Doulas Serve Dads Too!
A common question doulas receive isn’t from mothers, it’s from the dads! Most fathers are concerned that a doula might “come between” mom and dad on their special delivery day. Definitely a valid, important concern! It is my philosophy that a doula is present during labor and delivery to serve both mom and dad.
In most cases, mom wants dad nearby tending to her needs, and a doula can help make this happen. Cases involve dad needing an item from another room, mom wanting to be face-to-face with dad but also needing a foot rub, or dad needing a quick answer to a question without leaving mom’s side. A doula can run an errand, provide physical support while dad provides emotional support, or be a source of knowledge.
Some dads have attended birthing classes and read all the books, but during labor he forgets. He loses his notes, can’t remember positions for pain relief, forgets when he should bring mom to the hospital. It’s a lot to expect from a first-time dad, and even experienced dads forget! If mom needs powerful counter pressure in her back, dad might not realize just how hard he needs to push to provide relief, and a doula can help show him how to best serve mom. A doula can help nourish the relationship between mom and dad.
In a less-than-ideal situation, some dads freak out. As much as they’ve thought about it, actually seeing the mother of his child in pain is too much for him to bare. In my experience, this is one of the hardest parts of labor for dads because it’s not something they can really prepare for! But mom still needs a solid rock during labor, and an experienced doula can provide the support she needs while letting dad know that mom is really okay.
For me, what’s beautiful about the relationship between parents and their doula is that the relationship can be whatever the parents want it to be. A doula remembers that this is not her birth experience, it’s their birth experience. A doula knows that they might want her to be mom’s primary physical support while dad meets mom’s emotional needs, they might want a doula for her experience and knowledge, or they might just want her to take pictures! In any capacity, parents should make their wishes clear to a doula, and a doula should respect those wishes.
My personal experience is that my husband was not on board with having a doula at our first birth, and in retrospect I feel like my birth would have progressed differently if we had actually hired a doula. Since we didn’t, I made a few errors in judgment that I’m sure made my labor slow down, stop, and then start again the next day. I’m certain my daughter would have been born a day earlier if we’d hired a doula! We had a doula present at our second birth, and she was very respectful of our wishes and helped me with the physical support when I needed it, but also took some pictures!
So dads, have no fear! Know that a doulas are support for you too!