I’m going to be doing everything in my power to have a vaginal delivery without an epidural, not because I don’t want one (I totally do), but because of a complicated health history that makes an epidural unsafe for me. And because I know that this will be a seriously painful experience, I really want every possible tool at my side. But my husband doesn’t necessarily agree.
My husband is a doctor. He believes very strongly in Western medicine and in all things that can be proven. He likes studies and evidence and dislikes things that cannot be explained. I can promise you also that he supports his patients when they choose Eastern medicine as a compliment to their Western treatments, but he would never choose them for himself. He’s a skeptic. I knew this about him when I married him and much of the time, I agree.
Which is why I shouldn’t be surprised with his feelings on a doula.
I suggested it last week after talking with some friends about having one and his response was…not great. He freely admitted that he didn’t know much about them, but that he was not really on board with the idea. It took a while to coax out the reasons for it and even then, I’m pretty sure he didn’t tell me the whole truth.
He thinks that a doula is unnecessary because I will be in a hospital and that will be where my pain control comes from. These doctors and nurses are his coworkers, so he has a lot of faith in (some of) them as well as in the system in general. He thinks that pain management that isn’t from medicine is all psychosomatic and that it won’t work for something as serious as delivering a baby. And he is afraid of the cost, especially since our financial situation could be better. And lastly, because he doesn’t know anyone who has had one, he feels uncomfortable with finding one from nowhere, which is actually a concern I share.
To be honest, I think the biggest reason is the one he didn’t say. I think he feels like it’s his job as my husband to provide me some pain relief, to coach me and make me feel more comfortable. I think he feels like a doula is replacing him. Like he won’t have a job if there’s someone else there helping.
It’s a tough spot because some of his concerns are valid, and admittedly, I too am a major skeptic when it comes to unproven things. It’s one of the reasons we are good together. And I really don’t want him to feel useless in the delivery room. But I also worry that I’m depriving myself of a tool that could make a drug free labor and delivery a more feasible and less terrifying experience.
So I guess I’m wondering if anyone else has been through something similar and how you would handle it. And please, remember, he’s my husband, I love him and he will probably read this, so try to be polite. He’s human too.
Learn more by checking out Babble’s Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Have a Doula