When we pulled into the plaza I suddenly had this sinking feeling that this might be a "Teen Dads" thing and we'd be 100 years older than anyone else in the room.
The room slowly filled with couples in our age group, most due around the same time (end of June). The night began with the 3 ladies who run the event explaining to us what a doula is and why everyone should have one.
We then went around the room, and the men introduced their partner and read their "affirmation" (read: cheesy inspirational saying) and share what your affirmation meant to you. Most of the men seemed to be a little skeptical of the awkward, share-your-feelings start to the night.
Once everyone was sufficiently introduced, three fathers (the doulas brought in) shared their stories. I felt like we were at one of those bait-and-switch, free weekend if you listen to our time-share pitch events. The fathers shared about how much easier the labour/delivery was with a doula, and how much better their doula-delivered kids are.
Next we broke up into groups (fathers and mothers) and took 20 minutes to make a list of things we'll need for the labour/delivery/aftermath. This part of the night was very useful. I now have an extensive list of things I need to pack for our stay at RVH. Once our 20 minutes was up we re-convened and compared lists. The guys' list was more practical, while the ladies' list included more abstract things like "patience", "support" and "listening ears".
Once we completed the practical part of the evening, we moved on to a list of encouraging things you can say to your wife during those times she wants to rip your face off. Classic lines every wife wants to hear... like "Ride the wave, it'll only take you higher." and "It's pain for a purpose. You are giving life to your baby." The goofy lines, combined with the easy listening Delilah-esque delivery, was almost more than I could handle. I had a hard time containing my laughter. I felt like it was a Saturday Night Live sketch, or maybe some hidden camera gag for Just For Laughs.
Despite the cult-ish feel of the night, I did take away some practical information. I feel like I have a better grasp on what the delivery process will be like, and what to pack for the hospital.
Would I do it again? Probably. My stress/anxiety level when thinking about the labour has decreased, so I think I'd do it again. I mean, what do you expect for free?