Can My Husband Be My Doula?

Can my husband be my doula jax birth classes

Can My Husband Be My Doula?

“Can my husband be my doula?” The short answer to that question is no, but stay with us and read more to find the beautiful reasons!

Your partner is your numero uno! As you begin the most important experience of your lives together, there will be many things you must work through and trust each other with. Together you’re moving through each week of pregnancy, things are changing, and your hearts’ are preparing a place for your baby.

In preparation one thing you may have considered is the support of a professional doula. You’ve done some research and have heard that hiring the right doula can increase the likelihood that you’ll give birth feeling supported, encouraged, and having your voice heard regardless of what type of birth you are planning for.

You’re sold, but your husband is not.

Perhaps when you’ve presented the idea he’s responded with, “I’ll be your doula!” Your husband likely has his own idea of how he would like the birth to be. It’s true, guys think about the birth too! Two of the biggest concerns husbands have when introduced to the idea of a doula is that the doula may try and to replace them or make decisions for you.

Wrong! First Coast Doulas does not make any decisions for you regarding your care.

Doulas are not qualified to do so, ever, under any circumstances. First Coast Doulas understands the role and scope of the profession. We certainly do not think so much of ourselves to say we can replace your husband or make him feel removed from your birth experience together. In fact FC Doulas nurtures your unity!!!

First Coast Doulas knows that your husband’s top priority is safety, but he also wants you to look to him for comfort and support. Ten-four! We hear him loud and clear!

This is a great place to stop reading, grab your husband and finish this blog together. Maybe over dinner or a lunch date!

Husbands I reach out to you!

You’re her confidant and her rock. You’re emotionally and spiritually connected to her, she has chosen to co-create life with Y-O-U! She needs you and you provide her things that no one else could ever provide her!

You know her intimately.

Doulas know birth intimately.

Your wife loves and respects you and your position and would love to have you on board with hiring a doula. She wants support for the both of you during the birth of your baby! You know her likes and dislikes and all her little quirks. She loves you so much that she is likely willing to waver in what she feels is the best approach to birth; a professional support person. All in honor of you.

Now she is questioning, “Can my husband be my doula?”

Can you really be professional through an experience that you are emotionally invested in? Can you detach from the your own experience and draw collectively from your knowledge base to think one step ahead and support her?

Not really. Not unless you are a doula and this is not your wife and baby!

You want to feel all the feels and you are emotionally invested in this experience. You deserve that and she deserves all of you. This is your day too! When birth is imminent she will need you to be her foundation for strength. What if the strategies you learned in class aren’t coming to the forefront in your mind? First Coast Doulas has you covered!

What about her desires for this birth?

Your wife is about to birth a small human from her body, enter into motherhood, and start an entirely new chapter in her life, with you, her husband. She wants a doula because she wants this to be the very best experience for the both of you, not to replace you. Noone can do that!

You are her husband, her main support person, but you cannot be her doula.

She wants a doula, whose sole role is constant support, comfort, and a calm presence so the two of you can work through it, together. Her providers and nurses will pop in and out and at minimum have a handful of other patients to care for.

She wants the two of you to get off to a wonderful start caring for your baby. She wants someone to show you the things that you can do to help her and someone to support you both after immediately after birth. She doesn’t want the pressure on you to have to do and be all the things.

She wants emotional support, encouragement and sometimes guidance from a professional who is not part of the health care system. A doula is familiar with birth and understands the physical and emotional aspects. A doula knows what the variations of normal are and what is happening within her laboring body.

Can she do it without a doula? Sure she can, but women who are hiring professional doulas experienced a:

  • 14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
  • 34% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience

Your wife doesn’t want to replace you or waste money on a something frivolous.

She wants to invest in an experience with you! She will remember this day for the rest of her life. A trail guide is a valid request when climbing Mount Everest, as is a doula for the birth of your baby.

Trust is one of the most important components in any healthy relationship, especially marriage.

Often times we talk through things until we find a solution. Other times we have to trust that while something may seem crazy in our minds, it can make perfect sense to our spouse. Then because you love each other one decides to just let go and trust the other!

I encourage you to revisit the idea of a doula and trust that your wife knows what she is talking about! Join her this investment. She trusts herself and her judgement, have faith in that. Allow her room to move confidently from pregnancy, through labor, and into motherhood while you, her husband, trust in her investment in your future together.

Contact First Coast Doulas today to set up a complimentary consult for you and your spouse!

 

Birth Isn’t Confusing, but “Born in the Wild” Is!

Pulling hair Jacksonville, FL Doula

All this talk, all these previews, and all this…confusion…what’s a person to do? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good bowl of popcorn and I am always ready to don a full Elizabethan collar in the name of drama. But drama needs to serve a greater purpose of clarity and insight, especially when the context encompasses current maternal and perinatal issues. Lifetime’s “Born in the Wild” sends completely confusing messages that in the current climate of the birth world, only further polarizes opinions and creates “camps”. 

How is it confusing? For many, the show leaves these questions:

-Are the births completely unassisted or are they basically homebirths outside?
-Is this dangerous and worthy of full-force, adrenaline pumping fear, or not?
-Are all people who choose out-of-hospital births distrustful hippies?

The answers to these questions are not so easily discernible and the last thing we need is confusion:

-According to Lifetime, the births are midwife-assisted, meaning that the expectant parents are indeed privy to medical care; however, most are birthing outside, making these births pretty much homebirths, which when planned and attended by skilled care providers, are a safe option for low-risk women. But..
-You might not know that (homebirth can be safe) based on the high-octane music and footage used in the docuseries due to the very nature of the program to sensationalize the events. For the most part, birth is a normal and natural event, BUT, yes, even in the best of circumstances and care, it can go very wrong very quickly.  This dichotomy is what has caused many to espouse hospital birth as the only safe option, or for the other “side” to vehemently claim that homebirth is the only safe option, so as to avoid unnecessary interventions and overly cautious surgeons, which leads to…
-No, just like any other generalization, it is not fair or accurate to paint parents who choose homebirth as distrustful hippies; however, because of current statistics, such as a very high Cesarean rate, some people do choose to avoid hospital birth due to fear.

“Born in the Wild” doesn’t make any of these questions or their answers clear, and what the viewer sees or is enticed to feel, is fear. 

Fear is an interesting emotion and motivator.  Most people now only see birth in the media, which is almost always sensationalized and polarized, (being based in fear and ignorance) including in “Born in the Wild”.  These portrayals create this confused, mixed-up internal message that many will recognize,

                      “Birth is dangerous,
                        Birth needs to be managed,
                        intervention use is too heavy, maybe unnecessary
                        natural birth is better
                        I should avoid doctors at all costs
                        it’s always a matter of life and death…cycle repeat!

So what is it?

Rather than explanations of our collective fear AND accurate information on global safety, policies, attitudes, and traditions regarding childbirth, we get these snippets of “information”, and more so, we get agendas and opinions from TV, blogs, and your grandmother/sister/best friend.   Because in reality, ALL of these things can be simultaneously true!  Funnily enough, many people are surprised to discover that life, and the events in it, are not always black/white and either/or. 

First Coast Doulas ensures that our clients have access to the most recent, non-biased, and peer-reviewed research . We ensure that we never give our personal opinions on YOUR birth choices and we NEVER encourage decisions based in fear.

We encourage candid talk with your providers, critical analysis of material, and authentic trust in your knowledge and intuition.

“Born in the Wild” only touches on these diverse issues and thus perpetuates confusion with dramatic birth sequences that’s been the industry standard the last 30 years.

Authored by- Heather Horrell

Sources:

Cheyney, M., Borbjerg, M., Everson, C., Gordon, W., Hannibal, D. & Vedam, S. (2014).  Outcomes of Care for 16,924 Planned Home Births in the United States: The Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, 2004 to 2009. Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health. 59(1), 17-27.

Geerts, C., Klomp, T., Lagro-Janssen, A., Twisk, J., V.Dillen, J., & Jonge, A. (2014).  Birth setting, transfer and maternal sense of control: results from the DELIVER study.  BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.  14(1), 1-21.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby!

Let’s Talk about Sex, Baby!

Let's talk about sex, baby!Ah, THE question many new mothers (and partners) often wonder about after giving birth. Sure, you’ll visit your doc who will give you the go ahead, or not.  But he/she may not have a sit down, one-to-one pep talk with you.

After all, nobody really wants to get naked and talk about sex!

Will sex hurt? Will it be the same? Will I even want to have sex? Will my milk let down? Will we have time? Where do you put the baby? Do I really have to wait six weeks? And how much lube should I invest in?

Firstly, YES, it is important that you wait the full six weeks after giving birth to have sex, otherwise, pain during intercourse is just one of the not-so-great possibilities.  At the six week checkup, your doctor or midwife will check your uterus (and talk about birth control).  It takes about six to eight weeks for the wound in your uterus, left by the separation of the placenta during birth, to heal.  Until then, there is literally an area in your womb that is open and is prone to infection if foreign substances are introduced.

Sorry gals, even your longtime partner’s goods count as “foreign” in this instance.

This is also the reason tampons and menstrual cups are discouraged. Also, believe it or not, you can get pregnant immediately following a baby.  Take it from a woman who’s had multiple pregnancies and not a single period for the better part of a decade…Anyway, to the question:  will sex hurt?

For some women, yes, sex can be a bit uncomfortable since there is still lingering tenderness.  The blood vessels and nerve endings in the perineum have to readjust.  Within a few weeks, however, any pain should subside.  Believe it or not, sex might change-what was previously your favorite position might be “blah” now and vice versa.

Rest assured, unless there has been some extreme circumstances during your birth (i.e. 4th degree tears), your vagina/labia/other female parts are still fully functional and are just as admirable as they were previously.

If vaginal intercourse doesn’t work, well, there’s other ways of “doing it”.

It’s also normal to wonder what you should do about your newest member of the family while you and your partner attempt to get busy.  The human population has survived 5000+ years-meaning, this would be the perfect time for baby to (finally) sit in that bouncy seat, or (finally) explore his crib and nifty mobile.  After all, sometimes waiting until baby is asleep isn’t just feasible or attainable!

Sex post-baby is quite the adventure and there are sure to be some events that constitute a new normal…like milk spraying or dripping everywhere! It’s no big deal. Really. It may take some time to get back to it, especially if it is difficult for you to reconcile your changed identity as a former sex goddess turned mom.

For some women, the idea that you can still crave sexual intimacy with your partner and be a fantastic mother, is foreign and can induce feelings of guilt.  It doesn’t have to be.

Remember, women are complex humans. If pain or fear or feelings of guilt are impacting your newly restarted sex life, there are a number of resources, beginning with your doctor or midwife, and it is important to discuss these issues with them. Otherwise, get out your favorite lube and get to it!

Side note, coconut oil is amazing used as a lubricant!

20 Random Facts About Heather Horrell of First Coast Doulas

Heather Horrell Postpartum Doula Jax

20 Random Facts About Heather Horrell of First Coast Doulas

In honor of World Doula Week, we decided to share a few fun blogs about the amazing doulas who work with families trusting First Coast Doulas with their care! We are all about sharing a smile, a laugh, and a hug from time to time!

Here are 20 random facts about Heather Horrell of First Coast Doulas:

1. I’m a Potterhead (i.e. I LOVE all things Harry Potter)

2. I love Hello Kitty, Sanrio, and all things “kawaii” or cute

3. I lived in Okinawa for 6 months and loved it. I very badly want to go back and plan on making extended vacations in that little paradise.

4. “Full House” was one of my favorite shows as a kid. Now, our family structure is very similar and it’s awesome!

5. I’m NOT a picky eater. The only things I don’t like are hominy, figs, and few other things I can’t remember at the moment.

6. I never ever thought I’d tandem nurse OR nurse a three-year-old, but here I am!

7. I love the ocean and feel claustrophobic when I’m not near a coast.

8. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE anything fantasy.  Comic books, Harry Potter, LOTR, Dr. Who, Harry Potter, etc.  Did I mention Harry Potter?

9. My favorite women at the moment are Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling.

10. Even though I got married and had kids while in school, I’ve never “dropped out”. I always kept going even when it was hard. I like to think that maybe that determination can make an impression on them. My degrees weren’t even really for professional gain either. I just love to learn and explore educational opportunities.

11. A goal of mine is to trek through the Himalayas. Nepal and Tibet are enigmatic. I need to go.

12. I can’t walk into a Michaels, Joann’s, or Hobby Lobby without trying to clear all the shelves. I almost always end up spending money!

13. Other career options that I’ve considered or would be in another life: interior designer, architect, city planner, philosopher, professor, and doctor!

14. I’m always critiquing shit.  Like, not in a negative way, more of in an organizational way. It’s hard to explain my thought process.

15.I love all colors, but I’m drawn towards aqua, turquoise, teal, periwinkle, and indigo.

16. Random unnecessary electronics and gadgets fascinate me. That was one my favorite parts of Japan. They’re everywhere. And silly commercials.

17. I’ve never been ice skating.

18. I want a Dyson just because the man’s voice is soothing. Oh, and they’re awesome!

19. I love the dentist and getting my teeth cleaned.

20. Looking at the stars, reading physics & astronomy, and viewing photographs of space soothe me.

…And a pinch to grow an inch.

21. I worry my children won’t get along with each other as they grow older.

It’s one of my worst fears. I want them to appreciate and love each other and their respective families. I want to be involved in their (and their family’s) lives, especially future grandbabies. (Yea, already planning that far ahead!) I want them to know I respect them and love them and am happy to be their parent, confidant, and friend.

Thank you for letting me share with you! We enjoy working with families and getting to know them. We thought what a nice way to let our community know a little more about us. Be sure to check out Elizabeth’s blog as well as Madeleine’s blog to learn a little more about them!

Happy birth and parenting!

~Heather Horrell

20 Random Facts about Elizabeth Luke of First Coast Doulas

Totally Random Facts | Fun Doulas in Jax FL

20 Random Facts about Elizabeth Luke of First Coast Doulas

As professional doulas we spend a good bit of time getting to know families we work with. In honor of World Doula Week, we thought it would be fun to share some totally random facts about our doulas with all of you!

This week we are featuring Elizabeth Luke. Most of you know Elizabeth as the owner of First Coast Doulas, but here are some things you probably don’t know about her:

1. Some of my bucket list items include: visit a legit nude beach (nude of course), wedding crash (but only for fun, nothing destructive or hurtful), complete a section hike of the Appalachian Trail (working on that), convert a school bus into a tiny house and travel for one year!

2. I love to float it’s super relaxing!

Free-float! That would be floating without the use of a floatation device. Also known to some as therapeutic floating. Sometimes I meditate while floating and I’ve been known to fall asleep while floating. My absolute favorite place to float is Ichetucknee Springs.

3. I enjoy a wide variety of music.

Some of my favorite artists include Jewel, Dido, Pink, Sublime, Linkin Park, Tool, AC/DC, Metallica, Elton John, and Garth Brooks. My sympathetic nervous system is especially sensitive to music. Sometimes I get goosebumps, cry, or both.

4. My favorite color is green. Purple and indigo are right behind green!

5. I can touch my nose with my tongue, but not my tongue to my elbow, lol!

6. My Zodiac sign is Cancer and I really can’t imagine ever living in a place where I am not close to water!

7. Born and raised in the south, but the only tea I like is kombucha. #truth

8. Two places I want to visit are Alaska and Ireland. I want to see castles, countryside, and the northern lights!

9. My favorite dessert is cheesecake with just about any good topping. I’m really not a picky eater!

10. I was once a beekeeper and LOVED it!

11. I own less than 10 pairs of shoes. Yes, total!

12. One instrument I would love to learn to play is a guitar.

13. Elizabeth loves deep sea fishing with her husband, garlic, and lavender. Not necessarily together!

14. Elizabeth once saran-wrapped one of her teenagers to his mattress (no names shared) when he was asleep on the floor!

Mommy Dearest? No! Practical jokester? Absolutely!

He had company over and put his mattress on the floor in the living room. When he passed out first she and her accomplices wrapped him from the chest to the feet. Good times! They laughed extensively. He awoke to go to the bathroom and what happens next she swore she’d never tell!

15. I thoroughly enjoy cooking!

16. Eggplant parmesan and porterhouse steak on the grill are my specialties.

17. What her 35 year old self would tell her 15 year old self:

Enjoy your youth, slow down. Be nicer to your mother. Learn to love yourself first. Always trust your intuition! Start a daily exercise routine and eat better! Laugh every chance you get, especially at yourself!

18. I was almost named Sarah.

19. I’ve only flown once in my life!

20. When I was about 10 years old I competed in a biscuit eating contest and won!

Our lives are so uniquely us! It’s not what happens to us, but how we decide to handle what we’ve been dealt that matters. Smile! Laugh! And most of all be true to you! We would LOVE to learn some totally random facts about you. Feel free to share in the comment section.

Happy Birth and Parenting!

~Elizabeth Luke