The Man Who Supports You, May Not Always Be Your Partner

When people find out I am a doula, I generally get one of two responses:

You’re a what-uh? Or, guys actually do that?

Believe it or not I happen to be a man and do happen to be a doula.

Not in the ancient Greece sort of womanly slave sense, more the modern sense of the word as I strive to uphold the definition: unbiased support, affirmation, and education for families during pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period.

Welcoming my children into the world with my wife was a paradigm shift for me in so many ways.

One of which was a moment of clarity for what I may be able to bring to families preparing to do the same. Especially as a partner, I realized that the birth world is rife with women telling other women how it should be done; at Phoenix Family Birth we believe in guiding families to do it the way they want it to be done. And a large portion of that is bringing greater focus and inclusion to the partner.

After the initial shock of finding out that I, Mark Sawhill am a doula, the most common follow up question is…

Don’t partners worry about being replaced by you?

The reality is, frequently as doulas we find ourselves supporting the birthing person’s partner just as much as, if not more than, the person in labor. My lack of an empathetic understanding of birth is somewhat exchanged for a sympathetic understanding of the partner and their role.

I get it. A burly, bearded dude may not be your first thought of supporters some may want at their birth, but when that second thought rolls around some might just find it the perfect fit.

Male doulas may not be for everyone, but we are definitely the perfect choice for some.

Authored by: Mark Sawhill, Phoenix Family Birth