The most important person you can have at your birth is the person who loves you.
Building your birth team today looks a lot different than it would have looked 50 years ago, certainly different than it would have looked 150 years ago. People birth differently all over the world, in a variety of settings, with a variety of different people attending or not. Even in Canada, from one birth to the next, the people present are different depending on the birthing person’s circumstances and/or preference. So who would you invite to be on your birth team?
When someone who loves you is present at your birth, your experience of your birth will be more satisfying. Even in situations of trauma or conflict, not having that one (minimum) person present that you can give your heart to safely, would make the experience that much harder to endure. So who is that one person who will love you and shower you with their love during one of the most memorable and possibly most challenging experiences of your whole life?
In many cases, this person is a spouse or partner, parent to the baby. Sometimes it is another family member, a sister, mother or a close friend. Having a doula there too can support your loving partner to be able to focus solely on you and your needs, with the doula supporting both of you.
Dads and birth partners love doulas. Simply by being there, a doula can create an atmosphere for partner to be calmer, manage to cope and provide loving care and attention that you need from that person more than any other at your birth. Doulas can spell off partners to nap, have food, take care of your older children, pets or grandparents. Or a doula can help show partner ways of massaging your body, pressure points or even hands off approaches to supporting you in your labour, having you connect more with each other (raise that oxytocin!). Sometimes you forget that anyone else is present when the background is taken care of, and the two of you are free to focus on each other and your coming baby.
This is not to say that babies can only be born in the presence of love, that’s ridiculous as babies are born in an array of circumstances and emotions. A strong one that is prevalent in birth is fear. There is so much fear in birth, maybe that’s why there is a rise in doulas and knowledge about doulas, to counter this surge of fear in birthing. There is fear leading up to childbirth, fear during labour, fear of pushing, fear of postpartum depression and the list continues. Sometimes, scary things do happen in birth; however, fear and worry do little to help these unfortunate situations. The most effective way to dispel fear is with love. When birthing people feel loved, they will also feel safer and more confident, 2 ingredients that can lead to the path of an empowered birth.
Sure, knowledge helps sometimes; sometimes it can add to fear (especially searching dr. google!!) Nothing though, nothing works quite like love. And love is instantly there when you have someone who loves you to be there with you. And then you know what that love does? It produces oxytocin in your body, the hormone that is an active player in your labour and birth. You need this hormone flowing, and better to have it come from your body than need to be administered it internally. Bring on the love and let the good times roll!