Winnipeg Top 10 Things To Do Before Baby Arrives

Today I am sharing with you my Winnipeg Top 10 things to do before baby comes! The list isn’t designed as a shopping list or a specific baby prep- it’s about honouring yourself and the big changes about to come!

While pregnancy in itself is a time of transition and new experiences, bringing a baby into your home- whether the first or fourth or beyond, is always an exciting experience with new stresses and emotions (don’t worry there’s joys too!), and this is my Winnipeg Top 10 list that helped me transition into those newborn days each time.

 

Embrace Birth Winnipeg Birth Doula

 

  1. Feed your freezer – The early postpartum days are already an adjustment without dealing with your insatiable appetite and you’re unlikely to want to spend a lot of time standing in the kitchen. Make it easier on yourself by preparing food ahead of time, or picking up from a meal prep store. Places like Supper Central can be a lifesaver! With each of my babes we made sure to batch cook and feed our freezer with meals, snacks and treats.
  2. Have a date with your partner – Your life is about to change, and so will your relationship with the other people in your life. Take some time to connect with your significant other, so you remember why you fell in love when you’re hopped up on hormones and feeling like you haven’t finished a conversation in weeks.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  3. Have a date with yourself – your relationship with yourself will change too! Don’t forget to take time to enjoy yourself and connect with all the things that make you you. Go sit in a coffee shop and read, do some shopping alone, have a bubble bath and a long nap. Whatever helps you remember that person that came before “mom”.
  4. Pamper yourself – I am one of those mamas that makes sure I get in a shower each day postpartum. It’s important for my mental state and gives me some time to unwind before jumping back into mama duties. But it’s not often I get a chance to take time out for a whole massage or “extras” like doing my nails. So I make sure to take at least one day before baby comes and pamper myself- book a spa day and get a massage, have your eyebrows done, enjoy a mani/pedi so you don’t have to try to reach your feet. If a spa day isn’t in the budget, you can still enjoy all of this at home. Or get together with some friends and do each other’s nails while sipping sparkling water.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  5. Go sightseeing in your city – make time to do those things that are harder once you’ve got a little one in tow. I loved heading to the beach and taking a walk around the forks one last time. Add in some cute photos with your partner in the exchange district and you’ve done double duty with your Winnipeg Top ten things to do before baby list!
    Winnipeg Top 10
  6. Have a postpartum plan – know which friends and family will be around to help, and which ones you want there. Stick to those who will make things easier on you- cross off anyone whom you feel like you’ll need to play hostess for.
  7. Join a La Leche League meeting – Sometimes breastfeeding is second nature. Sometimes it’s not. I find it is so helpful to have connections already in place when those early newborn days come. Find your local group here.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  8. Fill your Netflix or Kindle queue – Babies eat. A lot. I found it so much more relaxing when I wasn’t counting down the minutes until they were done. Before baby two, I made sure to set myself up with a list of shows and movies to watch, and added about a dozen easy reading books to my Overdrive App. It made frequent nursing breaks actually seem like a break, rather than an endless chore. Goodreads always has a great chick lit list.
    Winnipeg Top 10
  9. Find your tribe – parenthood can be very isolating and I’ve never doubted myself like I did as a new mama. Finding a group of likeminded parents that I could be truly transparent with was crucial. You don’t think it’s that important until you’re considering having to ask your coworkers which Depends work best postpartum or really need someone to sit with in your sour milk smelling glory who won’t care a bit when you need to rehash your birth story for the 12th time.
  10. Hire a doula – Well of course. But really. My doulas were instrumental in both my pregnancy and postpartum period. So much of what you do during pregnancy is preparing for the baby- but hiring my doula was for *me*. And having that support from these lovely women who knew just the right questions to ask, who read my mind when I was feeling frustrated or needed reassurance- whether it be hour ten of labor or day ten of breastfeeding– is priceless.

So there it is! My recommended Winnipeg Top 10 things to do before your little one makes their appearance. Is there anything you find a “must do” that I left out? Anything you hadn’t thought of?

Ready to find out more?

As always, if you have any questions, I’d love to chat! Ready to hire a doula? In need of some guidance? Drop me a line!


Email Embrace

*Photo from Essie and used under Creative Commons License.

Babies Come With Hats- Creating Your Winnipeg Hospital Bag Packing List

Many years ago, my husband shared with me that as a very young child he had believed that babies were born- with hats! In every media depicted birth, you always see the fresh baby with a tiny beanie on their head. Right from the get go, they're always seen sporting their new accessory. And so when it was time to pack for our first birth, it became an inside joke between the two of us- don't add a hat to your hospital bag packing list- babies come with hats!

Winnipeg hospital bag packing list- Winnipeg Doula

But what *should* you pack be on your hospital bag packing list? I believe in prepared minimalism, and haven’t found a list that suited me, so I’m sharing mine for you! This list is based off the birth packing list I made for my first baby, and is customized for the experience you may have in our Winnipeg hospitals.

We know that when it comes to birth, plans can always change, but most people seem to prefer a short hospital stay- and a short hospital bag packing list! Be reassured that anything you need is just a short car ride away. And if you have a longer than expected stay, your support person may just welcome the fresh air on the drive home to gather supplies! Here’s what I couldn’t have lived without during that first day.

*Photo from Essie and used under Creative Commons License.
Photo from Essie  used under Creative Commons License.

For myself in my hospital bag, it was all about comfort. At both Women’s Hospital and St Boniface, you may have the option to labor in water, and working through contractions in the shower can be heavenly, so I made sure to bring a bathing suit. I didn’t want to wear a hospital gown, so for my hospital packing list, I added a comfortable outfit to labor in- a bra top and a loose flowy skirt. The only unneeded “extra” that I packed and would do so again is fancy shampoo/conditioner and soap. The hospital supplies some, but after all the hard work of labor, it was glorious to grab my yummy smelling Aveda products and freshen up in the shower.

Since babies come on their own time, and weight guesses are notoriously inaccurate, I recommend having two different sizes of clothing available- just in case! With my third baby I put aside a couple newborn outfits. It provided comic relief later when I pulled out the teeny outfits and held them up to my 41+ week 10lb10.5oz babe, but wasn't very helpful for dressing him! For your hospital bag packing list, I recommend only a couple onesies and sleepers. It sounds basic, but skin to skin is wonderful and I prefer to just snuggle up with that fresh babe smell. We only dressed ourWinnipeg hospital bag packing list- Winnipeg Doula daughter once it was time to go home.

Our Winnipeg hospitals supply the basics- wash cloths, diapers, receiving blankets, so leave them off your hospital bag packing list. I do bring a muslin for snuggling up with baby afterwards. Bonus that it looks beautiful in photos! I also brought our favourite blanket for the ride home. I distinctly remember snuggling with the blanket on the ride to the hospital, thinking how in just a few short hours, I would be snuggling with our babe instead.

We choose to delay the first newborn bath, and avoid hats on babies, so keep it light and don't bring any fancy baby washes or pretty hats. I see a lot of hospital bag packing lists suggest bringing items like nail clippers and burp cloths. Most of these you truly won’t need during that first night. Pack light, and don’t give yourself too many ‘tasks’ in those early hours. Focus on meeting your new baby, I promise their nails can wait.

There’s many other items you can add to your hospital bag list. And if you will feel better to bring them- do it. In the end, you being able to relax is the goal. In my experience though- most of it stays in the bag. The hospital provides the basics. Your doula and support partner will have their hands and words at the ready- willing and able to help you rock your birth. All you need is your confidence and trust in your body!

 

Click below for a copy of Embrace Birth Service's FREE Hospital Bag Packing List printable. This Winnipeg doula has you covered!

Winnipeg hospital bag packing list- Winnipeg Doula

In the Eyes of a Child

Our next fun stop in #worlddoulaweek puts a youthful spin on things. I wanted to let you all know a bit more about me, and what better way to do that than through the ones who know me best- my kiddos! This fun quiz was going around Facebook several months back and I didn't get a chance to test it out with my two oldest- until now. I thought it would be fun to get their perspective on their doula mama, and I'll throw in a few comments of my own too!

Doula Mom Interview

1. What is something I always say to you?
T  Clean up!
E  Clean up!

2. What makes me happy?
T  When I got you soup, when you were sick at the old house and I brought it to your bed.  (When she was 4 I was sick once, and she lovingly went into the fridge in the early hours of the morning, poured soup to the very brim of a new bowl, and carried it down the hallways onto my bedside table, and then left it there without saying anything :|)
E  Playing downstairs

3. What makes me sad?
T  When I don't listen and throw a fit. 
E  Ummm peeing on the floor. (Can you tell we're in the midst of potty learning over here?)

4. How do I make you laugh?
T  *Makes a funny face at me*
E  Give me happy birthday cake!!

5. What was I like as a child?
T  You were like your mom, and your dad. 
E  Like me! (Not too far off! I've always been a quiet, shy, introspective person. You'd most often find me hiding somewhere silly (under the bed, in the closet) with my nose in a book)

6. How old am I?
T  31  (She's too smart for me...)
E  one two three four six. You six. 

7. How tall am I?
T  As big as a giant
E  BIG

8. What is my favorite thing to do?
T  Play with Oakley. Have ice cream. 
E  Going on the bed. Having Happy Birthday Cake. (I think they both get points for this- sleeping in and eating decadent rich cake would count as two favorites! I also enjoy the gym and watching sappy drama tv shows and movies though!)

9. What do I do when you're not around?
T  Get really sad and want to pick us up. 
E  Play!

10. If I become famous, what will it be for?
T  Being the ruler of your hotel and doula job!
E  

11. What am I really good at?
T  Taking care of us. Taking care of me when there's a fire drill.
E  Happy Birthday Cake. Then you and daddy and Tenley and me and Oakie when he is bigger eat Happy Birthday cake! (One track mind this kid has- I like it!)

12. What am I not very good at?
T  Buying toys.
E  Putting the baby gate up...

12. What do I do for a job?
T  Ruling your whole doula world and helping people have babies. 
E  Babies! Play with me. 

14. What is my favorite food?
T  Pancakes, birthday cake and ice cream. 
E  Toast. (I'm gonna call this one a fail. I'd love some good Chinese, followed with poutine and mocha cheesecake.)

15. What makes you proud of me?
T  Baking and taking care of us.
E  Having Sushi (Fail again. I don't eat sushi)

16. If I were a character, who would I be?
T  Darth Vader. Han solo. 
E  Luke Skywalker!!!

17. What do we enjoy doing together?
T  Going out places. 
E  Having battle (Light sabre battles dancing through the house)

18. How are we the same?
T  We're girls. Our hair. 
E  Hair! (True. All my kids inherited my poor sad natural hair color.)

19. How are we different?
T  I'm 5 and you're 31...
E  

20. How do you know I love you?
T  Cause I'm your child! You cuddle with me. 
E  *Starts pointing to all his stuff*

21. What do I like most about dad?
T  You're best friends (<3)
E  Sushi

22. Where is my favorite place to go?
T  Museum, the Zoo, The Y
E  Store. And get more sushi! (He's obsessed! And trying to use his Jedi mind tricks on me!)

23. How old was I when you were born?
T  30. No um 29. (False.)
E  Bigger!

 

Hope you've enjoyed this insight into our crazy lives! Do YOU have any questions for me? Comment, or send me a message so we can chat!

Winnipeg Doula Embrace Birth Services

Embrace Birth Services- Winnipeg Doula

Why Embrace Birth Services?

For today’s post in honor of World Doula Week, I wanted to share a little bit about how Embrace Birth Services came about! As many of you know, I’ve been at this doula gig here in Winnipeg for over ten years now (wow!). When I started thinking about returning to my beloved doula work after the birth of my last baby, I knew that I needed a new name that would reflect my services better. Over nine years of welcoming babes into the world, and three births under my belt myself, I’ve matured, my view on birth has changed, and it seemed fitting that my name would too.

And so began the impossible task of coming up with a name that would encompass all of the magic that I believe birth and doula work to be. No easy feat! Hours and hours were spent brainstorming, throwing down words on paper, trying to find something that spoke to me. And eventually, I had it. Embrace. Embrace Birth Services.

Embrace Birth Services Winnipeg Doula

There are many facets to this word, just as there are many facets to birth doula work. On the surface, I love the visual image of embrace during labor and birth. Physically, many women seek to be held, comforted, supported during their journeys. This concrete feeling of not being alone is reassuring, it affirms the belief that mama is strong, that the ground she walks on is secure, and that she and her team have what it takes to venture to the other side of birth. As a doula it is my goal to ensure you feel my embrace- physical or symbolic.

But what made me fall in love with Embrace Birth Services is the less obvious meaning. Acceptance. Surrender. By definition, embrace means to accept or support a belief, a theory, or a change, willingly and enthusiastically. To welcome with open arms, take to one’s heart. And isn’t that so true about birth? Labor and birth to me, is a little like that children’s song “Can’t go over it, Can’t go under it, Can’t go around it, Got to go through it!” Indeed. The only way through birth is through it. What this looks like is different for every laboring family, but I find a common characteristic in the amazing families I’ve supported- they embrace birth.

While labor and childbirth is very much a physical experience, it’s the emotional side of it- the headspace, that I see make the most difference in how a family copes with labor. Dive in, immerse yourself in it. Accept the unknowns, the sensations, the challenge. Embrace the very idea of labor- Work. Important work. Which must be done, but doesn’t need to be a hardship. As you surrender your trust to your body, to this babe about to come earthside, as you embrace the journey you are embarking on- it gets easier. Not pain-free. Not without work. But opening your mind and your mind to what lies ahead changes the dynamic in the birthing space.

One of my favorite articles about birth includes the following excerpt, which I find myself referring to over and over in my birth work.

I believe that this is more than biological. It is spiritual. To give birth, whether at home in a birth tub with candles and family or in a surgical suite with machines and a neonatal team, a woman must go to the place between this world and the next, to that thin membrane between here and there. To the place where life comes from, to the mystery, in order to reach over to bring forth the child that is hers. The heroic tales of Odysseus are with us, each ordinary day. This round woman is not going into battle, but she is going to the edge of her being where every resource she has will be called on to assist in this journey.

We need time and space to prepare for that journey. And somewhere, deep inside us, at a primal level, our cells and hormones and mind and soul know this, and begin the work with or without our awareness. – Jana Studelska

Birth is not just biological. It is emotional, It is spiritual, It is transformative. And it demands a certain degree of acceptance and surrender. Embrace the birth that is upon you. Trust your body, Trust your baby, Trust your team. Hold your head high as you head into these hours, and surrender to the magic that comes when you bring a babe earthside.

embrace birth services winnipeg doula

As your doula, I will be there with you every step of the way. Reminding you of your power. Urging you to embrace this birth. Embrace your strength. Each surge that comes on can feel exciting, but also intimidating and a bit scary. And I will be there to guide you along the path, to accept this birth. Accept the sensations and the fear, look it in the eye, and do it anyways.

So why Embrace Birth Services? Because I believe each one of you deserves to feel power in this experience. To take control of your destiny. Embrace life, Embrace birth, Embrace strength. I know you can.

 

Love,

 

Jenine

Happy World Doula Week from Embrace Birth Services!

Did you know that today, March 22, marks the start of World Doula Week? The Spring equinox, symbolizing the return to fertility, seems like a perfect time to celebrate and bring empowerment to my powerful sisters who hold space as new souls enter the world. I’m thrilled to get to celebrate with you this year!

World Doula Week Winnipeg Birth Doula
World Doula Week Winnipeg Birth Doula

To celebrate, I’ve got some fun things planned this week, so make sure you check back! The theme of this year is #doulasbenefiteveryone, which is so so true. Your doula is truly there to support whichever birth experience you desire- YOU are the boss of your birth experience, and us doulas are just here to help navigate.

I’ve been blessed to support births that were at hospital, and at home. Parents who chose no intervention, and parents who chose belly births. Mamas who were alone, and those surrounded by family. Each of these people benefited from having an experienced, judgment free doula by their side. And I benefited by knowing them. It sounds cliche, but I truly am blessed to be able to call this work my “job”. Doulas benefit everyone- even the doula!

Before I leave you for today, I wanted to share this perfect graphic I found. Doulas are for #thatkindofmom

Transitions

Changes. Everyone goes through them. Pregnancy in itself is a time of transition, new things, new feelings. In labor, transition will be one of the biggest milestones you face.  And here at Belly Love Doula, we’re undergoing a little transition of our own!

Belly Love Doula has been in operation since 2008, and it is time for a new name and feel that better fits our vision. During this switchover time, I am still accepting new clients, and I am delighted to offer a discount to my beloved families. If you have a due date between September to November 2017, Please contact me for more details!

 

Jenine

 

<3 Gratitude

Five weeks post birth with our third baby and I have yet to even open a document to start recording his magical birth story. But this thank you letter to my doula has been on my mind constantly, writing and editing inside my mind, trying to think how to do justice to the gratitude my husband and I have for her.

 As a doula myself, I knew as soon as we started planning our birth that I wanted a doula and a photographer there. To me, your birth days are just as important as your wedding day, and the people you surround yourself with, and the memories you take from that day, will stay with you forever. Which is why I felt extremely blessed to know right away who it was that I wanted at my birth, and even more blessed when she agreed.

I’ve known Catherine for several years as parents, and was lucky enough to take a doula training course with her last fall. Since then we have acted as backups for each other, and it has meant the world to me to have her as a doula sister, knowing that she held the same trust and awe in birth that I did, Catherine truly understands not just the basic mechanics of birth, but the holistic reality that birth is a spiritual and deeply emotional event as well.

With this being my third baby, I didn’t have many questions or concerns about the physical side of pregnancy or birth. I knew my body could and would birth a baby successfully, and I felt confident in the team my husband and I had surrounded ourselves with. But I was surprised in the last weeks by how much I still leaned on Catherine, and took comfort in her wisdom and encouragement. And when the time came to make calls for the birth, it was the one to her that I was most excited about.

We were able to have a wonderful waterbirth at home, and Catherine’s sure, calming presence throughout kept both my husband and I centered. And the photos she took of the occasion will be treasured and revisited countless times over the years, of this I am sure. Catherine was able to switch seamlessly between acting as my photographer, and holding space for me as my doula when she could see that I needed the extra reassurance. I absolutely cannot imagine my birth experience without her.

I urge you, if you are on the fence and considering a doula and/or a photographer. Get one. Take the plunge. Do what it takes to ensure you are supported as well as I was on one of the most important days of your life.

“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” – John Kennell, M.D.

A Letter To Our Midwife

Found this on Facebook today, and all of a sudden I was sniffling and smiling.

My first birth was with a new-ish OB who was friendly, and acknowledged my requests, but was not empowering, was not understanding. She was there for medical reasons, and I never felt anything else from her.

My second birth, my magical homebirth, was completely different. Right from our first meeting, I could tell I’d been blessed with a Midwife who got birth. She understood the emotional, the spiritual component of it. She knew there was more than mechanics at play.

Every step of the way she nurtured us, both my husband and I. And we felt supported and listened to. We felt equal in making decisions about the birth of our son.

Our little E decided to be born really unexpectedly unassisted, and a bit more ‘exciting’ than we would have preferred. But from the moment our midwife D walked in the door, we knew we were ok. We were in control again, and she was there to hold us up and remind us that we were capable. We were enough. The courage and normalcy she lent to those first hours cannot be given a price. We are forever grateful to her.

And so I want to share this article, this letter. Hopefully you too have been lucky enough to be supported like this by a caregiver, or will be in the future. One day I hope everyone has this experience.

I don’t know if midwives like you are rare or if all share the same grace and understanding. But here is what I am truly thankful for, as a mother, as a woman and as a human being.

Thank you for speaking to me throughout the whole experience of giving birth with compassion, kindness and love. You made me feel at ease. You enabled me to feel strong and powerful. You reminded me how capable I was, how amazing my body was… how I could keep going, even though the pain was great and I was tired.

 

A Letter to our Midwife

holding space

I talk a lot in my work about ‘holding space’. I love this article that describes what exactly that means. Head on over to glowdoula.com.au to read the whole article. What does Holding the Space Mean?

In a strictly spiritual sense, to “hold space” for another is to make yourself a centering force.  To hold the space for a woman giving birth is make yourself the rock-solid ground beneath while labour throws everything it’s got at her.  It means passing no judgement or holding no sway over her decision making, nor her perception of her experience.  It means not trying to fix the unfixable, or reason with the unreasonable. It means accepting that there will be times in labour when she comes a bit unglued, and will be convinced she can’t do it – and knowing what she needs to hear (and doesn’t need to hear) when that time comes. It means making it emotionally safe for her and her partner to live through this most intense of experiences in their own way, and to feel whatever emotions come with it. It means making sure they know there’s a safe space if and when they need to talk afterwards.

Other great articles on what it means to hold space:

Heather Plett

Birthing From Within

img_3899-27_edited-1

Dads and Doulas

One of the most common concerns when a couple is talking about inviting a doula to their birth, is what about dad? Doesn’t he feel displaced? What if he wants to be part of the birth, helping mama through the experience?

Rest assured, having a doula present does not mean that the mother’s other support person, be it her partner or another loved one, is replaced. On the contrary, having a doula can help support the partner so they can better support the birthing mama.

With my first pregnancy, I know my husband was hesitant to invite someone else into our birthing room. By just a few hours into labor though, he already expressing how thankful he was that we’d chosen to have a doula. While my husband remained by and large my primary support, my doula was able to snap photos to give us amazing memories, and also to lend a hand when one or both of us were needing a physical or emotional boost. She grabbed water and snacks, she supported me while my husband made phone calls, she had suggestions for positions to try when I felt like my labor wasn’t going anywhere. And even if she had done nothing but sit- her presence alone meant the world to us in feeling like we had somebody with us that day that was completely on our side and focused on it.

I want to share this great article put out by Dona regarding dads (or other partner) and doulas. I think it sums up a lot of the common fears and concerns a couple faces.

Happy Birthing!


Dads and Doulas

Key Players on Mother’s Labor Support Team

There was a time when expectant fathers were portrayed as anxious, floor-pacing, cigar-smoking men who were tolerated in hospital corridors until the long-awaited moment when a nurse or doctor would announce they were the proud father of a daughter or a son. Today’s expectant fathers are different.

When it comes to pregnancy, birth, and parenting, today’s father wants to share everything with his partner. He wants to be actively involved, ease his partner’s labor pain, welcome his baby at the moment of birth, and help care for his newborn at home. A labor doula can help a father experience this special time with confidence.

The word “doula”, which comes from ancient Greek, today refers to a woman trained and experienced in childbirth. A doula provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the expectant motherand her partner during labor, delivery, and in the immediate postpartum period. The wisdom and emotional support of experienced women at birth is an ancient tradition.

Studies show that when doulas are present at birth, women have shorter labors, fewer medical interventions, fewer cesareans and healthier babies. Recent evidence also suggests that when a doula provides labor support, women are more satisfied with their experience, and the mother-infant interaction is enhanced for as long as two months after the birth. Also, with doula support, fathers tend to stay more involved with their partners, and not pull away in times of stress.

Today, a father’s participation in birth preparation classes and his presence at prenatal visits and in the delivery suite are familiar occurrence. Yet, we sometimes forget that the expectations of his role as a “labor coach” may be difficult to fulfill. Sometimes it is also culturally inappropriate for an expectant father to be so intimately involved in the process of labor and birth.

The father-to-be is expected, among other things, to become familiar with the process and language of birth, to understand medical procedures and hospital protocols, and advocate for his partner in an environment and culture he is usually unfamiliar with. A doula can provide the information to help parents make appropriate decisions and facilitate communication among the laboring woman, her partner, and medical care providers.

At times a father may not understand a woman’s instinctive behavior during childbirth and may react anxiously to what a doula knows to be the normal process of birth. He may witness his partner in pain and understandably become distressed. The doula can be a reassuring presence. The father-to-be may need to accompany his partner during surgery, should a cesarean become necessary. Not all fathers can realistically be expected to “coach” at this intense level.

Many fathers are eager to be involved during labor and birth. Others, no less loving or committed to their partner’s well-being, find it difficult to navigate in uncharted waters. With a doula, a father can share in the birth at a level he feels most comfortable. The doula’s skills and knowledge can help him feel more relaxed. If the father wants to provide such comforts as back massage and helping his partner stay focused during contractions, the doula can guide and make suggestions for what may work best.

Physicians, midwives, and nurses are responsible for monitoring labor, assessing the medical condition of the mother and baby, and treating complications when they arise. But childbirth is also an emotional and spiritual experience with long-term impact on a woman’s personal well-being. A doula is constantly aware that the mother and her partner will remember this experience throughout their lives. By “mothering the mother” during childbirth, the doula supports the parents in having a positive birth experience.

The father’s presence and loving support in childbirth is comforting and reassuring. The love he shares with the mother and his child; and his need to nurture and protect his family are priceless gifts that only he can provide. With her partner and a doula at her birth, a mother can have the best of both worlds: her partner’s loving care and attention and the doula’s expertise and guidance in childbirth.