How Doulas Help Partners During Labor and Delivery - Brookings Health System

Jake: I'm Jake Jantzer. I'm from Minot, North Dakota originally, but now I live here in Brookings.

Amanda: I'm Amanda Max Jantzer. I'm originally from Southwest Minnesota, but we've been living here in Brookings, South Dakota for going on our fifth year.

Jake: Amanda and I teach at the university. I teach sociology.

Amanda: And I teach psychology in the same building.

How Many Children Do You Have?

Amanda: We have one. A little wonderful boy named Max. Maxwell Jantzer, who is 21 months, so almost two years.

Jake: And we have one on the way that's due in June.

How Did the Volunteer Doula Provide Support?

Amanda: To me it was just having another person there who could also give Jake a break, because maybe you need to go eat or go get something. I just think that it takes a toll on both of us, and so to have another person there I think is helpful. And another person there with ideas about how to manage pain, and how to get through it. Someone who had attended births, as we had not.

As a Father, What Was Your Relationship with the Doula?

Jake: She and I, I felt like, at all times were on the same side. We were both there to look after Amanda and try to help or contribute to her progress through labor as much as we could, and she was very helpful to me in ways like keeping track of my well being. Like, "Did I need anything? Had I had a snack, or had I had a drink of water lately?"

As a Father, How Were You Able to Participate in the Delivery?

And so when it comes to participating, I really got to participate as much as I wanted to in terms of providing support, or if Amanda what wanted was to hang back then that's what both the doula and I would do. But I never felt like she got in between me and this process that we were going through. I really felt like she was a partner, or a helper, and definitely not someone who got in the way of my participation.

Amanda: In terms of a fear that the doula would get in the way of the partner, or of the father, I very much felt like Jake was my primary support and the doula was the secondary support to both of us. But I certainly never felt as though she got in the way of the two of us, certainly, but that she was really a supportive person there for both of us.

What Would You Say to Someone Considering a Doula?

Jake: Especially for first time fathers who haven't gone through the process of labor and delivery, it's extremely helpful to have the doula there. Somebody that has seen many births. Because it's such a strange situation that is very outside of your normal experience. Having somebody there who is a constant and very even keeled and level presence throughout that whole process, I think helps everybody involved. Especially when your partner, who's giving birth, is not interested in processing the mental and emotional experience that you're going through right then, because she's really going through it and you're kind of watching. And so having another person you can turn to who has their sense of humor intact, and who you can even make eye contact with if the nurse is writing something on her clipboard, or looking at a gauge or a meter on something, and you can kind of make eye contact with her and be like, "Is this normal? What's going on?" and she will just be like, "That's fine." That's really helpful, because normally, at least for us, your partner would be the person that you would try to process all that with or who would be your partner in a situation like that, and you can't rely on them to do that obviously because they're too busy having a baby.

It doesn't cost you anything, and I can't imagine it could possibly hurt. So I think you would almost be crazy not to get one, is what I would say.