One of the questions doulas hear most often from prospective clients and other people curious about our work, is “But what about the partner?”

There are plenty of blog posts that give the basics of the answer to that question.  But it recently occurred to me that there’s a very simple metaphor that sums it up.

Imagine a stool with two legs.  It wouldn’t be very sturdy, would it?  You wouldn’t want to sit on it, and if you did, you would have to be constantly bracing yourself with your own legs to avoid falling over.

Now add a third leg, and suddenly, you have a solid, comfortable place to sit.

Each leg is essential, but there need to be three of them for the piece of furniture to be useful.  A dyad – a pair of two – is inherently unstable.  Add a third, and it becomes a firm and solid triad.  The doula, with their experience, knowledge, and handy bag of tricks, provides this third leg.

After all, you’re having a baby because your family didn’t feel complete with just you and your partner.  Our partnerships are stronger when, instead of trying to “go it alone” as a couple, we welcome the support of positive influences in our lives, whether friends, family, health professionals, clergy, or any others. 

Any doula worth their fee will enhance, not hinder, the dynamic between you and your partner as you both play your essential roles at the birth.  They will support you – literally, like the third leg of a stool – and help provide a solid foundation for the birth experience you hope to achieve.

I’m sure I’ll have more to say soon about the partner’s role, but this image is a good place to start!