Support doesn’t always look the same for every person, or even every birth. Surrogacy adds another dimension to the birth experience for everyone involved. As a doula, I have supported births of every kind, from home births to planned caesareans and every shade of grey in-between. I have also supported a variety of families, including single mothers by choice, same-sex parents, and more. Each family has had different needs and different expectations of doula support.
There is a common idea that Intended Parents through surrogacy do not need a doula during the birth of the baby. This idea stems from the origins of doulas – as individuals who advocate for birth outcomes and against interventions, and who are there to help a birthing person achieve a particular type of birth. But doulas have evolved! Our support is no longer about achieving a particular kind of birth for any one individual, but about a supported experience for the entire family involved, which can include the Surrogate Mother and the Intended Parents.
So how do doulas support Intended Parents? They aren’t the ones pushing out a baby! No, they aren’t, but their babies birth date is an important, exciting, and possibly overwhelming day for them too. Just as doulas support partners when they are working with a birthing family, they can support Intended Parents as they anticipate and wait for that special moment.
As a doula, I worked with a particularly memorable family where my role was quite different from the typical doula role. The birthing person had given birth before, and felt comfortable and experienced in moving forward with the birth. However, the partner had never witnessed birth or been a parent before and they were extremely nervous. I was hired to be the partner’s doula; a guide who would be present during the birth to calm, reassure, provide relief, and a break when needed. Did I hold a leg and do some coaching during pushing? Of course! But that was not my primary role at that birth.
Imagine all those months of waiting, wondering when your baby will come, what will they be like, but as the Intended Parents, not having a person to ask questions of or express your anxieties too. That is where your doula comes in. Your doula will listen, answer questions, make suggestions, and be a general expert for you to lean on in the months leading up to the big day.
Having a doula there just for you on the day of the birth means having someone to reassure you, a person who can answer your questions, and a person who can support everything you are feeling without any judgment. Your doula is there to be your coach, wedding planner, and professional best friend through your entire journey to parenthood.
Guest Blogger Meaghan Grant is the proud co-owner of Toronto Family Doulas.