Mary Gillett, CD(DONA)

Certified Birth Doula

Dad's and Doulas

Recently I have heard more and more from moms who are "sold" on the idea of having a doula - an additional set of hands and a fresh perspective - as a part of their labor and delivery experience.  Some have shared that they aren't so sure that their husband or partner really wants to involve a doula in such a personal milestone in their lives.  I wanted to allow some of my dad's share their perspective on birth with a doula.   You may also want to check out this link from DONA International on doulas and dads.

Jeremy's Story:

For our 5th child, my wife wanted to do a waterbirth. It happened that Women's Hospital was now offering that as an option in the birthing center, so we purchased a used tub and Rebecca went to the classes that Women's offered. It happened to be taught by a doula. Rebecca shared her thoughts with me about possibly using a doula for this birth. She had gotten Mary's number from her midwife. I will admit, I didn't really think we needed any help. After all, this was our fifth child and so I thought we had a pretty good handle on things, but, since it was our first waterbirth and our 8-year-old daughter wanted to be there with us, I figured it couldn't hurt to meet with Mary and at least consider that having an extra set of hands might make things go smoother. 

When we met with Mary, I was put at ease pretty quickly. She had a very calm, gentle manner that made me feel like she would fit right into our birth plan. And I wasn't disappointed. I can't express how fantastic it was to have her there. She helped me set up and take down the tub. She ran interference between us and the nurses. She answered all of our daughter's questions. She went and got ice or water for Rebecca so that I could stay with her through contractions. She stepped in and massaged Rebecca's back or put counterpressure on her while I encouraged Rebecca through the contractions. And when it was time for the baby to come, she held our daughter on her lap and told her all about what was happening so that she wouldn't be scared. It was a really relaxed, comforting experience that I would gladly do again. If we are blessed with a 6th child, I will gladly call Mary to be with us again.

Kevin's Story:

I am a typical guy.  I would not consider myself crunchy.  I love football on Sunday’s, baseball in the spring, listening to loud music in the car (when I am by myself – when is that anymore?), and playing with my kids.  When my wife told me she wanted a Doula for the birth of our third child, honestly, I was insulted.

“Why do you need a Doula?”  “What can she do for you that I cannot?”  “Your birth partner is my role, why are you trying to replace me?”  Those are the three questions I asked my wife.  I truly did not understand why, all of a sudden, my help was no longer needed.  I assisted her with the birth of our first two children.  Did I do something wrong?  Why is she just now telling me?

My wife is a wonderful person, and having been with me 15 years now, she knew exactly how to answer me and diffuse my bad attitude.  She explained that she was looking for someone to help me, not replace me.  As she stated, “You mean to tell me, if I labor for 6 hours, you will never have to pee?”  She also explained that, although we have two beautiful, healthy children, she was induced with Pitocin and had two (failed) epidurals.  This time around she was determined to have a natural birth, and a water birth on top of that.  She said, “This is new to both of us, and does it really hurt to have someone there that has experience and a bag of tricks that will make this better for both of us?”  How could I argue that?  So, begrudgingly, I agreed to meet with a few Doulas.

Mary  was the first Doula we met with.  I had a bad attitude.  It showed on my face.  I acted like a complete jerk, but let me tell you…Mary didn’t bat an eye.  She answered my questions, told stories, and made me understand exactly what her role was.  When she left I knew, she was going to be our Doula. 

When my wife asked me why, I said, “Mary reminded me of some of my favorite coach’s I had when I played sports.  She assured us we would win if we were properly prepared.  She had great tips and advice to prepare for child birth, and when the day comes, she will look at us and say, ‘I got you here, now let's go do it!’  She was not there because she wanted to stand on the sidelines and cheer, she was going to be there to help with moral support, physical support, if needed, and any suggestion she could to make this birth experience exactly what you want.”  And as for me, I was very coachable and still am, I can always use someone who wants to help me do better.  All I want is my wife to have the birth experience she dreamed about.  I truly believed Mary would help us get that.

The day of the birth was quite a blur.  My wife only labored for an hour and a half.  I barely had enough time to blow up the birth tub and get the water to the minimum water line before my wife started pushing.  I don’t have a clue what we would have done without Mary.  I was in my element, fixing something, doing something useful – preparing the tub.  Mary never missed a beat.  She helped my wife and gave her the support, moral and physical, that she needed.  This birth experience, though fast, was exactly what my wife had wanted, and I was blessed with a happy mom and beautiful baby girl.

No two birth experiences are the same.  We have had three and they have all been very different.  However, I will tell you, honestly from my perspective, Mary made this last one fantastic.  I know I could not have set up the tub and given my wife the support she needed.  Mary did not get in my way, or take over.  She supported both of us exactly as we needed.  When my wife began to push, she slid out of the way and I stepped in to support my wife.  It was a perfect transition and I will always be blessed with knowing that Mary made this experience perfect for my wife, me, and our new little girl.