the support that I want. (I'm not explaining myself very well…)

      Because of how we work and how we try to get our marriage to work, (even when it doesn't and we scream :-) ) it just feels wrong to go with my instincts without considering his as a father because it's his experience too.

      However, the need to urge, "I DO WHAT I WANT!!!" over and over is strong. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      1 agrees
      • You're clearly considering his feelings, though, very deeply. You don't have to agree with him to be considerate.

        16 agree
  3. Get the doula! I say this both as a mother and a former L&D nurse. First-time dads are almost universally overwhelmed and are often completely useless…like the one who passed out on my feet.

    10 agree
  4. I'm having the same issue with my mother. She's a nurse (OR nurse–she's never had anything to do with birthing) and thinks she can advocate for me but at the end of the day, she's pro-intervention and won't put what I want first. I think if anything went wrong, both she and my husband wouldn't be able to help panicking and doing whatever the doctor says. Plus, I want my husband by my side and not running around arguing with doctors.

    Have you told your husband how much help a doula will be to him? Rather than leaving to get you water or a wet washcloth, he can stay by your side, encouraging and massaging, while she fetches what you need.

    At the end of the day though, a birth is not like a wedding. It's not an experience that you share in equally. I'm not saying your partner shouldn't have any say, but it's your body and you're the one doing the work so if a doula will help you feel more comfortable and you can convince him, don't feel guilty about it.

    23 agree
  5. I think its something and someone you both need to agree on. That being said, your doula might not work out how you want her to either. Good luck deciding.

    2 agree
  6. Let him know a doula won't take his place or overstep his role in the birth, if that's his worry. If you find a flexible doula, just explain your husband's concerns and have her there in an "as needed" capacity. Like a back up memory if he forgets anything (so you'll be more relaxed & focused), and even a wealth of suggestions and answers if either of you need it.

    I'm currently working on our 7th (we're using a doula in what will be our 3rd home birth), but I remember the first. Always go with your instincts. I had to learn that the hard way. Best wishes, an easy birth, and may the Goddess smile on you and yours!

    3 agree
  7. I had the same issue. My husband has a bad track record when it comes to being supportive during illness and medical treatment. Because of that, I also wanted my best friend at the birth. He was opposed, and probably offended. I was very honest about how I felt and what limitations I saw in his support. I was also worried that he might simply need breaks for food or rest.

    Ultimately, I decided I needed to do what was best for me. My husband and I discussed my friend's role as we wrote our birth plan.

    Our little boy is 12 days old and the birth went great. I loved having two support people to cheer me on. And, my friend remembered all the affirmations I wanted while my husband was able to soak in the birth.

    I probably would have been ok without the extra support person since the midwife and nurse were so supportive and would have played a greater role if she hadn't been there. But I felt so much better knowing I would have everything I needed during the birth.

    3 agree
  8. I was in labor for 3 days with my first. I thought I had enough support with my partner, best friend, mother, and aunt. But, by the end, everyone was exhausted, emotional, and mad at each other. I wish I'd hired a doula to help organize them, as well as provide me with experienced support.

    You may be lucky enough to have a short, uncomplicated labor, wherein your partner has a pretty easy time too. But that's not the norm with first births. I say, hire the doula, and if you feel like you don't need her or she's getting in the way, send her home. That way, you'll be better safe than sorry.

    3 agree
  9. One thing to note – the doula isn't there to advocate for you. She can't technically speak for you (in practice, some can sometimes) the way your husband can. What she can do is hold the space – make sure you have time to talk about decisions, and help remind you about what and why you wanted to birth the way you do, plus provide an extra set of hands for on-hand pain relief and rest.

    One thing to tell your husband – I was in labor for 26 hours. The first part of it was easy, and we went to the hospital about 6-7 hours in because of some complications, and were sent home to labor at home all night.

    So by the time we drove back to the hospital, Eric had been "on" with me for about 16 hours. He had slept maybe an hour on the floor while I labored and tried to sleep between contractions. By the time the doula came, he was exhausted, needed a quick nap and some food. Neither one of which he would have been able to get and not leave me by myself. My doula really helped me there. She was as much for him as she was for me.

    Also, my doula was a useful sounding board prior to the birth when potential complications arose. She was worth every penny we paid her.

    12 agree
    • This. My labor was short, only about 5 hours of active labor, but my husband did need to pee occasionally! Plus, you know, you end up with a newborn at the end of all that labor–it's really nice if one of the parents has slept more than 5 minutes in the last day.

      3 agree
    • Exactly. Doulas do not advocate. Your husband does. She is there for support, for BOTH of you, before, during and after delivery. She can talk to you about your options, help you with relaxation techniques and likely help with breastfeeding problems after. And she's great to give the hubby a break. She is not a replacement. A good doula will always give the husband the lead because the birth is about the family, not about her. She's just there to facilitate the event.

      My hubby had concerns about being replaced during the birth, he WANTED to be an important part of it and didn't want that role taken away from him because he gets to play such a small role during the pregnancy, it's his first chance to really participate actively. We met with a group of doulas who talked about their services and after that he really wanted to have one! He wanted to have their support and advice available to him during the delivery too, someone he could turn to when I was screaming to ask "Is that normal?" so he would know when he should be concerned.

      I hope you guys find a solution that works well for your whole family:)

      3 agree
      • This is REALLY good to know; it'll be good for him to have someone as informed back-up just in case he's unsure and doctors are pressuring him.

  10. I agree that you should have your husband meet with the doula. I gave birth at a hospital with midwives in attendance (one of the health care options that we have in Ontario). My husband was so grateful for their presence. He felt like he could be there for me while the midwives were there to help us make the important medical decisions. We took prenatal classes with our midwifery practice but my husband didn't feel like he had to memorize every single detail because we knew that our midwives would be there for us, too. Also, we knew all of our midwives ahead of time and weren't meeting them for the first time in the hospital. It's amazing how comforting a familiar face is when there are lots of people in scrubs running around.

    Explain to your husband that birthing is a long process and can be extremely hard on the partner. The doula is only a small part of the team that will bring your baby into the world. In my story, during 45 hours of labour and delivery, I had support from my husband, mom, dad, sister, 4 labour and delivery nurses, 2 anesthesiologists, 5 obstetricians and 2 midwives!

    Good luck!

    1 agrees
  11. Hiring a doula was about the best thing we did during our daughter's birth! Our situation was different, however, because my husband was not confident at all about not passing out during the process & it was because of this that we even found out what a doula was! We ended up having two during the birth because one was training under the other. I ended up getting induced, getting an epidural & having my little girl vacuum extracted, but the doulas were supportive of us through all our decisions.
    My advice for you is to remind him that he's just one person & if your labor goes on for hours & hours he might appreciate a break to eat, if nothing else. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1 agrees
  12. Labour is long and he will be with you the entire time. He's not just your support person, he's part of the birth and that can have a toll of it's own. A doula can support you both and the process. She isn't there to take over, but to create space for you and your partner to create the birth you want. While friends and family can be great, having an experienced and professional support person is so helpful. I loved my doula. She provided amazing support for us throughout my pregnancy and our birthing day.

    3 agree
  13. Almost to-be father (wife's due in a bit over a month) and I'm glad we got a doula, especially after reading books and going to our birth class. So many things could go wrong I'm looking forward to being able to have that support for me that everything is OK (or not OK) so that I can focus on supporting my wife.

    4 agree
    • We had an early (and rather frightening) birth at a hospital. We didn't have a doula, but we did go for the nurse-midwife option. With this support, I feel I was able to be very present for and supportive of my partner during labour. Moreover, we were able to focus on each other and our birth experience.

      1 agrees
  14. Doulas are for husbands too! If he's open to interviewing some candidates, then give it time and let him talk to them with you. My husband LOVED our doula and he was the first to suggest we hire her again for our second child's birth!

    The doula's role is different from that of the father. My husband was by my side the whole time, holding my hand, encouraging me, giving me sips of ice water. My doula was focused on more practical things – helping me use the bathroom (you need to pee during labor!), giving me energy boosting snacks, suggesting positions to try, etc.

    When our son was born, it was awesome to have her there taking photos so my husband could just be in the moment and look at him and snuggle with us. When it was time for us to be alone she discreetly left.

    It was wonderful – honestly, if he gives it a chance I'm sure your husband will love having a doula there. If he is supportive of you having a natural birth like it sounds it is, this will be an asset for HIM too.

    6 agree
  15. I would also suggest having him at interviews. When we interviewed doulas, my SO was there. the first one we met actually had a father-to-be call her, so we were able to "see her in action". When we went out to the truck after the meeting, I asked, "So?"

    He said, "Hun, it's your decision in the end, but she's awesome!" We hired her the next day and now my macho-man-hunting-fishing-construction worker partner is the most pro-doula guy you will ever meet. Anytime one of our friends evens mentions pregnancy he blurts out, "Get a doula. You need a doula. Here's our doula's card." It's great!

    4 agree
  16. My husband and I used a doula, Kathy, for the birth of our first child. It was the best decision we could have made and it helped us to have a natural birth. As previous folks have noted, a doula helps the father take breaks, get food, and remain calm. They also help both parents in being knowledgeable and calm about the birth process. When I had panicky questions during labor, my husband didn't know the answer, but Kathy did.

    After our birth, my husband told me that I listened to Kathy better than I listened to him. He would suggest that I drink water, take a walk, or eat and I would refuse. But if Kathy suggested the same exact thing, I would do it. I'm not sure why, but that's how it worked with us.

    DONA (Doulas of North America) has a good article on dads and doulas, which you can find here:


    Good luck

    1 agrees
    • THIS is exactly why we hired one. I know myself, and know that I will listen and take suggestions from a relative stranger better than my guy.

      1 agrees
    • I was just scanning down comments and wanting to post that exact PDF. I'm a doula and I'm always saying that I'm there for the partner (it's not always dad or a man, remember) as much as for the pregnant person. I never intrude on their time, and I'm happy to step out of the room if they need time alone, but I've never had a client's partner regret hiring me, though they often seem hesitant in the beginning.

      1 agrees
  17. Don't ever feel guilty for expressing what you need and getting what you need.


    10 agree
    • You are about to embark on one of the most physically and emotionally difficult things you will ever do. I think it is important to let your partner feel heard, but understand that in the end, it is your decision. I really wish I had a doula during the birth of my children. I didn't know about them then.

      5 agree
      • Yes, this. I know that your husband is and should be involved in decision making since he is a parent as well, but it is your body. Period. I have had two children, I never had a doula for either but I WISH I had a doula at my first. Seriously. Your husband can read all the books in the world about L&D and he will very likely still be overwhelmed at the birth. I think birth is a very emotional event for the husband and you need him to be able to be in that moment, not just taking care of you. Having a doula can help support BOTH of you. I think doulas are invaluable! (I would have had one at my second but I had a team of three midwives, so I didn't really need another woman in the room.)

        6 agree
  18. I understand his hesitation, but all the above answers are correct- a doula is there for both of you. For when his hands get sore from rubbing your back and you STILL need lower back pressure, to let him take a pee, to take pics when the two of you are baby bonding. A doula is like a day-of co-ordinator for a wedding. She is there to handle all the extras so you two can focus on whats going on. My husband and I are looking into it ourselves now- but because we have two midwives and a midwifery student we may be set!

    2 agree
  19. A doula is not a commentary on how supportive your husband is capable of being….My husband was initially dubious of whether or not we needed a doula. He and I are pretty in sync and he felt he would be able to be everything I need. Then we talked to a friend who had been in labor for 2 days. She eventually had a really sweet birth of her sweet baby boy. Her husband was exhausted. He had spent the last 40hours worrying, feeding, rubbing, supporting her and he was totally thrashed. A few days later he told her "next time, we are getting a doula. For me." Need I say that my husband came on board very quickly after talking to this friend's husband?

    I think he makes a good point and it is what ultimately won MY husband over. We don't know how long we will be in early labor or hard labor. We don't know what we will end up needing from our partners. Doulas are not there to step between the two of you or to somehow do whatever he "can't" do. No no no. They are there to help. Many times they are there to help the nonbirthing partner support the laboring momma and they do that by supporting them. Reminding HIM to eat, pee, sit down, close his eyes while mom rests. Taking over pushing on your back or hips at hour 12 when dad can't feel his feet anymore from sitting on the birth ball with you sleeping inbetween contractions on his lap. He would have a teammate in the right doula. You will be busy and will not be his teammate that day. The hospital may be rad but they will not be able to spend 1:1 the whole time. It could be very beneficial to have someone who is there for the long haul, has a bag of labor support tricks up their sleeve and who is not invested as deeply as family.

    I think intervewing some doulas is a great idea and I don't think 13 weeks is too early to talk about this stuff. You only get more hormonal and the ticking of the 40ish week clock only makes decisions seem that much more important.

    Maybe talk to some Doulas and then see if they have any families they could recommend where your husband could talk to another Dad who had a positive doula experience.

    Let him know that the right doula is there to help him as much as you and the right doula can really help you BOTH get the very best out of whatever your experience ends up being.

    Goodluck momma!

    5 agree
    • Amen. I went into labor at 9pm on a Tuesday night and my little guy wasn't born until 5am on Thursday. My husband and I barely slept in all that time, so it was a rough way to start off our new life with our sweet baby. My husband is an amazing guy and handles medical situations very calmly and assertively, we both think after the fact it would have been amazing to have a doula there to help us out! I never thought I would snap at him in labor but I have vague memories of being very short with him while I was in some intense back labor. I ended up getting an epidural after 24 hours of labor because I was sooo exhausted (which I definitely did not plan for), but my husband was concerned about me so he stayed up while I fitfully dozed. I wish we could have had a doula help me out while he got some much-needed rest! I was at an amazing hospital that really respects your birthing plan with very kind and supportive nurses, but those gals get busy and can't always be there. I wish my husband could have gotten to enjoy the birth of our firstborn without all the added pressure and stress and being my sole support team in the delivery room. Take your partner to doula interviews, and make the decision together :)

      3 agree
  20. Tell him that you'll need all the support you can get! Two people is better than one, especially if one of them is trained and experienced! Plus it means that he can take a break to gk to the bathroom, get a snack or even take a nap (essential things, especially in a long labour).

    Make it clear that the doula will in no way be replacing his support but just augmenting it. They do a great job of reminding you to change positions, eat and drink, something which it's hard for mum and dad to think about in the moment. It's also useful to have someone experienced on hand to tell you when to go to the hospital (if you're having a hospital birth) and reassure you that things are progressing normally. Something which neither you nor your husband will know (presuming this is your first child). Also, a doula is there to support *both* of you. My husband said he found it almost traumatic to see me in labour ( someone you love is in pain and you can't stop it) and having someone to support him as well as me was really useful

    Plus, having a doula leads to better outcomes! Surely your partner would want that :)

    My mum is a midwife in the UK and paid for us to have a doula (we're in the US). She's seen firsthand what a difference they make to labouring women and highly recommends then. Having just been through my first birth, I would also recommend getting one!

    Meet some doulas with your partner. Get them to explain their role and how they can help.

    Good luck!

    2 agree
  21. When I look back at the birth of my daughter, the only thing I wish I'd done differently is have a doula. We didn't have any close family or friends that we wanted at her birth. The whole idea of that was just icky to me. We also had no friends with kids, so even though we went to a birthing class, we were not prepared for what came. Sure our bags were packed, our ipod charged and loaded, and our birth plan typed up with jokes inside to make the readers laugh and let us know they actually did read it. But when it came to giving birth, oish, I wish I had someone there to help me who knew what she was doing.

    Our hospital has 40 L&D rooms, every one was full that day. My Midwife delivered 5 babies in the time I was there so I only saw one (they changed shift during my time there) a total of 3 times. Once to say hi. Once to check me before I opted to have an epidural and last when I delivered which actually only took less than 10 minutes of pushing (it was crazy fast). I don't think I saw a nurse more than 10 times for a few minutes a pop and I was in L&D for 12 hours until birth.

    During that time your partner has to go eat, has to go out of the room. It's hard on them too. I guess I figured a nurse would be around or something, but there was no one, just silence and the awful movie choices I had on their tv. My husband went down for lunch and that's when my contractions kicked into high gear. I'll spare the gory details, but will say, they were gory I was doing fine coping until then, breathing, focusing, doing fine, but when they intensified and I tried to get in the shower (no tub rooms available) and it didn't work and gory stuff I knew would happen but didn't know would happen (if that makes sense) happened… well it was bad. I couldn't get my focus back, couldn't breathe through the pain, couldn't bare it anymore and was completely freaking out when my husband came back in. That was a good 45 minutes I was alone and that resulted in my deciding to go ahead and have an epidural. I just couldn't do it, and as wonderful as my husband was (and is!) there was no way for him to help me get back to a place of peace.

    The point here is, not to scare you, but as great as your partner is and will be during the birth, he won't be there every second, and you need someone. And having a doula, takes the stress off of him, and gives him support as well when you won't be able to. A doula, while primarily for the birthing mother, is there for the family too, I believe. Maybe that will help him see how important having someone outside of you and he there is.

    1 agrees
  22. A good doula is there just as much to support your husband as she is to support you, and I think that's the thing that husbands (and birth partners in general) fail to grasp and what makes them hesitant to hire one. They envision the doula as a person who usurps their role, but in truth a doula tailors her role during labor to match what the family needs, so, if your husband is playing a very active coaching role, the doula will likely fill a very tertiary role, getting drinks and snacks, taking over when he needs to use the bathroom, ordering the first meal after birth, etc. If your husband forgets something you learned in class, she can simply lean in and remind him. And the doula will provide him with the encouragement that birth partners so seldom get because everyone is praising the mom (which, of course, they should, but birth partners also work hard and deserve some encouragement).
    I think the most beneficial reason to have a doula is that since a doula is not emotionally attached to the situation in the same way as the family is, the doula is able to maintain a calm head when stressful thing happen, and help to keep you both in control of your experience. The doula can say "the medical team is talking about a departure from the birth plan. Do you want to ask any questions or thunk about it for a while?" A doula can't tell the hospital staff to do anything on your behalf, but she can help the two of you to keep your voices during an overwhelming and confusing situation, and that is the number one thing that helps you to have an empowering birth experience even when things don't go as you hoped.
    When I was pregnant with my son, my mother was my birth partner. She was much like your husband, she thought she could handle all the responsibilities of being my birth coach and that a doula would only butt in on her role. After the birth, however, she became the biggest cheerleader for doulas I know. She tells everyone that no one should have a baby without one. I think for her the best part was being freed up to support me and participate in the birth on an emotional level, rather than being stressed out with all the clinical stuff. She didn't feel like her role was usurped, she felt like she was free to really be the loving partner instead of having the sole responsibility of making sure I was progressing normally and my birth plan was being followed. But now that I'm a doula, I attend all kinds of births where partners do take on the main clinical roles to ones where partners are happy to hand clinical responsibilities over to me and just focus on emotional support and involvement.
    If you guys decide against a doula, I recommend a really thorough child birth education class. The best ones are 8-12 weeks in length with classes lasting several hours a piece. Bradley classes area great choice for the husband who wants to do it all.
    Good luck and have a great birth!

    1 agrees
  23. My hubby was the same, he didn't think I needed a doula, but I kinda put my foot down after having a awful medicated first birth, I was set on a unmedicated birth with minimal interventions and I knew a doula would help me get that if it was at all possible. He in the end trusted me and put his own bruised ego aside and now after our amazing birth of our precious daughter he is also a doula convert and claims he would never let me labour without one lol. He was pissed with me at first, he was offended, but I knew he needed the emotional support too even if he wasn't going to admit it. Our first birth was traumatic and long and he felt that he let me down. Our doula built us both up, helped us process and trust our birth professions again, she also gave us heaps of educational stuff, books to read and she had some great ideas to get baby into the right position for birth. At the birth she was awesome and her and my DH where a great team. Go for it, I've never heard a DH say the regretted the doula being there ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1 agrees
  24. Birth is a marathon, not a sprint. Although it will be a special time for you and your hubby, most likely you are both going to be exhausted and the doula doesn't just support you, she may also support him.

    I would think of it like a wedding planner. You don't NEED one, but gosh, wouldn't it be nice to have someone taking care of the details on the big day, so you can focus on being the bride (laboring mama). During my birth at home, all I really remember is me and my husband, the midwife and all of her support (amazing!) is fuzzy. It will most likely be the same with the doula. I don't know of anyone who has ever said. Gosh, I wish I hadn't gotten that doula! She was totally worthless! lol

    Good luck, mama!

    2 agree
  25. Having a doula makes a WORLD of difference. My husband was the same way with our first; he wanted to be my only support, but I insisted on having my mom there. I am so glad I did because when he was tired or wanted to run out for some food he didn't have to worry about me being left alone. I ended up having pitocin and an epidural because I didn't know anything about child birth (aside from the 6 hour class we took) and we didn't have a birth plan advocate, like a doula. We moved to a different city before I had our second and one of my close friends was training to become a doula. Since my mom wasn't going to be able to be there I asked her if she would be interested and the difference was night and day. She had knowledge that neither my husband or mother had, and there's something soothing in being supported by someone who understands what your body is going through from experience (I know not all doulas are mothers, but it helped me a lot). For our third there was no question about whether we would have a doula or not and it was my dream birth. There really is a lot that a doula can bring to the table that your husband needs to consider. Yes, your partner should be a big part of it, but when it comes down to it your comfort and safety are the name of the game and it helps to have a player on your team that knows the rules. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Good luck, and congratulations!

    1 agrees
  26. From my perspective, doulas are worth their weight in gold. No platinum.
    I really cannot imagine my natural, out-of-hospital birth that quickly turned into 30 hours of labor at the hospital only to turn into a c-section without the support of my doulas. (I had two, one we hired and one close friend who was able to travel to be with me during the birth). My partner is everything I would want in a partner, but there was no way that he could have given me all of the support I needed. I mean, he had to sleep, eat, get fresh air, etc. sometime during those 30+ hours and thankfully I had my doulas there. They all complemented each other so nicely. Not to mention their familiarity with the hospital routines and discourse…they were there to "translate" and advocate for me when me and partner had no idea of how to take in all of the information/communicate to hospital staff.

  27. After all of these great comments all I have to say is "ditto".

    2 agree
  28. I wish I would have had more information when I was pregnant. I would have totally had a doula. My husband thought he was going to be my rock, but in the end he didn't stay with me for the birth. Not for lack of of wanting, simply when I started to crown he was the perfect romantic comedy style fainter haha. It just goes to show that no matter how much he thought he could do it, nothing is certain. Still, to this day, I will never forgive myself for not making sure my needs were met first. I love my husband to death and he is an amazing father, but I ended up being the one there for myself the day my babe came into this world. That is something a lot of mommas can do, but it wasn't what I wanted and nothing is wore than feeling resentment on your big day. Good luck!

    1 agrees
  29. From my perspective as a dad, it's nice to have backup, and a doula is someone who can fill in as needed, freeing me up to focus on whatever I can do best at that moment. For the birth of our son (our first child), we had a "professional", who's since become a good friend. For our second, my wife's childhood best friend, an L&D nurse, was able to join us and fill in that role (and so much more). I highly recommend having someone to support both of you. During a brief crisis during our son's complicated birth, our doula was able to hold it together for a few minutes when I couldn't, and I'll always be grateful for that.

    2 agree
  30. If you feel you need the added support of a doula, you should hire one. Your husband will probably be wonderful, but he'll be overwhelmed as well, and a good doula will be able to help in ways that allow both of you the best experience. Partners need doulas too, because while you'll be giving birth, he'll be stressed.

  31. Disclaimer: I am a doula.

    I wish we'd had a doula at my labor. I had my partner, my mom, my best friend, and three midwives. (Before transferring to the hospital!) But I would have exchanged my mom and my best friend, as much as I love them, for a good doula. Neither of them was assertive enough to take over when my partner was too exhausted to keep going. My labor ended up being a bit traumatic for him. I think he would have had a better experience (and a better postpartum experience) if we'd had a doula.

    The thing is, not only are so many new fathers unfamiliar with the course of labor (not their faults!), but they may never have seen their partner in such a challenging, raw situation. Having someone present who knows what's going on and isn't emotionally invested and can help guide you both through is worth it. A good doula will not supplant your husband's role; she'll facilitate it.

    2 agree
  32. While I agree with a lot of the comments made here, I wanted to give another perspective. My husband and I are very private people and we really value our independence. We also have a naturopathic doctor who literally saved my life last year. If all works out, when I'm pushing, it'll be her, my husband and a midwife in the room. We also have friends and family nearby who will be able to sub my husband out if necessary.

    Sure a doula would compliment my husband but given the amount of support we have, I just don't think it's necessary in our case. I would rather put the money into having my naturopathic doctor attend my birth, and use our medical for a midwife, who would work with her (where I live in British Columbia, you can have either a midwife or a doctor attend your birth under our medical coverage). While I could see why some women might want a team, including the women in their family, that would cause me a lot of anxiety. I'd prefer not to have many people in the room, and so I really have to consider who I want there and how many people I can connect to, given who I am and who my husband is. For us, a doula doesn't quite make the list, though if our naturopath can't do it, I think we'll change our minds fairly quickly.

    1 agrees
  33. As many others have said, a Doula is not just there for you, but also for your partner. Think of labour as a theatre – you and your partner will have a tough time remembering your lines, your positions and your cues without adding other stress. Your Doula is your behind-the-scenes crew – they are there to make sure everything is running smoothly, change the set, find your props, and prompt you if you miss your cue. A good Doula will do as little or as much as you need.

    I acted as a Doula in the UK, so some of these examples may not be appropriate for a hospital birth. When I was called over the first thing I did was check on Mama and Papa and find out how long they had been going prior to my arrival. I would then check on any older children in the house, make sure they knew what was going on, make sure they were fed and watered and that a friend or family member was coming to look after them (if they weren't there yet I would support the child/children as much as possible until they arrived). I then made Papa some food and prepped some fluids/ice chips/food for Mama. I would take over physical support whilst Papa took a break (including a nap if need be). I would time contractions. I would communicate with the midwives/medical professionals and make sure they had a copy of the birth plan to hand and understood any wishes regarding pain relief etc. I would recommend labour positions and breathing techniques to help manage any pain. Since I am a bit 'crunchy' as are most of the people I worked with, I would often set up crystals/candles/scented oils/music etc. I used affirmations/songs/meditations/breathing techniques to help Mama and Papa cope. If I was asked, I would take pictures throughout the labour as a birth record. If the waters had already broken, or broke whilst I was there I would clean up. If Mama was sick, I would clean up. I would run baths, fetch food and drink, find items the midwives needed, answer the phone, answer the door, change the bedsheets, whatever anyone needed – I was your 'Go To' girl. I never took over the partners role – unless I was asked to. After the baby arrived, I would clean up, change the bedsheets, put on the laundry, give Mama a bath whilst Papa cuddled the bubba, found clean clothes, organised panties and maternity pads, freeze the placenta (if they were keeping it), cooked a meal, cleaned the dishes, cleaned the house, prepped clothes and diapers for the baby the next day, and a few hours after the baby was born I would head home and write a birth story for the family to keep. Post-partum I would visit for a few days to check up on everyone and help whatever way I could.

    Your partners role is to love and support you – and that is so important – but it is also to participate, to be present, to immerse himself in the birthing process as a Papa. As many people have pointed out, that process is long, hard and emotionally overwhelming. Anyone who can help, even if that is just to make sure everyone is fed and watered, will be a welcome relief in those long, overwhelming hours. Interview Doulas together, find someone who can support both of you and is down to earth enough to just fetch, carry and clean if that is all you need. But find someone who can give you BOTH the peace of mind to fully experience the birthing process.

    2 agree
  34. My doula was a huge support to my husband during labor. It was a long labor and she was able to give him breaks when he needed to get some food or whatever. Having an experienced person there to assure him was and guide him in what he needed to remember to do was a huge help for me because nothing was forgotten. Once you get to the actual labor and emotions are running high it's easy to forget everything.

    1 agrees
  35. A doula is there to support BOTH of you. Plus, it is super helpful to have a second, very experienced, person there especially for your first child, because you are going to have so many, "is this normal?" questions that a doula will be able to put in perspective – which your husband won't really be able to do unless he's attended & helped in a fair number of births himself. It's not that he won't be enough support for you, it's that when both you and he are exhausted, a doula will be able to keep you both comfortable & keep things in perspective. When nurses & doctors urge towards one option, she may be able to help you ask the questions you need to ask in order to get information on all of your options.

    Also, let's be real. At some point during labor, your husband is going to need to pee. If he is feeling that he will be enough to be your only support during this experience, should he feel guilty leaving you alone every time he needs to use the bathroom? When he runs to grab a snack? If he needs to take a nap? Of course not. Having a doula there means he never has to leave you alone (unless, of course, you request some alone time).

  36. I didn't read any other comments, but thought I would give my $.2… If you explain that the doula can be there purely if he needs her, that might help. I am training to be a doula, and I have attended a few births. Usually I am there for when the father needs help. The mother calls the shots, until she doesn't. Then it's him. Does the mom need a drink but also needs her partner to be comforting her? That's where a doula comes in. She is not just for the mom. She is for both parents.

  37. Explain to him that the doula is for BOTH of you! It didn't matter how many books we read, who we talked to, or how much we prepared; everything went out the window when I went into labor. The doula took care of both of us during/after my med free hospital birth. I picked my doula based on her emphasis on what a big role dad plays in labor. The two were a great team. Because of her, I would feel more comfortable the second time around with just him being the only support with the ticks he picked up from her during labor, but I think he would jump at the chance to have her there!

  38. So, I am a little biased because I am a doula, but doulas can be a huge help to partners during labor. unlike the plethora of ever-changing nurses you are likely to have in a hospital, your doula will be with you throughout your entire labor. and labor can take a long time! what is your partner needs a nap? or gets scared and would like an explanation about something? a doula has the time and patience to sit down and cover all of these topics, where as your nurse or doctor may not have the time. part of a doula's role is to act as your advocate, and he or she will not be afraid to be pushy or speak up to the nurses and doctors if they try to go against your wishes, which is sometimes intimidating for partners in the heat of the moment.

    there are a ton of great articles about doulas and daddies online. maybe print a few out and leave them for him? doula and dad can work together. your doula is not there to take over. he or she is there to help.

    as far as cost goes, plenty of new doulas working toward their dona or kappa certification work for free until they get it! contact your local birthing centers and midwifery schools or check out the dona website and you are certain to find a doula that will work for free!

  39. You're the one giving birth. You get to decide. Period.

    2 agree
    • As a doula, though, I have to say, it helps to get the partner on board before the birth. It is so hard for me to do my job when there are people in the room who don't want me there, especially when that person is the partner. I've worked in a few situations like that before, and I want to help, not cause resentment, which is why I agree with other people's advice to make choosing a doula a process that's done together. I know as the doula, I want to get along with everyone at the birth, and it helps to meet beforehand and make sure we're ALL a good fit.

  40. I told my husband before I gave birth that if something happened and I had to be separated from the baby immediately after birth for medical reasons, I wanted him to be with the baby. Thank goodness that didn't happen, but if it had I would have wanted him to not worry about leaving me alone.

    1 agrees
    • This is one of the primary reasons I want a doula for our second childbirth in a few months. My first baby was taken away after birth and his father went with him briefly but then came back to me because he felt like he should. In the meantime, in a mercifully brief NICU stint, our baby was bathed without his father there, and he was also given a pacifier. This ended up causing us lots of start-up nursing problems.

      I want a doula this time so that my husband can stay with the baby, PERIOD, if something comes up, and I will have my own support as I am transferred up to my room (and my mother has time to get to the hospital; she will not be there for the birth as she is an extremely anxious person and it would do me in). ALSO, because I was not able to nurse right away last time, and because I have flat nipples that make nursing challenging anyway at first, I really want some extra help when I hopefully nurse right away this time and the doula I have chosen is also a lactation consultant.

  41. What I have to say has already been said here by so many others… the doula is there for your husband too!. We delivered in a hospital, and though our nurse-midwife was awesome, our doula was really the reason we made it through the 36 hour labor and delivery. Our doula arrived at the hospital only 15 minutes after us and stayed the whole time. Because of her, my husband was able to occasionally leave the room to eat, talk to family, or simply take a short break (at one point to cry on my mom's shoulder). After laboring for the first 24 hours unmedicated, trying every position, walking, getting in the bath, etc, it was our doula who helped me to feel okay with getting an epidural so I could rest. She agreed that it the epidural would allow me to have the vaginal birth I really wanted and avoid a C-section. She suggested I look at it as simply "another tool in our birthing tool-kit). My husband was amazing, but he was nearly as exhausted as me at that point and did not have the experience or the emotional energy to help me through that difficult decision. I would HIGHLY recommend a doula for anyone. BTW, my doula was also a licensed massage therapist. BONUS!

  42. Y'ALL. Question-asker here and I cannot thank everyone enough. The response has been amazing and super helpful. AND, while it's strengthened my desire for a doula, it's also strengthened my desire for him to truly understand why I want one but NEED him there. Thank you all for so many great comments and advice, which I hope keep coming because I love all these stories!!

    3 agree
  43. you might kick yourself for not hiring a doula. my husband broke down and cried from stress and worry watching me go through labor… and that was when i was about 9cm dilated! he has never cried in our entire relationship, he's just not an outwardly emotional guy. labor cracked him! he was with me in the hospital for two nights getting a little bit of sleep the first night and zero the second night.

    please let your husband know that natural labor is a crazy experience and that he will benefit from a doula's services just as much as you will. doulas are very special people in that they can bring a sense of calm to many situations that pop up during the birthing process. no, she cannot advocate for you, but she will know what she CAN do to help slow things down and get you the time you need to have your baby in the way that is best for your family.

    hiring a doula has been proven to help laboring women avoid the "cascade of intervention" that can really up your chances of needing a c-section. lots of women say c-sections aren't that bad, but mine sucked. a lot. and i don't want you to go through that if you don't have to. vaginal birth was easier on my body and the difference in my recovery time was amazing.

    i am certain that your husband will be a great birth partner. i am also certain that a doula will help him be the GREATEST birth partner.

  44. I would really suggest getting a doula, I wish I had one during my daughter's birth. But I also wish that I had chosen a home birth instead of going to the hospital.

  45. I agree with everyone else here, but I wanted to add, as someone who mistakenly thought they didn't need a doula, that I think not wanting a doula can stem from thinking you know how labor will go. You've read all the books, had all the classes, know all the tricks, whatever. You're sure it'll be fast, you'll be able to handle it, back labor pain is all in the mind, or whatever kind of nonsense. Truth is, you have no idea how it will really go. Having one more experienced, patient, helpful, supportive, voice of reason in this situation can only be a good thing.

  46. Any Doula worth her salt will be more than happy to connect your husband with other dads who can give him first hand commentary about a Doula's (quite necessary) role in childbirth.

  47. keep your husband involved! Having a doula does not mean he should be any less involved. Make sure he knows that you want him to be involved and that the doula will not replace him.

    I strongly believe in the power of women supporting women during labor. Don't underestimate it.

  48. I was the non-gestational parent with our first child, and I was the one who was advocating for a doula when my partner was not opposed, but not strongly in favor, either. I wanted someone to be there who could spell me for a minute so that I could go pee, or who could go ask the nurses something so that I didn't have to leave my wife, etc. I wanted someone there who knew more than I did, so that I could just focus on *being* there for my wife, for whatever she needed, rather than worrying about needing to *do* something. And, to be totally honest, I wanted someone there to be my support, if I needed it.

    Our son's birth wasn't terribly long (well, active labor wasn't, my poor wife was in pre-labor for three days…), and it wasn't particularly complicated, but we were both SO grateful to our doula for being there. I really feel like she helped us both have the birth experience we wanted. And, as an added bonus, she took pictures, so that I didn't have to worry about that either. I'm enormously grateful for those, as well.

    We're about to start trying for our second (my turn to carry this time), and I think one of the first things we do after the stick turns positive will be to call up our doula and ask if we can book her immediately for the second one, too.

    I can understand your husband wanting to be the support you need, but if it helps, my experience was that having a doula is what allowed me to be the support my wife needed. She's what let me be totally in the moment with my wife, and that's an amazing gift. Our doula gave us *both* the birth we wanted.

    I would say ask him to try to keep an open mind, and interview a couple of doulas with you. Hopefully you can find one that you both click with, and she can help him understand how helpful a doula can be for *both* of you. Best wishes to both of you!

    2 agree
  49. Talk him into it! I researched doulas but decided against it for several (stupid) reasons. My husband was fantastic through my pregnancy. We practiced labor massage techniques at his insistence and read about pain management and what to expect. Fast-forward to my actual labor. It's 4am and we had JUST gone to bed when my water broke. I am a very stoic person so just seeing me in pain and panicking was enough to completely freak him out. Add in a total lack of sleep and there was no way either of us could remember most of the details of our birth plan. The nurses were zero help. Although I had purposefully chosen a birthing space that offered a tub, no one suggested that I get in it. I was happy with my labor over-all but I know that it could have been much, much better and more empowering with a doula.

    1 agrees
  50. This may have already been said but it's not just about support for you during labor it's for him too. This is going to be physically and emotionally draining on both of you and having a support system that is somewhat "outside" of your family unit and what the birth of your child will mean to your family could be really helpful. She will be able to be much more level headed and your partner may need that just as much as you do. It's not a question of his ability to support you it's about having someone ther to help you both through the labor.

    1 agrees
  51. My husband and I were the opposite– HE wanted a doula, I thought he would be enough support! In the end we did hire a doula, and I'm so glad we did. They played different roles… my husband supported my weight when I was squatting during contractions while she read me hypnobabies scripts, for example. When he took a break (during 18 hrs of labor!) she was with me, and vise versa. Also don't underestimate how helpful it is to have someone there who has been to hundreds of births and can reassure you when weird things happen along the way!

    1 agrees
  52. As a doula, I'm a little bit biased in this, but I think doulas are an invaluable tool! Most doulas will do one or two prenatal visits with you and your partner, to help figure out what you want your birth experience to look like. We suggest books to read, classes to take, movies to watch; any and all forms of making sure everyone involved is as educated as possible!

    During the labor, most doulas would be with you from early labor on through after the baby is born. We not only hold the space for you, but support you and your partner, physically and emotionally. We can suggest a miriad of positions to help keep you active during active labor, relaxation techniques to help keep you calm during and in between contractions, bring you food and water to keep your energy up, hold your hair when you throw up, you name it. Our job is to NEVER replace the partner, but to help encourage the partner (if you have one) to be more active, knowledgable, and supportive during your (likely) long labor. If decisions need to be made, we cannot speak for you to medical staff, but we can ask them to give you a few moments to discuss the options available, and to help remind you of what you wanted.

    After the delivery of your baby, most doulas spend two or so hours helping you to get settled and comfortable; if you birthed at home, most times we'll even start that first load of laundry and dishes, take out the trash, whatever we can do to help your new start!

    Doulas come in every price range, and can be found everywhere! We love, love, love helping families.

    1 agrees
  53. I agree with all the comments in favour of a doula, and just wanted to add that even if you have a very short birth (as I did the 2nd time), once the baby is out, if they take her/him to check anything, you will probably want your partner to go with the baby, but you'll also be glad to have a second someone to hold you or whatever you need at that point.

  54. I wish I had a doula at my birth. In the end, my husband and support were so worried about me that no one remembered what I wanted, and the doctor was so busy, she didn't have time to sit and tell me what was normal or suggest pain remedies that didn't involve an epidural.

  55. Just a different perspective–my husband and I were similarly undecided about doulas and ended up not getting one. And it was great–I really ended up only wanting him there. We're a really good team and I trusted him in a way I don't trust other people. As for labouring, I ended up just wanting to do it on my own. All I wanted from my husband was hugs or pats so I felt his presence.

    If you're an independent person who likes to do things yourself and you don't take direction well, perhaps you're the kind of person who'd do fine without a doula. But it really has to do with the kind of person you are, not the kind of person your husband is.

    1 agrees
  56. If your husband wants to be your main support during labor, a doula is a good way for him to achieve that. Many men want, so badly, to be helpful during the labor, but just don't know how. Doulas will typically show a dad how to do the hands-on support, not kick him out to help out herself. And taking turns, in case of a long labor-which most first births are- can be invaluable. I hope your guy comes around… the best, safest birth for you and your baby will happen when you are as relaxed as you can be. So whatever gives you the most peace of mind will be the right solution. Good luck and congratulations!

  57. I think my husband initially felt the same way but I can safely say that he was VERY happy that we had a doula! I always felt that although the doula was there for me, she was also VERY much there for my husband! I had a TON of intense back labour for like 10 hours and basicallu needed someone putting constant pressure on my back at all times. My doula was able to this and my husband was able to be "with me" the whole time-he was by my face and was able to rub my shoulders and move my hair, get the fan, water, blanket, whatever (and they could switch off with each other). I felt like I was so connected with my husband because my doula was there. I also wanted a doula so that we would have someone who had been through birth before and knew what was normal and not. She was also able to offer positioning suggestions that my husband (although incredibly supportive) would not have known would help given the progression of things.
    My husband would be the first to tell you that it was the best money we've ever spent-and that he doesn't know if he'd have been able to give all the physical help I needed-and it enabled him to be "with me" 100%!! I HIGHLY recommend a doula-and absolutely have your partner meet with her too!!

  58. I just had a doula-assisted birth, and both my husband and I can confidently say that she was invaluable. He was a little dubious at first for similar reasons to your husband. He was confident that he could be all the support I needed and he felt fully prepared and had been really actively involved in all the learning/planning I did throughout the pregnancy. Through conversations with the doula, however, he realized that having her involved was not bringing in any kind of replacement or surrogate; it was adding another set of resources. She was willing to do anything and everything from go buy him a soda to hold my leg during pushing (both of which she did gloriously), and she was another set of ears to absorb important information as it was given to us. As many others have said, have him sit down and talk with your potential doula. I'm sure she or he will be able to explain a doula's role in a way that your husband finds to be as valuable as you do!

    1 agrees
  59. As a mom who used a doula alongside a very capable and willing dad, I can't emphasize enough how amazing and helpful it was (for both of us) to have her there. It was part of what inspired me to later become a doula and natural childbirth instructor. So the doula in me would suggest that you ask potential doulas for a reference from a dad or see if you can find a dad that would talk to your husband about the benefits from the non-laboring partner's perspective. He might be surprised. I often say that one of my jobs as a doula is to make sure dad looks good by suggesting things he could be doing to comfort you. Plus I assure you that after an hour of doing hip squeezes on you he might appreciate an extra pair of hands to trade off with. Good luck. I have a feeling he will come around as it gets closer.

  60. I'm a little late to this party but I had to chime in. My husband felt the same about my mom as yours does about the doula. We talked it out a few times, me just taking in what his concerns were, and when it was about two months from the finish line I gently put my foot down… With both of them.

    I told my mom I wanted her there but he was worried about being undermined, even accidentally, so if I saw that happening I would have to ask her to leave. I didn't anticipate a problem at all because she's great with boundaries, but I had to be able to tell him that I drew the line on his behalf. When I spoke with him, I told him that this was ultimately my choice, because it's my body doing the work and I don't know how I'll feel in the moment. I acknowledged that I may not want anyone there, but he would be the #1 coach and he could correct her if she overstepped.

    He got used to the idea, everything went great and she helped teach him how to coach me, and stepped back once he got it. I hope you can reach a good outcome!

  61. I don't think you need to feel guilty if you convince him. You have shown you are committed to ensuring you have his support and consent, so it seems like you're more looking to illustrate your position than to coerce him. And there IS a difference there! Saying "I want this for me for ABC and for you for XYZ, so I'm asking you to educate yourself and support me in this way (or at least be willing to make an informed decision even if you still don't agree)" is different than "I'll buy you that ___ you've always wanted if you cave on this." The end result might be the same, but the feelings involved are totally different. The latter can easily breed resentment, whereas the former is less likely to, in my opinion.

    That being said, I feel like there are three votes here. Yours, his and the baby's. As much as you don't want to hurt his feelings, if you sincerely believe that the baby could end up healthier as a result of having a mama who feels that all the bases are covered, and as a result of making sure your husband has the support he needs while you're busy–and you have the support you need if he needs to step away–then maybe you need to play that card.

    My recommendation is to ask him to communicate what his resistance is to the idea. Is he concerned he won't be included in the birth process? That the doula will replace him and he will be relegated to boiling water? You also need to communicate the reasons you want this. Is it so you have a calm person around who is experienced but not medical? Is it so he has someone to talk to if you're busy? Is it so your man can nap sometimes too? Get all that out on the table and then ask him to compromise: Meet with the doulas, and have them address their thoughts on all the issues the two of you bring up. If he can hear them explain that he won't be relegated to boiling water, that's a bit different than you saying it. Then he can make an informed decision. If he still disagrees, maybe it's not worth fighting over. But if the reasons for it include the feelings and health of mama and baby, and his feelings are the only thing in the way, I think logic dictates that he accede the issue as being for the greater good.

    1 agrees
    • very, very, very well said. you must be or often deal with a rational personalty type. this is how i get my hubby to agree to stuff.

  62. A doula does not replace your partner; s/he supports you both. My husband and I were so glad we chose to hire a doula. I wanted a natural birth but experienced some unexpected complications that were very scary for my partner. My doula was able to remain calm and objective even when my husband wasn't. She was able to support and reassure him and was able to show him how best to support me. And when my OB attempted to pressure me into unnecessary interventions, our doula was able to back us up and give us the confidence to stand up for what we wanted. My husband and I both agree that without our doula, our birth would likely have turned out much different.

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