UPDATED - DH and the Doula Connundrum

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Sweet Pea Twins's picture
Joined: 09/08/09
Posts: 922
UPDATED - DH and the Doula Connundrum

DH is being reluctantly supportive of the idea of having a doula, but not exactly enthusiastic. It kind of seems like he feels like I don't trust that he'll be enough support for me - though both the doula and I stated otherwise. I haven't signed the contract yet, because I have just not yet felt like I have gotten to the point where I can commit without DH's full support. I know it sounds dumb - I am the one who will be laboring and attempting NCB for the first time, and it should be my choice, but it's DH's first time going through all of this, and I don't want him to feel minimized - KWIM? And the fact that the doula costs a significant chunk of money (though I don't think $500 is all that bad!) isn't helping my cause. He continuously tells me that he'll support me and that I can do what I want, but that he doesn't really think that the doula is necessary. He says that between the birthing class (which is not a NCB class, but a regular hospital birthing class) and the fact that this is my third pregnancy, that we should be able to handle it ourselves. He asked me to wait until after the childbirth classes are over (in mid June - WAY TOO CLOSE to my due date to expect that my chosen doula will still have availability for me!) because he thinks that he'll learn everything there that can help me labor naturally as I am wanting to do.

So I thought that maybe reading The Birth Partner might give him some ideas about what it means to support me during labor, and maybe reinforce the idea that a doula would be helpful. But I haven't read it, yet. Those who have read it, do you think it would help or hinder my cause in this case? Any other suggestions on how to reinforce my desire to DH and to get him on board with the doula idea?

And let me add, here, that I really think that a doula will be very important in my journey to NCB - I have a feeling that without that experienced support line that I will cave early and ask for an epi or something along those lines. I am just not sure that I will be as strong as I want to be when the laboring becomes hard...
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UPDATE:
So last night DH and I talked about it again... and he told me that if I think I need a doula and it's that important to me, I should go ahead and hire her. He's still not completely on board, but he said that he's in my corner, and if it's what I want, he'll stand behind me and be supportive. He did say that he reserves the right to kick her out of the birthing room if he has to - I see no reason why that would happen, so I told him it's a done deal... LOL I can only hope that when all of this is over, and we have our baby boy, he'll be thankful that she was there. Smile Thanks for the help, ladies - letting him read this post and all of your responses was part of the reason, I think, that he is being supportive. Smile

knhoward's picture
Joined: 04/22/08
Posts: 999

My DH wasn't really in favour of having a doula...until he actually met with her and found out what she did. Now my DH is really gung ho and excited about the whole thing. He feels that it takes some pressure of him to have an extra set of helping hands around. Also, since we are planning a home birth our doula will help with the cleanup and DH doesn't like to clean. My DH's employer will pay for our doula - so that factor helped my DH get into it as well.

Has your DH actually met with your potential doula and discussed her role? Maybe that would help a bit?

Sweet Pea Twins's picture
Joined: 09/08/09
Posts: 922

"knhoward" wrote:

Has your DH actually met with your potential doula and discussed her role? Maybe that would help a bit?

Yes, we met with her in person a week and a half ago. I thought she did a great job of articulating what it is she does, how she supports both of us, and what she WON'T do (take DH's place, go against our wishes, make decisions for us, speak directly with our doctors without being asked to, etc.). It didn't seem to help.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

I had a friend who's DH was set against a doula. Felt very much like yours does, but she got one anyways. He is now the biggest proponent for Doula's I know. Tells everyone they should get one! Dont know if that really helps you at this point, but might take a bit of the guilt out of signing the contract without DH fully on board.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I personally think it's important to have two really good support people when you're in labor. Not because one can't do the job, but because that one person might get tired or hungry or need to take a crap (which seems to take men far longer than it should) or get a cramp in his hand & need to ice it. Then you have a second person available. Also, does he really *want* to be doing the hard work of standing in one awkward position squeezing your hips together for an hour straight or does he want to be the one who whispers sweet assurances in your ear? I know a dad IRL who missed both of his kids' births because he was so exhausted from the work of labor, he fell asleep & they couldn't wake him up when it was game time! The second time mom wanted to hire a doula & he said no, and it happened again. Even if your two prior labors were pretty fast, there's no guarantee that this one will be fast.

Joined: 04/23/07
Posts: 624

I always wondered what a Doula did exactly. Anyone care to enlighten me? I know they are a support for the laboring mother but what is their role? I have never had a doula and I don't think my husband would go for one either. If you really want one though, I hope you can get DH on board and fully supporting you. Probably my main reason for not investing in one is the extra chunk of money we would have to fork out. But I also know there are many, many women who are so grateful for having doulas when they were in labor so I know they are good to have around. I have just never experience childbirth with one so I am wondering what they do...

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

My DH didn't really want a doula either- I do think his greatest fear was her replacing him. In the end, it was important enough to me that when he made those comments like, "Well, whatever you want..." that he didn't really mean, I just took it at face value, and went ahead with it! In the end, he did appreciate her- especially when she kept things calm when things started getting intense while we were still at home (don't know if you plan on trying to labor at home as long as possible- but a doula, who is trained to recognize the stages of labor, will be able to keep everyone calm, and from rushing to the hospital too fast). We've hired the same doula again for our second birth- DH was willing to do it again.

Not to bag hospital childbirth classes, but, since using meds to get through the pain is so common, I have a hard time believing you'll learn anything in those classes that will really help you get through a NCB. Have you thought to ask him, like, what he would have done differently in your previous births to help you get through them???

I don't know... I guess overall, I would just say if he says again anything like, "If you really want her then do it..." even if you know he doesn't mean it, just do it. Spacers makes a really good point too about having two people just because. I had a three person team (husband, mom, doula) and they ALL supported me in different ways- and I will have them ALL there again this time!

AnnaRO's picture
Joined: 07/06/08
Posts: 7033

Remind me, are you doing a HB or hospital? If you are doing a hospital birth, I think that a doula can be an amazing asset. I very much think that if I'd had a doula at my birth, it could have gone better. It would have been nice to have an extra person, especially one who is experienced and knowledgeable about childbirth, would have been useful. I could have used her to run interference with the nurses and keep both my and DH's resolve up. Even if he never comes fully on board, I think you should get one if you want one.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"AnnaRO" wrote:

Remind me, are you doing a HB or hospital? If you are doing a hospital birth, I think that a doula can be an amazing asset. I very much think that if I'd had a doula at my birth, it could have gone better. It would have been nice to have an extra person, especially one who is experienced and knowledgeable about childbirth, would have been useful. I could have used her to run interference with the nurses and keep both my and DH's resolve up. Even if he never comes fully on board, I think you should get one if you want one.

:bighug:

Sweet Pea Twins's picture
Joined: 09/08/09
Posts: 922

"Marite13" wrote:

Not to bag hospital childbirth classes, but, since using meds to get through the pain is so common, I have a hard time believing you'll learn anything in those classes that will really help you get through a NCB. Have you thought to ask him, like, what he would have done differently in your previous births to help you get through them???

I know what to expect in the hospital birthing class - I've been through it before and am going again only for DH's sake. Well, not completely - it's been 8 years since my last birth, so I don't mind having a refresher about it all, too. This is his first child, so he's never experienced any of this before - so I can't ask him what he'd do differently this time around... Lol He's incredibly supportive in general and takes fantastic care of me, but yes, I can see him getting worn out and tired spending hours trying to help relieve my pain, etc.

Anna - I am doing a hospital birth.

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

"Sweet Pea Twins" wrote:

He's incredibly supportive in general and takes fantastic care of me, but yes, I can see him getting worn out and tired spending hours trying to help relieve my pain, etc.

This is very true. There were a couple of hours in the middle of the night (I was in active labor from about 3pm to 3pm the next day) when he was trying so hard but was literally falling asleep sitting next to the tub...I was in a "I can probably moan through these without an audience...I think" stage so I sent him to get some sleep so that he could be there for me later when I *really* needed him...and one of his defining memories of the birth was when the new midwife coming on duty at 8am brought him coffee! Lol So yes, I can definitely see how even with a totally supportive and helpful DH, it would be nice to have caregiver rotation, especially if your labor turns out to be long.

hiddenblue's picture
Joined: 03/27/07
Posts: 67

Both my DH and my mom were reluctant to the idea of having a doula at my son's birth since they both supported me at my daughter's birth four years ago and that went fine.

Having been through the labor now? They are BOTH SO happy she was there. We all are. She took calm control of a relatively intense situation and really pulled everyone together. She knew my birth plan (which in our great haste did not even make it to the hospital) and was able to speak for me to the nurses and doctors when I certainly could not. Even if your DH is totally dialed in, prepared and knows your plan like the back of his hand (mine didn't!), it is a good idea to have someone else there who knows in the event that the emotions and events of the moment become too great. Or, like in my situation, your younger child(ren) end up attending the birth!

I could not recommend a doula at a NCB more strongly! Just do it! Smile

Sweet Pea Twins's picture
Joined: 09/08/09
Posts: 922

Thanks for all of the advice, ladies. I actually sent DH the link to this thread and asked him to read it so that he might better understand how important it is to me to have a doula and why. He read it and promised that he would take time to think about it all this past weekend and we were supposed to talk about it and make a decision by the end of the weekend. Of course, we were ridiculously busy this weekend and never got to talk about it, but he's promised that we will talk tonight. I'll let you all know how it turns out. Smile

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

My husband was my most amazing support in my births......but a doula at our homebirth was a godsend. It was a loooooooong labor ~ she supported both myself and my husband ~ literally and physically through an arduous birth. I think that she enabled me to have support 100% of the time.......after 36 hours when he needed a break she was there, or she was off getting us coconut water while he was by my side. It was a total team effort. I love her, and I love my husband even more than I thought possible after seeing how we could work as a team to birth a baby in difficult circumstances. I believe that a carefully chosen doula, and a carefully chosen husband Smile can be a great team.

Sweet Pea Twins's picture
Joined: 09/08/09
Posts: 922

Updated in original post. Smile

cactuswren's picture
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

Yay! I'm so glad for you. And, you know, DH did kick the nurses out of my room at one point (rather asked them to give us some privacy during a time when they were just kind of hovering and weren't really needed)...I didn't care either way at that point, but it made him feel good to protect our bubble like I'd asked him to in my general pre-labor instructions, and they just came back in a little while later when they were actually needed again...no big deal! Sounds like you have yourself a great birth team now Biggrin

Marite13's picture
Joined: 08/07/09
Posts: 3368

Yay! Glad you were able to get on the same page!