I consider myself very fortunate. I was born into a huge family and grew up with a ton of family members that gave me a lot of love, time, and support, from as far back as I can remember. Father’s Day has just passed and I must admit I love seeing pictures of proud fathers of color. I am reminded about how lucky I am to continue to meet the next generation of men in labor and birth.
As a certified birth doula, I have had the opportunity to meet and work with awesome new fathers. Some of the most beautiful moments in my life are witnessing the birth of a baby. An integral part of my work as a birth doula is to help prepare families for the occasion. Not only do I prepare mothers, but I assist fathers as well.
I have grown to know and love the families I worked with from the beginning because of our special connection. Here are a few ways a birth or postpartum doula will help both you and a new dad on the arrival of your baby. For example, did you know, with doula support and involvement, fathers tend to be more involved with their partners, rather than pull away in times of stress?
Here are some other reasons a woman and her partner may want to consider having a birth doula for their first birth.
- Dads will be more educated in prenatal health and birth preparations. Evidence based information and advocacy for new dads is invaluable to a woman in labor, a doula can help you access information about topics most relevant to your needs.
- Because of a man’s basic natural and instinct to protect and support his family, it is important to give him the tools to advocate for his partner in a healthcare environment where many men are unfamiliar. A doula can provide information to help them both make appropriate decisions together along with medical professionals.
- Giving birth may often be a very long event in terms of time and anticipation. Some births can be short, but labor may last various lengths of time. Some of my clients have labored up to thirty-six hours. Because doulas provide continuous birth and labor support, most doulas do not leave your side during your labor and birth. This gives both parents a moment to rest during the process without worrying they will neglect their partner’s needs. Most people do not run too well with lack of sleep, but doulas are built for it.
- One thing that I always encourage new dads to do is assist with various comfort positions. Preparing for birth and labor is more of a physical event than most new parents anticipate. Having your partner and doula familiar with various positions to help relieve stress and you can discuss appropriate physical needs during birth and labor.
- It is critical for doulas to help dads connect to the process of birth. Dads want to be able to give encouragement and support. Doulas help assist men’s transition into fatherhood by educating them to look for signs to reduce postpartum depression and increase breastfeeding rates.
The gift of a birth doula has several advantages. Talk with your partner about the importance of his involvement and support. Doulas are available to help your family experience birth support success. Our role is to assist parents to prepare and enhance their new role as parents.
ShLanda Burton, CD(DONA)