As a doula, I love working with dads to create an amazing team who’s number one goal is to support the labouring woman.
My favourite thing about doulas and dads working together, and something I tell all my clients, is when you hire a doula, the dad's biggest job is to love and support their partner, and the doula will take care of the rest. Let your doula be the expert in the birth process so you can focus on being the expert on your partner which, you already are because you know her better than anyone in the world and can support her in a special way that only you can.
But of course, I’m not a dad, so instead of writing on this topic myself, I’m going to hand it over to my fantastic husband Levi, a real dad who has personal experience working with doulas in the hospital and home birth setting.
Let’s hear what he has to say...
Future dads, has your wife been trying to convince you that it would be beneficial to hire a doula for the baby's birth? You should! There are many reasons that having a doula's assistance will improve the experience for not only your wife, but for you as well.
Think of a doula as the expert-on-call for the upcoming labour and delivery. She'll be at your wife's (and your) beck and call, and will take the role of your first person to ask when you have a question. Sure, your doctor or midwife can answer questions too, but they can't provide 24/7 support for all those little questions you might have. By having a doula on call, you reduce the stress for everyone leading up to the big day, and have a better chance of being able to have things run the way your wife would like.
If your wife is having the baby at a hospital, your doula can come with you and be with you for the entire process. Sure, hospital staff are there to help, but your wife isn't the only patient in the hospital and they do have other people to care for as well. Your doula, on the other hand, is your doula. They will be with you 100% of the time and be devoted to helping you and your wife. Even if you've got a midwife and plan on having a homebirth, having someone who is an expert at the non-medical side of the process, even in the weeks leading up to the birth of your child, will complement your team nicely.
Don't let yourself be convinced that doulas are only for helping in situations where the father isn't man enough to help his wife deliver a baby. Sometimes, strength and manliness aren't everything. Brains are important too. A smart dad will hire a doula because he knows that having an expert coach dedicated to a situation is always better than just figuring it out as you go. Maybe you've read all the books, but do you actually know what will help your wife when she's in pain? A doula's experience and in-depth training will help coach you through any situation that labour can throw at you. Even if you've helped your wife with previous births, a doula can provide you with more precise and efficient ways to help your wife be safe, and as comfortable as the situation allows. That's what you want, isn't it?
When my wife was expecting our first child, I tried to be as prepared as possible. I read a stack of books, watched a pile of videos, and tried to participate in our prenatal classes as much as possible. When my wife suggested that we hire a doula, I had no idea was a doula even was. Once I got that figured out, I was sold on the idea. The concept of having someone who wasn't a complete stranger, as we would be able to get to know each other in our prenatal consultation, who would be at our side for the entire process, was very attractive. When the big day came, much of my research went out the window because of the stress, and having our doula there to help me help my wife work through the contractions was immeasurably beneficial.
For our second child's birth, my wife convinced me that we should attempt to have a home birth with a midwife instead of the usual doctor/hospital experience. Of course, we still hired a doula as well, and I'm glad that we did. Our doula arrived at our home at about the same time as my wife's mother, and took charge of the situation immediately. I was worried about getting the birthing pool and other stuff set up while simultaneously helping my wife, but our doula knew what to do. It was really great to have someone focused on my wife's comfort and helping me know what things to do in order to serve my wife best.
Thanks to a doula, you have an expert who's on call all hours of the night, a coach to teach you all the tricks so you can help your wife as much as possible, and a team member at the hospital or wherever your wife delivers, who knows exactly what to do to make the birth experience as perfect as possible, not only for your wife, but for you!
Levi is a website designer and developer (he built this site!), new media producer, and all-around tech guy who brews kombucha with his kids in his spare time. You can find out more about him at LeviBreederland.com, read his blog at Levisan.me, go follow him on Twitter.