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How to Create a Low Emissions Nursery for Your Baby

If you are expecting a baby or have a newborn at home, you may be wondering how to create a safe and healthy environment for them. One of the aspects that you may not have considered is the level of emissions in your baby’s nursery. Emissions are the invisible waves of energy that are emitted by various devices and appliances, such as wireless routers, cell phones, microwaves, and baby monitors. Some of these emissions are known as electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation, which can have negative effects on your baby’s health and development.

Why are emissions harmful for your baby?

According to research, EMF radiation can cause various health problems, such as:

  • Impacts on brain development
  • Sleep cycle disruption
  • Behavioral changes
  • Immune system weakening
  • DNA damage
  • Increased risk of cancer

Babies are especially vulnerable to EMF radiation because their skulls are thinner, their brains are developing rapidly, and their cells are dividing faster than adults. Therefore, it is important to reduce your baby’s exposure to EMF radiation as much as possible.

Gold Coast Doulas Low Emissions Nursery for Your Baby's Brain Development


How can you create a low emissions nursery?

Fortunately, there are some simple steps that you can take to create a low-emissions nursery for your baby. Here are some tips:

  • Choose low-emission baby monitors. Baby monitors are essential devices for parents who want to keep an eye and ear on their baby while they are in another room. However, most baby monitors use wireless technologies that emit high levels of EMF radiation, even when they are in standby mode. To avoid this, you should choose a low-emission baby monitor that uses digital safe radio (DSR) technology, which reduces the emission by up to 94%. One of the best low-emission baby monitors on the market is the Bebcare baby monitor, which offers crystal clear audio and video transmission, long battery life, two-way talk, temperature sensor, night vision, lullabies, and more. You can learn more about Bebcare low EMF baby monitors.

Gold Coast Doulas Low Emissions Nursery for Your Baby's Room

  • Keep other wireless devices away from your baby’s crib. Besides baby monitors, other wireless devices such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, smart speakers, and Wi-Fi routers can also emit EMF radiation. You should avoid placing these devices near your baby’s crib or in the nursery. Ideally, you should turn them off or switch them to airplane mode when they are not in use. You can also use wired alternatives whenever possible, such as landline phones, ethernet cables, and CD players.
  • Plant more greenery in and around your nursery. Plants are not only beautiful and soothing, but they can also help create a healthier nursery. Plants can improve the air quality by filtering out pollutants and allergens. Some of the best plants for your nursery are spider plants, snake plants, peace lilies, aloe vera, and bamboo palms. You can also grow some herbs and vegetables in pots or containers outside your nursery window to create a sustainable garden.
  • Use natural and organic materials for your nursery furniture and bedding. Another way to create a low-emissions nursery is to use natural and organic materials for your nursery furniture and bedding. Emissions can also come in the form of volatile organic compounds VOCs. Synthetic materials such as plastic, foam, polyester, and vinyl can emit VOCs, which are harmful chemicals that can cause headaches, nausea, irritation, and respiratory problems. Natural and organic materials such as wood, cotton, wool, bamboo, and hemp are safer and more eco-friendly options that do not emit VOCs or other toxins. They are also more comfortable and breathable for your baby’s skin.

Gold Coast Doulas Low Emissions Nursery for Your Baby's Room



Creating a low emissions nursery for your baby is not only good for their health and safety, but also for the environment. By following these tips, you can reduce your baby’s exposure to EMF radiation and other harmful emissions while creating a cozy and beautiful space for them to grow and thrive. Remember to choose a low-emission baby monitor such as a Bebcare baby monitor to keep an eye on your baby without compromising their well-being.


Discount for Goldcoast Doulas Readers

You can enjoy an extra 15% discount on Bebcare baby monitors by using the code goldcoastdoulas at checkout on the Bebcare website.

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Mark of Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Child's Life headshot

Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Child’s Life – Podcast Episode #147

Kristin chats with Mark about how he came to write his book Emergency and why it’s important for expecting moms and dads to start thinking about safety issues about 8 weeks before birth!  You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes, SoundCloud, or wherever you find your podcasts. 

Welcome.  You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting.  Let’s chat!

Kristin:  Hello!  This is Kristin with Ask the Doulas.  My guest today is Mark Wilhelmsson, and he is with Our Child’s Keeper.  Welcome, Mark!

Mark:  Hey, thank you so much.  I appreciate it.

Kristin:  So happy to have you here!  So you are not only an author a new book titled Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Child’s Life, but you’re also a certified infant, child, and adult CPR, AED, and first aid instructor and water safety ambassador through the American Red Cross.

Mark:  Yes.

Kristin:  So tell us a bit about how you got into this line of work.  I know you had a different career prior to getting into CPR and first aid?

Mark:  I mean, talk about totally different.  So I was a trial investigator in New York City.  So I would basically – if there was a crane fell in Manhattan, or there a construction accident, I would take the team and basically we would go in and figure out, you know, who’s liable for what.  If there were injuries, are they substantiated, or, you know, is the plaintiff lying and that type of thing.  So we would do a ton of research on them and find witnesses and everything else.  So those would be cases in civil, supreme, and federal court, which actually, that skill set came in handy for what was about to happen with my two-year-old son, if you want me to go into that.  So it was just like, you know, any other morning.  At the time, we had just had a pretty new baby, a girl, so that was our fourth.  But she was up sleeping, and my wife had – my wife is a nurse, and she came back super late, as usual, from her crazy shifts as a nurse.  And so she was sleeping at the time.  And so Marcus had just turned two years old, and I was just cutting up some fresh fruit for him for breakfast, and I was sitting right across from him, watching him while he was eating, and all of a sudden, everything just sort of stopped.  He kind of froze, and I just stared at him and knew something was wrong but didn’t know what.  And time stands still.  Things just kind of stop.  And then of course, that quickly switches over to him sort of almost telepathically communicating, like, save me, something’s wrong.  And that’s when I figured, you know, that he’s got to be choking.  But the thing is, embarrassingly enough, I had no clue what to do.  I mean, I was just – I froze just like he did.  What ended up happening was luck saved him.  So he was actually able to eventually violently cough it up, and I got a second chance.  It was one of those scenarios where you – first you start crying with gratitude, and then that’s quickly followed by being embarrassed and then being angry, frankly.  Why was it that I had four kids, and I didn’t know something so basic?  So that was the embarrassing part.  Like, why was this somehow not on my radar?  After getting angry like that, I said, well, I sort of vowed to him and my other kids, and to my wife, too, that this is never going to happen again.  So I immediately went over and got certified in infant and child and adult CPR just by a local instructor, and we were having a great conversation about it, and most of the people in his class, he said, were people who had to be there for their jobs.  But the parents who came in, 99.9% of the time, it was because they got caught like I did, basically, without these life-saving skills.  It freaked them out, and so they did something about it.  So that’s where my journey sort of began.

Kristin:  Whoa.  So happy to hear your son’s all right!  But that definitely would alter your career path.  It’s such important work, and you’re right, most parents don’t have that training.  Or maybe they took a CPR class years back and have forgotten choking and everything we’ve learned.  So it’s important to keep up on that.  I know as doulas, we keep up with all of our certifications, and it’s really important to the families that we serve to have those skills.

Mark:  Yeah, and I think what’s so important about having a doula, too, in my mind, at least, is because of that, you’re aware of the fact that you need to refresh these skills.  You don’t rely on the certifications.  And the reason I say that is getting certified is not enough.  The way our memories work, again, as an investigator, I just took this – basically, this problem and went several layers deep, and one of the things was is like, we have terrible memories.  I mean, we have —yeah, within 24 hours, we’ll forget up to 60% of what we just learned, and within 48, it’s up to 80%.  So it’s sort of like, you know, scoring an A on a Monday and failing that same test on a Wednesday.  When it comes to lifesaving skills, you can’t fail.  So you have to have regular refreshers, and so I found that out, you know, again, through this certification class, when a client of mine in New York found out kind of the story behind getting certified, and he said, “Well, what would I do for my daughter?”  And I think she was 13 or 14 at the time, and I forgot the steps already.  You know, and that was just a few days later.  And I was like, wait a second.  You know, like, what is going on?  In other words, I couldn’t go back and explain the sequence to him.  So that’s when my path started to just, again, take another several layers.  I’m like, well, not only do I need refreshers, but just from a knowledge perspective, not so much as a career, but from a knowledge perspective, I also want to become an instructor and just really dive deep, not only in this subject, but also refresh and then teach other parents how to do the same thing so they don’t ever have to be sort of caught with that, basically, balancing act between tragedy and luck.

Kristin:  Right, and I love that you incorporate water safety.  There are so many accidents, and I live in Michigan where there’s water everywhere, and so with drowning, young children going into a pool or a pond in their back yard or river and so on.

Mark:  Yeah, and that’s one of those amazing things about the class, too, is when I went to go speak with a local swim instructor, you know, she was in her 70s, and so she’d been doing it for, like, 50 years, you know.  And the reason why she got into swim safety is because when she was a kid, she almost died of drowning.  So she decided to dedicate her life to it.  And one of the things that she said to me, which was a few of the reasons I wrote the book, was to really highlight the things that most parents have never heard of before.  They’re like, wait, what?  And one of those things was from her, and she said, you know, if you ever have a scenario where your child – let’s say they’re starting to walk around and they go missing for a little bit – like, you’re not sure – they get up early from a nap, and you’re still sleeping or something like that and you can’t find them, she’s like, what parents most of the time do is they’ll go check a closet or under the bed.  She’s like, go check any water source first.  You know, because they’re top-heavy.  They could tip over into a toilet, into a tub, into – I mean, there’s been instances where it’s been a dog bowl, like a dog bowl of water, and kids have drowned in that.  And then also a couple of other things is to use technology.  Like, our house is fitted – we have Alexas all over the place.  So if something goes wrong, I can literally broadcast to the entire house and tell them what’s going on.  If my daughter Lana went missing, I could say, “Hey, everybody, Lana’s missing.  Go check water sources.  Marcus, you do this.”  Yeah, and so it’s not only using the people around you, but technology like those Alexas.  You can outfit your house for, like, a couple hundred dollars.  It’s ridiculous.  So it’s fantastic.  We have all of these tools.  It’s just really a matter of sort of getting over the old hump of human beings where it’s not going to happen to me, right, until it does.

Kristin:  So obviously our doula clients are preparing for baby’s arrival, and we have a Becoming a Mother course, and our students are really trying to figure out what classes are important to take at what point in pregnancy, or can some things wait until later.  What is your suggestion for expecting parents on when they should take these child safety courses, and how many times they should refresh outside of, you know, obviously purchasing your emergency book and having it on hand?

Mark:  Yeah, so what I love about that course you’re talking about – I mean, having – I believe you have, like, six modules, so video courses that you can reference and refresh, right?  So as far as the timing is concerned, in my research, what I’ve found is that about eight weeks before you give birth would be a good time to start the process.  Because if you think about it – it may even be before that.  It’s really kind of specific to the person.  But when they’re starting to, for instance, have – you know, create the sleep environment, like how to create a safe sleep environment – that’s something we cover, and I know you definitely cover it, right?  For sure.  So it’s just a matter of, there’s so many things that are going to be happening.  I said this to a friend of mine the other day who’s going to be giving birth pretty soon.  It’s just like, no matter how many times – on the fourth child, like, you never leave the hospital like, I got this.  It just doesn’t happen, you know?  All that knowledge is out the window.

Kristin:  Every child is unique.  They all have different needs, temperaments.  There’s no manual.

Mark:  Yeah, and as far as doulas, too, I know a big part of what you do is also breastfeeding, and with our youngest, just to kind of hammer that point home a little bit, she was born with severe allergies, and even allergies to the breast milk.  And we didn’t even know that there was something – that there was a medical grade formula.  We had no clue.  So what did we do?  We ended up going in and out of the hospital, testing things out, and that would have been a helpful piece of knowledge, you know?  And so it’s really about surrounding yourself as a parent with experts such as yourself and the knowledge, and again with the timing, we talk about life-saving skills, and the emphasis is on the word “skill.”  If you kind of marry that with an emergency, one thing I like to say, and I think it’s true, is we really only panic when we don’t have the skills to solve the problem, right?  So for me, it’s like, well, how long does it take you individually to really learn a skill and then as far as refreshing to your earlier question, if you actually learn that skill and really believe you have a handle on it, refresh it every month at least.  And then also we have something that I created, just a PDF that we give out for free, which is just called a babysitter’s checklist.  And the reason we do that is to really highlight some of the basic things parents should think about once the kids get to the age where they actually have a babysitter.  Now, a babysitter, you might say, okay, well, I’m not going to do that until the baby is such-and-such years old, but I’ll leave him with my parents.  It’s a caregiver, right?  You’re leaving your kids with somebody, regardless of whether or not you know them very well or they’re your parents.  So they basically have to know those same skills that you know in order for you really to have peace of mind to leave the children with them.  So the checklist highlights something as simple as “know your address,” and that might sound really obscure or not exactly an ah-ha, but actually that tip came from an EMT friend of mine in New York.

Kristin:  It makes sense, yeah.

Mark:  Well, he said, think about it this way.  He’s like, how many people go to your house and know how to get there, but they don’t know your address?

Kristin:  A babysitter wouldn’t have that memorized, sure.

Mark:  No.  And what’s the first thing 911 is going to ask you?  Where are you calling from?  70 to 80% of calls made to 911 are from a cell phone, and of course, if you have a landline in your house, then the 911 dispatcher will know exactly where you are, but most people don’t do that.  They’ll call from their cell phone.  So something as simple as know your address, make sure that they know the address.  And also we always say, just spring for an extra $5, $10.  Have them come 15 minutes early and watch some videos on how to perform baby CPR or how to perform child CPR or choking.  Get these refreshers into your babysitters, and give them access to it.

Hey, Alyssa here.  I’m just popping in to tell you about our course called Becoming.  Becoming A Mother is your guide to a confident pregnancy and birth all in a convenient six-week online program, from birth plans to sleep training and everything in between.  You’ll gain the confidence and skills you need for a smooth transition to motherhood.  You’ll get live coaching calls with Kristin and myself, a bunch of expert videos, including chiropractic care, pelvic floor physical therapy, mental health experts, breastfeeding, and much more.  You’ll also get a private Facebook community with other mothers going through this at the same time as you to offer support and encouragement when you need it most.  And then of course you’ll also have direct email access to me and Kristin, in addition to the live coaching calls.  If you’d like to learn more about the course, you can email us at, or check it out at  We’d love to see you there.

Kristin:  Right, and there’s so many different trainings, even if someone is trying to – it could be an online and simple versus an in-person skill assessment.  So even asking for certifications and trainings, there are different types and levels.  So that’s a good point.

Mark:  Yeah.  And the thing about certification – like, I don’t want to knock on certification because, of course, we highly encourage everybody to do that, and the reason being is not necessarily from a knowledge perspective because, like I said, unless you’re in the top 10%, you’re probably going to forget that, right?  And when you’re in a state of panic, you’re completely useless in a state of panic.  What we say, though, is that from a CPR certification perspective, not to focus on the certification so much.  Yes, you will get that, but actually handling the mannequins, knowing what it feels like to give proper compressions at the correct rate and how to do a proper rescue breath, because the mannequins these days that you train on, they have lungs.  You know, like, they have these airbags that act as lungs, and we have these little meters on there that can tell you if you’re going too slow, too fast.  So just getting that sort of kinesthetic part of it so you can actually feel what it feels like to do it correctly is again just another level you can take.  So get certified by all means, and that’s why we chose our nanny.  We’ve had nannies for years, and we chose them from an international agency because they required that, and you can make sure that they got trained on that.  But at the same time, as I was going through this process, I understood that that wasn’t enough.  So I would actually not only have her learn from my own videos that I was creating but also spot-check her and say, “Hey, Camilla, do you know, what do you do in this situation?”  And you test her, and if she doesn’t know, that’s fine.  It’s human nature.  It’s like being back in high school, you know?  Like, yeah, you’re going to panic a little bit, but the main thing is, you’re getting it into their heads, like yeah, I should go back through this.

Kristin:  Yeah.  It’s not something you use every day, so it’s easy to forget.  Refreshers are very important.  Now, you had mentioned a bit about self-reliance and the time it takes for emergency vehicles to arrive when you call 911 and really just being able to act quicker than just calling 911.

Mark:  Yeah.  911 was one of those things that, when I was doing my research, which just freaked me out.  The average response time nationally of 911 is over 10 minutes.  And so your baby or your child could become unconscious or even an adult within under 2 minutes, right?  So it’s not only that, but also, again, doing the research on 911, they’re also an auditory system, and most of us are visual learners.  So here we are – like, we’re in a state of panic.  We don’t know what to do.  We call 911.  They tell us first thing, after getting the address, is to remain calm.  It’s like, great, thanks.  You know, like, that’s not so easy.  Then the next thing is, they’re going to start giving you instructions that are auditory.  You can’t see what’s going on.  Then you have to be able to visualize it and do it in a panicked state.  It’s just one problem after the other.  And then also 911, too, they’re also understaffed a lot of the time.  As far as the technology, it’s outdated.  One of the things, if you go to our website, we have this amazing video, and it’s basically a reporter who was calling a 911 dispatcher from his cell phone, and he says, “Can you tell me where I’m calling from?”  And she gives an address.  Now, she gives the address right in front of the director of that 911 dispatch center.  And do you know she gives the address that’s a quarter of a mile away?  Now, he’s standing inside the dispatch center overlooking the call center where she’s sitting, and the address is a quarter mile away.  And listen, I say this in the book, too.  I’m not in any way ripping into the 911 dispatchers, police, firemen, none of that stuff.  It’s just the bottom line, it’s the system.  And they all do their very, very best with what they have.  But my whole philosophy is, do that research.  Find out what are the gaps, and then parents really need to be self-reliant and fill those gaps themselves and not rely on someone else to save their own children.  Do you call 911?  Absolutely.  Do it every single time so somebody is on the way.  Just to take a scenario like choking, let’s say they choke on a screw, and you’re able to get it out.  Is everything okay then?  No.  They might have lacerated their esophagus.  There could be any number of internal injuries.  So you still want that EMS to come there immediately, same thing with allergic reactions.  That’s what I mean.  We have to do our very best.  But the statistic I found was that 72% of parents aren’t even aware of the fact that the number one cause of childhood deaths are from accidental injuries, these accidental, unintentional injuries, most of which could have been prevented.  They’re not even aware of it in the first place.

Kristin:  Right.  And you obviously cover poison.  A lot of parents are worried about childproofing during pregnancy and getting the house ready, and once baby starts crawling, what needs to be done.  Do you get into just safety with, like, poisonous materials and so on?

Mark:  Yeah, not only poisonous, but also, I did a video a little while back called Be Your Child’s Detective, I think was the title of it.  And it was basically, get down on their level.  And that really came from another one of these personal, got-lucky situations where we had some furniture that was being put together back when my oldest son was just crawling.  He was crawling, and I came home from work one day, and he crawled over to say hi to me, obviously, but I noticed when he smiled, I noticed something shiny in his mouth, and I was like, well, what in the world?  And I just calmly went over, because I figured if I startle this kid or if he swallows whatever that is – and it turned out to be a screw.  So the guys came over.  They put together the couch, and there was a screw under there that he could reach, put it in his mouth.  Now, is that their fault?  Well, yeah, but at the same time, it’s our fault, too.

Kristin:  Right.  No one knew it was there, yeah.

Mark:  No, but you have to be your child’s detective.  In other words, get on their level and do a scan.  What is down there that I can’t see as an adult standing up six feet tall or whatever you are, and get down on the floor.  What can they see?  Where can they put their hands?  So it goes beyond just basic childproofing with the usual stuff but also goes to really being situationally aware and saying, okay, well, if my child is crawling in this room, what could they maybe see or reach that I’m not thinking of?

Kristin:  Like a little screw like that, yeah.

Mark:  It could be a lamp cord.  It could be any number of things.  But that could have done serious, serious damage to him.

Kristin:  For sure.  So any other tips from Emergency to share with our audience?

Mark:  Oh, man, we have a ton.  I did a chapter called Parent Awareness And The Million Little Things, is what I called it.  Basically, when you really look at a tragedy or even an injury, but basically, if you think about statistically speaking, it’s super sad, just one of these statistics that I can’t get out of my head, and again, it’s one of the reasons for the book.  This year worldwide, nearly a million children will not make it to the age of five.  Now, that’s not due to war or famine or disease.  This is due to, again, right back to – these are unintentional, accidental injuries, most of which could have been prevented.  So when you really look at those statistics, there’s a lot of things that usually happen around one of these tragedies.  There’s a lot of little things that have to kind of come into place for that thing to happen.  Failures in a number of different areas.  And so for me, I really wanted to create a chapter on parent awareness.  Like, really, one of the mothers told me, she’s like, these days, awareness is a skill.

Kristin:  Yes, for sure.  There’s so many distractions.

Mark:  Yeah, and I tell parents, listen, if you’re looking down at your phone, that means you’re not looking up at your kids.  And then the million little things, I really want to just start sort of a list of those tips that most parents have not heard of.  The one I’ll just say is never feed your child while they’re in a car seat.  Now, how many times have you done that?  How many times have I done that?

Kristin:  I’ve done it!

Mark:  Yeah, I mean, all four kids.  And I’m like, wait, what?  And this was actually from the original CPR instructor who had been doing it for so many years.  He heard every story under the sun, and it made so much sense.  He said, listen, choking is a silent event.  You think they may be sleeping or whatever it is.  They could be unconscious.  And then by the time you get to the destination, which could be 20, 30 minutes or more away, it’s way too late.  So by all means, feed them something before they go and when they get there.  And if it’s a super long trip, that’s when you have smoothies.  You have something with the consistency that should not really be a choking hazard.  So really, again, situationally aware.  What could go wrong here and how could I really prevent that stuff from happening?  And we really wanted to highlight a lot of that stuff in the book.  And of course with the training itself, if something does go wrong, now at least you have a visual way of learning how to save that child.

Kristin:  Yeah, it’s very helpful.  I used to feed my kids puffs and – but you’re right, they could choke and you’d have no idea.

Mark:  No idea, yeah.  We did the same thing.  It’s amazing kids are alive these days with all the mistakes that we’ve made in the past, you know?

Kristin:  So in summary, it seems like preparation is key.  The earlier the better, but again, refreshing.  So if a couple takes a CPR training in their second or third trimester, then they should certainly refresh when – you know, multiple times.  When baby’s crawling, as you said; with some of the poisonous and hazardous materials, and water safety and so on.

Mark:  Yeah, yeah.  And that’s why we did the book.  We did the book plus the masterclass.  The book really is more of a motivation.  I think once they read through just the introduction itself – I mean, that’s where I really highlight 911 and all these issues including – I have one part of the book that I get a lot of feedback from that says, while everything can be Googled, not everything should be Googled.  There are some things you shouldn’t just go and put into YouTube, how to save a baby from choking or whatever, because you don’t know where that information’s coming from, who’s giving it to you, is it updated.  And then most of the time, that information is very specific to the title of that video, such as, you know, how to save your baby from choking.  That’s very specific.  A lot of parents aren’t aware of the fact that how you save a baby from choking under the age of one is entirely different than how you save a baby who’s over the age of one.  It’s just like you’ve done with your video series, as well.  It’s really creating a place where they can – it’s on demand, and they can go there 24/7 from anywhere, anytime on basically any device and watch these videos and get these refresher skills, all within just a few short minutes.

Kristin:  So they can go onto your website, Our Child’s Keeper, to get more information about the master class and your modules and some of the handouts that you were referring to, correct, Mark?

Mark:  Yes.  And then as far as the book is concerned, they can get it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, those types of retailers.  But also we’ve created a separate site for the book.  It’s a brand new site.  That will really expand on everything and bring them through not only being able to get the book or an audiobook or e-book version, but also if they wanted to get into the masterclass, they can do that, and then I can also do private coaching as well if they wanted to do something very specific to their family.  It really goes back to if they have three kids as opposed to one, what are the ages; what are the challenges that each of those kids have for their age, and then being ready for those scenarios.  And I think the other thing, too, just to wrap that part up, is just to – you also become a valuable member of the community.  This isn’t just about your kids, right?  I mean, you have the ability, you have the skill set.  Just like with doulas, the information they’re going to get from your course, they’re going to share, and that could very well potentially not only have them come into your course as well, but I’m sure there are just tips in there that you have that they share with their friends that could really impact their lives.  So I think what we’re both doing is super important.

Kristin:  Right.  We’re with you on avoiding Google.  It’s like, find evidence-based information.  Go to the correct source versus randomly searching for things.

Mark:  Exactly.

Kristin:  Well, I appreciate everything you’re doing for families, and also for caregivers; like you said, babysitters and doulas and other people, like even in workplaces, to have this training.  You never know whose life you might be able to save.

Mark:  Absolutely.  Absolutely.  And by the way, I just want to say one more thing about – when you say “workplace,” one little extra tip.  When you have this skill, and if you’re going to become a valuable member of the community or if you are somebody who has this happen in public, whether it’s in a workplace or in a mall or wherever you are, you really have to take the leadership position.  Everybody gets very emotional around children.  Everybody freezes.  You’ll see this on any number of videos of a child choking in a mall.  No one moves, right?  And so it’s very rare that anybody moves a finger.  But if you become a leader, you know what you’re doing.  You point to the person.  You may not know who they are.  I mean, maybe in a workplace, you do, but if you’re in public, you don’t.  You point to the person.  You say, you in the plaid shirt, call 911 and get an AED and come back because I may need your help.  Then that person will – okay, now they just got a directive, right?  They’ll spring into action.  But if you don’t do that and you say, hey, somebody, help.  No.  You have to really take the leadership position.  And so that’s just one last tip.  But again, you really only do that – we stress that in our masterclass really to just – I think children – I have a quote on the website, and I don’t even remember my own quote, but it’s basically – you know, I have so many quotes at this point, but it’s basically, I feel like children are really looking to us to be their leaders, right?  To hold them up, keep them safe.  And they deserve it.  And so looking at yourself as a parent, as the protector, but also as the leader.  And that goes for mothers and fathers.  We have to know these skills on an individual basis, not rely on even your wife or your spouse or your partner or whoever it is.  You have to be self-reliant.  And then if you’re leaving the child with somebody else, understand that you’re leaving them with somebody else, then make sure that they have that same or better skill set than you have.

Kristin:  Right, exactly.  Wonderful tips.  Thanks so much, Mark, and I can’t wait to share your book and your masterclass information with our clients and our Becoming a Mother students.

Mark:  Thank you so much for having me.  I really appreciate it.

Thanks for listening to Gold Coast Doulas.  Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.  If you like this podcast, please subscribe and give us a five-star review.  Thank you!  Remember, these moments are golden.


Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Child’s Life – Podcast Episode #147 Read More »

Family photo of a dad, mom, their son, and daughter candidly posing outside together

Welcome to Fatherhood: Podcast Episode #121

Kristin talks with David Arrell, author of Welcome to Fatherhood.  He talks about why he wrote the book then gets into some great tips for Dads and how to best support Mom!   This one is a must listen!  You can listen to this complete podcast episode on iTunes or SoundCloud

Welcome.  You’re listening to Ask the Doulas, a podcast where we talk to experts from all over the country about topics related to pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and early parenting.  Let’s chat!

Kristin:  Hello, hello!  This is Kristin with Ask the Doulas Podcast, as well as co-owner of Gold Coast, and I am joined today by David Arrell.  I am so excited.  He is the author of Welcome to Fatherhood.  He’s also an entrepreneur, and he is an educator and father.  So welcome, David!

David:  Thanks for having me on!  I’m excited to chat with you here today.

Kristin:  So it was perfect timing.  I am teaching a new course with my partner, Alyssa, called Becoming A Mother, and we have all these women who are engaged in the course and prepping for their pregnancy, their birth, and their postpartum phase, and they’ve asked me about resources for partners and fathers.  I didn’t really have anything to share, and then you popped up in my inbox, talking about your new book, Welcome to Fatherhood, and so I wanted to get you on our podcast.  You did a video for our course, which I’m so appreciative about.  So please fill us in a bit more on your background, what led you to, first of all, teach the courses, and then get into the long journey of becoming an author and getting a book out into the world.

David:  Sure.  Thank you.  I think one of the things that I learned with speaking with a lot of the other expectant dads out there and their partners, as well, is there are some good resources out there for us guys, but a lot of them just aren’t as clear or direct as I appreciate and as some of the fellow guys I would speak with would appreciate.  There’s some great learning materials out there, but they kind of tend to drift towards the encyclopedic.  Like, this is everything you could possibly want to know.  Which is great for people who have those deeper curiosities, but as far as, hey, I have some questions.  I really want to be a helpful, supportive partner.  But I don’t really know what that looks like, and what can I specifically do to better connect with my partner on her journey and also better prepare for what’s coming up?  So as an expectant dad, for our first pregnancy, I was very energetically committed to being that helpful and supportive partner, but as I was trying different things and learning different things, I found, looking back in hindsight, that there were a lot of things I missed or opportunities I just didn’t fully appreciate because I didn’t quite understand sort of what was at stake or how important something was.  And so those are the kinds of things I wanted to investigate more and kind of get a better sense of myself.

Kristin:  Great.  And so as you’re investigating, did you always think you wanted to write a book, or was teaching classes to fathers the top priority?  I’m interested to hear about that specific journey.

David:  No, I think, honestly, a lot of the energy for me that came, that I was able to marshal to getting first a workshop series and then the book, was born out of combination of excitement, of wanting to help other expectant dads who really wanted to be as helpful and supportive as they could, but also my own frustration with going through that process on my own and really feeling like there wasn’t nearly enough good information out there and also good direction for us dads.  Like, there’s so many times I felt frustrated where I eventually sort of discovered something, and then I was annoyed that it wasn’t just clearly presented to me right off the bat in any of the six books I looked through or the classes I took.  And I was like, well, this seems really obvious.  Why didn’t anybody tell me, as an eager dad-to-be who wanted to be a great teammate for my partner, why wasn’t this something that was told me on day one, and I had to kind of like figure it out.  And then going back and looking through the materials, most of the things I kind of touch upon either weren’t mentioned at all or were just sort of glossed over.  And it’s like, no, this is a big deal.  I wish somebody had grabbed me by the shoulder and been like, hey, this is important.  You need to understand.  And I’ve have been like, oh, good, thank you, rather than hearing it on page 7 in the middle of a paragraph and then moving on to something else.  So it was a combination of wanting to be a helpful contributor to the conversation and then also a little bit of frustration on having not received as much helpful information or input from the larger birth space as I felt I really should have as a guy who really wanted to be there for my partner.

Kristin:  Yeah.  That makes sense, and obviously, you could get a lot of questions and test things out for the book with these live workshops.  So you’re talking to dads directly, and they’re asking you questions.  What a great way to begin the book project.

David:  Yeah.  The workshops were a lot of fun.  I had some great – you know, we all have our own experiences, and we all learn from those, but having those workshops where there were other guys coming in with their own experiences, their own questions, I was able to kind of get a better sense of what was not only important to me but important to some of these other guys.  And then also I got a lot of great questions about things that just didn’t occur to me, again, that also weren’t mentioned in some of these other resources for dads.  So the workshop was definitely an evolving format.  I found that initially I was very earnest, and while that is important, I needed to bring a little bit more humor in there and a little bit more of an icebreaking element.  A lot of us guys, we have these uncertainties, and we’re feeling a little bit vulnerable.  We have questions, or we know we don’t know what we “should be doing,” but we don’t even know what’s the right question to ask.  So that’s something that really became a part of the forefront of the workshop and in the book, also; balancing out that sort of sincere, earnest, like, hey, man, this is important, but also having some fun with it and some jokes without it getting to bro-y and becoming just another beers and boobs kind of book type thing.  So trying to find the balance of sincere and this is important but yet also bring some of that humor in, too.

Kristin:  Yeah, I loved it.  It was easy to read and a lot of fun.  I know I’m a planner by nature.  It sounds like your wife is, as well, so I, with both of my pregnancies, took all of the classes; read the books, watched documentaries, watching birthing videos.  My husband is more of a go-with-the-flow kind of guy, but he wanted to support me, and I remember him, like, falling asleep as we’re reading Husband-Coached Childbirth and The Birth Partner and some of the books.  He was so bored at the end of the day as I’m trying to do all this preparation.  So he would have loved a book like that.

David:  Awesome.  And what you’re speaking to there is that, and this might be a good way to kind of jump into one of the first things that I talk about, is that for a lot of these guys, obviously, our partner is pregnant, and they’re having their own experience of that, but for us, it’s sort of this – it’s not an abstract thing, because we know it’s real that they’re pregnant, but this idea of, what does that mean, and when is the baby coming?  Like, I remember a funny story.  My wife got me a father’s day card when she was pregnant with our first baby.  And I was so perplexed.  I’m like, well, I’m not a dad yet.  This is – I haven’t – you wouldn’t give me a graduation card before I graduated.  Like, that’s the same kind of thinking.  And what’s important is that it’s true for us guys, but our pregnant partners are having very different experiences.  They’re a mom as soon as that positive pregnancy test registers, for most of those mamas out there.  Like, right away, oh, I’m a mom.  My baby is growing inside of me right now, and that’s very real for them in that moment.  For us guys, we’re kind of sort of hanging out on the sidelines, thinking we’ll be a dad when the baby gets here.  So that’s the big idea, number one.  We can circle back to the concept or the structure, but right away, big idea number one is what I call instant mama, which is: hey, guys, check this out.  Your pregnant partner is a mom now, and everything about that is very real for her.  She’s watching her food intake with vitamins and avoiding sushi, being specific what to eat, what not to eat.  She’s thinking about all of these things.  And a lot of the guys are like, yeah, I get it a little bit, but they don’t quite understand the implications of what that also means.  And that’s the first thing I want to tell the guys, as soon as you open up the book.  Right away, understand that this is real for her, and while you have your own truth that’s real for you, that bridge-building of better connecting really falls to you to reach across the relationship and really understand and appreciate that that’s really what’s going on for her.

Kristin:  And I love that you give so many ways to support your partner or wife during pregnancy and even using the code words for different situations in pregnancy or at the birth.  It’s a really great tip for dads.

David:  Yeah, the code words are one of my favorites.  This one, I get a lot of – I’ve gotten some really good emails from people who have tried it.  That’s Dad Tip #14, which is, code words are key.  By code words, I mean that you and your partner figure out a simple word that communicates whether a situation is a green light situation, which is, everything is good; we’re fine; let’s keep going.  Whether it’s a yellow light situation, which is, okay, let’s pause and maybe revisit what the plan is; or whether it’s a red light situation, which is, we need to stop now or do something different.  We used avocado for green, lemon for yellow, and tomato for red for us because that was kind of easy to fold into a conversation in a social situation where the people around us weren’t necessarily aware that we were having a second-tier or meta conversation.  So it’d be like, oh, do we need to add avocados to the grocery list, which is my way of saying, is this green?  Are we still good here?  Is this okay?  And Jen would reply, yeah, avocados sound good, but maybe we want to think about adding some lemons, also, which is, okay, we’re good but maybe we need to maybe shorten the plan.  I mention a couple anecdotes in the book.  One of my favorite ones was a red light situation we had.  We’re nearing “overdue” in the sense that my wife was 40 weeks pregnant and 2 days.  So for those of you who have that date circled on your calendar, that’s two days past the so-called “expected due date.”  So she’s ready to have the baby.  We joke that she showed early and often.  She had a baby bump right off the bat and loved wearing all the horizonal stripes and really embracing her pregnancy, but by this point, every time she walked into a room, people would almost think they had to get ready to catch a baby.  So we’re in line at this little ice cream shop near our house.  It’s August in Omaha.  It’s hot.  The ice cream shop was popular, so the line is about 30 people deep.  And we get into the line, and we’re already both a little dismayed because we were hoping magically there’d be nobody in line.  So we get up there, and this lovely older couple walks up behind us, and the lady, without missing a beat, says, “Oh, my.  I hope you don’t have that baby right here.”  And I kind of laughed initially because, you know, that was kind of funny.  Like, me too.  I don’t want to wait 30 minutes and not get any ice cream out of this deal.  But I looked over at Jen, and one look at her face, and I could see that the last thing she wanted was to have people talking about her pregnancy and the baby being late or due anytime.  She just wanted her ice cream and not to deal with it.  So I quickly perceived that she was not thinking this was funny, also.  So I said, “Hey, babe, there’s a bench across the street there in the shade.  Do you mind putting together our grocery list?  I know we need tomatoes.  What else do you think we might need on our list?”  And she kind of glared at me at first, and then she realized, oh, yeah, tomato.  Code word red.  She’s like, “Oh, that’s a fantastic idea.  I think I will go wait over there.”  So she happily went over to the bench across the street.  Nobody’s talking to her or remarking on her belly or questioning when the baby’s due.  So she was happy to kind of get out of that social situation, and then I was able to sit there and joke with the couple about baby names and all kinds of stuff.  Everybody was happy.  But just using that code word was easier for us to address that uncomfortable social situation rather than trying to have an explicit conversation about it in front of the couple and now the couple is worried that they accidentally said something.  So those code words go a long way.  There’s lot of ways you can bring them into conversations around other people where you and your partner can have that meta-conversation about how she’s feeling or how you’re feeling and stay connected as a team, especially later in the pregnancy when things might change a little quickly, whether somebody’s tired or wants to sit down or whatnot.  So code words are fun, guys.  Some people pick sports team jerseys.  Some people pick one with food, cleaning products, any number of things.  So have fun with it.  But yeah, code words are key.  That’s Dad Tip #14.

Kristin:  Love it.  Yeah, if you can illustrate a couple of big ideas that would be most helpful to partners, a couple dad tips, and then some scary moments to share.

David:  Sure, sure.  You touched up on the three main kind of components that I work with.  The big ideas are these foundational concepts.  Like, this is something – once you kind of understand it on a deeper level, it really clarifies a lot of what the journey ahead looks like and how best to respond in any given moment.  The dad tips are more specific action items, like do this or don’t do this.  And the scary moments are just a couple times during the course of the journey where us dads need to be aware of something that’s really kind of important, and we might need to kind of step up or step in or pay a little bit more attention to something.  So I mentioned the first big idea, instant mama, about how mothers become – you know, women become mothers as soon as they see a pregnancy test.  Another one that I think is really important, especially as you get further into the pregnancy, we talked about that due date.  So back to big ideas: a big idea that I think is really important in that second trimester when you’re well on the way of the pregnancy journey; the morning sickness has kind of subsided down; everybody’s sort of adjusted to where this is going, is the concept of teamwork.  Something I see with a lot of the guys out there is that teamwork is a kind of, “I do this; you do that.”  It’s sort of a divide and conquer sort of approach to things, whether we’re teaming up with our friends to play basketball; you stay over there and guard that guy, and I’ll stay over here and guard this guy.  Or even if we’re working on a project, like team lifting; like, you turn this way, I’ll turn that way.  A lot of the mamas I’ve spoken with, their sense of teamwork is, “Help me here with this,” which is very different, and equally valid.  So for this pregnancy journey, mamas and dads works best when they work as a team, but that different idea of what teaming up looks like, I’ve seen cause a lot of unnecessary glitches in that better connected relationship where the guys think they’re being a great teammate by going out to the garage and kind of sketching out a plan for the nursery or they’re going to go do these things over here, where for a lot of the mamas, they really want their partner with them by their side and helping.  Let’s have a conversation about cribs, or let’s have a conversation about nursery décor together.  So that teamwork idea; when you hear your partner – guys, when you hear your partner asking you to go to the store to look at some birth registry things, what she’s really asking for you is to team up and be with her on this adventure.  She doesn’t necessarily really need your objective analysis of which baby monitor system might be the best one.  That’s not quite what the thought process is there.  So guys out there, I always say, when you’re listening to your partner and you’re talking about things, listen with an ear for, how can I team up to be a partner with my girlfriend or with my wife or with this person rather than teaming up by going to do something else.  So that’s a big idea that we talk about that becomes more relevant as we get into that second trimester, when you start those bigger picture planning conversations.

Kristin:  Right.  Yeah, it’s about just being together as a couple.  I totally agree with that.  And of course some birthing persons might be more indecisive where they would really want their partner to do the research and make some decisions on the correct monitor, but most of the time, it’s just the company and doing it together and getting close in that way emotionally.

David:  You’re so right there, Kristin.  That better connected is one of the main taglines of the book.  Like you mentioned, sometimes it is helpful to have a second opinion on, whether it’s the baby monitor; do we want to do an elephant-themed nursery or a giraffe-themed nursery.  It’s good to have an opinion, guys.  Nobody is asking you just to show up and stand there.  But at the end of the day, that sense of, like, we’re in this together.  This is our baby.  It’s our adventure.  That’s really one of the most important parts of this whole process.  That’s that real helpful and support you keep hearing about.  That’s that feeling like we’re in this together as a team on this journey, and that’s the question I ask you guys to listen for underneath the specifics of, which teething ring do you like better.  So you may not have an opinion on the teething ring.  You probably don’t, as a matter of fact.  But entering that conversation with a sense of connection, and that’s the real idea, is what I recommend.

Kristin:  Do you have any other big ideas to share before we move on to dad tips?

David:  One of my favorite big ideas – we’re going to go to the labor and delivery section because this is where, for a lot of guys, all of a sudden it becomes very real.  Like, oh, these aren’t Braxton-Hicks contractions.  These are real contractions.  We’re going to have a baby – oh, my God, soon.  And we see this sort of flash of recognition across the guys’ eyes as they realize, it’s no longer when; it’s now, and oh, what do I do?  So taking some birth classes, you may have had some great conversations with your doula; you may have read some books.  And you’re going to hear, do this, do that.  But at the end of the day for the guys out there, the most important thing to do, and this is your new mantra, which is to be attentive to mama; be calm, and be competent.  That can look a little bit different as you go through the different stages of labor and into the actual childbirth, but the plan still remains the same.  Focus on mama; be present for her.  What I mean by that is, be attentive.  Ask how she’s doing.  Offer her a sip of water.  Make sure your phone is put away.  No video games or social media, as tempting at that may be during some of the slower parts of the labor process.  Be attentive.  You’re there to be her support person.  Be calm.  Sometimes there can be some challenging moments with different shift changes of your support staff or going through the transition and pushing.  It can be a little bit adventurous, but dads, unless you’re on the side of the highway and it’s just you and mama, you probably have some birth professionals there with you who have very specific roles and jobs to do, and yours is to be calm and not make that any more challenging.  So, again, focus on mama.  Be attentive.  Be calm.  And then the last part of that is be competent.  And that ranges from some of the things you’ve learned in your birth class or from your doula about how you can apply some pressure to mama’s back or shoulders or – I was kind of like, let me jump in there and help out, so I was holding a leg with one arm and holding a hand with another and wiping my wife’s brow and helping some of those, that tension in the face where I could easily sort of just brush her forehead and tell her how awesome she was doing.  So this is definitely a big idea where this is what you need to do.  You don’t need to be the OB.  You don’t need to be the midwife or the doula.  You just need to be the dad and mama’s number one support person who’s there to specifically focus on her.  So that’s a great one I like to tell the dads, especially when they get that deer in the headlights look of, oh, this is happening now; what do I do?  That’s what you do.

Kristin:  Right.  And if you have a doula there, our job is to make partners look good, so we’ll whisper in partner’s ear different things to try out and can show some of the hip squeezes that you mentioned and physical support techniques.  I always like to find out what the dad or partner is comfortable with in their role.  Is it more of the coaching?  Is it hands-on support?  Is it hand holding?  Do they have fears, if it’s in the hospital or even at home, and how do we best support them both?

David:  And that is so important, Kristin.  That’s a great segue into one of my favorite dad tips of all time, which is Dad Tip #7: Dude, hire a doula.  I talk about in the book with my various dad tips – most of them are sort of like recommendations or suggestions, but this one, I’m really strong on.  This is a definite, please do this.  And it’s not just for the awesomeness of support and help that doulas provide to your birth partner, but it’s for us guys, too.  I’ll share a quick anecdote about that.  This is one I talk about in the book.  Our doula for our first pregnancy happened to be our Bradley birth class instructor, also.  So both my wife and I had a good relationship with Barb.  Barb, great shout-out to you once again.  One of my favorite people on the planet these days.  So Barb and I had a good relationship.  We interacted over the course of a few weeks with these Bradley classes.  So as we got later into the pregnancy, nearing our expected arrival, I have some concerns because the Bradley birth class – our philosophy was, we wanted to go as natural as possible, as unmedicated as possible.  But my wife, as awesome and amazing and strong as she is, has a pretty sensitive tolerance when it comes to pain.  I’d seen her stub her toe, and she literally goes down like a sack of potatoes, and she’s holding her toe and there’s tears and a very appropriate sense of, this really hurt and this is how I’m going to respond.  But as the expectant dad who really wants to be supportive of our plan, I was concerned that she was going to have a lot of struggle with the natural childbirth where we’ve heard you can really feel some pretty intense sensations.  And I was internally struggling because I wanted to be 100% helpful and supportive to Jen, but at the same time, I couldn’t get over this cognitive block I had about her pain tolerance, or at least my perception of it.  So I pulled Barb aside and I had a private conversation and I expressed my concerns to her, and she was awesome.  She was like, look, David, I get it.  That’s a pretty common question a lot of guys have.  But I’ve seen you and Jen up close.  Jen is capable.  She’s strong.  And more importantly – this is something for all the guys out there to know – going into the actual childbirth process, mamas kind of transform into a different person, into a different being.  Their true maternal power shows up, and being able to work through some of these challenging moments is something that comes a lot easier in that moment than it would be like stubbing your toe or something like that.  So Barb was able to reassure me, which was super helpful because once I got that reassurance from Barb, I was able to drop my own concerns and fully commit to being helpful and supportive, rather than helpful and supportive but still having this large concern.  So that was just one simple conversation Barb had with me that reassured me, and there were several other times in the journey where she was a great resource for me as the dad, as well as an amazing, awesome resource for Jen during that process, too.  So dude, hire a doula.  It’s one of the best things you can do for everybody’s comfort and peace of mind and support going forward.

Kristin:  Yeah, I feel like a lot of dads are hesitant to hire a doula because they don’t want anyone to replace their role.  I know with our second, we hired doulas, and my husband felt like he worked so hard and we achieved a lot of our goals with the first, and he didn’t want to be replaced.  But after having doulas, he felt like he was able to relax more and didn’t have to know all the things and look at the workbook anytime a decision had to be made from our childbirth class and that he actually enjoyed the experience more rather than kind of feeling like he had to be the gatekeeper in some ways and make important decisions.  He had someone to talk it through, knowing that the decisions were still ours, but I was relying on him a lot so I could do the work of labor the first time.  And he enjoyed it and was able to emotionally connect more at our second birth.

David:  And that exactly mirrors our experience.  Having that doula there allowed me to fully step into my role as dad-to-be, as my wife’s partner in this process.  I mean, obviously, I’m standing there holding her hand, and she and the baby are doing all the work, but that’s where I needed to be.  That was my job, and my role was to be right there with her.  There were times in the pushing where she couldn’t hear what anybody else was saying.  The whole room was like this blur, and she could only see my and my face.  And that’s again back to that mantra of being attentive, being calm, and being competent.  Being able to have that doulas as my wingman to really monitor the room and monitor things and only tell me what I needed to know allowed me to do my job much better, and my wife was super appreciative of having the doula kind of in the background but having me in the foreground where I wasn’t worried about what was happening in the room.  I wasn’t worried about watching the tone of that new nurse that came in that maybe hadn’t read our birth plan yet.  I wasn’t tasked with doing all those different things.  I could just be fully relaxed into my role, and having that doula allowed me to do that better than if she wasn’t there.

Kristin:  Agreed.  So let’s get into another dad tip before you move on to the scary moments.

David:  Sure.  One of the funnier ones – and this one, I think I’m going to stick with the labor and delivery thing, which is Dad Tip #16, that mama’s water breaking is not an emergency.  For us guys out there who, you know, 99.9% of us have never been around somebody when their water actually broke, this vision we have is largely informed, or I should say misinformed, by all the romantic comedies we see on TV.  Somebody’s standing there; their water breaks, and all hell breaks loose.  It’s pandemonium.  People are running around, and they’re sprinting to the car and weaving through traffic like a maniac.  It’s like, no, please.  That makes good TV, but it’s the opposite of what’s actually true.  Again, this is on the dad tip side.  It’s not an emergency.  Obviously, you want to document the time, depending on your birth plan and how you’re planning on having birth.  Some places will want to be kind of pretty closely monitoring that within that 24 hour window.  You want to be kind of aware of what the water breaking situation looks like.  I don’t know how graphic we want to get here, but you want to look to make sure – both you and mama want to be aware that there’s not any sort of excessive bleeding or anything that looks problematic, but just a “normal” water breaking is not an emergency.  It’s a sign that you’re into labor, for sure, at this point based on how we want things generally to go, but again, this is a great chance right away to practice being attentive, being calm, and being competent.  Running around like a chicken with your head cut off is none of those things.  So, oh, okay.  Let’s mark the time.  Let’s sit down.  How else are you feeling?  How are contractions – coming along or not?  Let’s call our doula, obviously, so we keep the doula in the loop.  Some of your other birth professionals, you may want to let them know, as well, or some support people.  If you have a pet at home and you’re planning on birthing elsewhere, you may want to give that person a heads up that the pet needs that they’ve agreed to kind of help you with, you may be needing them soon for that.  So there’s some heads up you want to give people, but definitely guys, not an emergency.  This isn’t a bad episode of your favorite TV show where everybody freaks out.  Again, attentive, calm, and competent, and keep going with your birth plan.

Kristin:  Yeah, baby’s not necessarily going to be born right away after water breaks.  It can be quite some time.  Occasionally, we’ll get those where they’re pushing right after the water breaks, but you’re so right, David.  That’s not the typical situation.  Good tip.

David:  One more dad tip I like to mention here, and this is again right here, we’re still pre-baby because the postpartum period has its own sort of – it’s getting a lot more focus these days, thankfully.  There’s a lot of things – that’s where us dads kind of are really brought into the journey, but prior to that, leading into the labor and delivery – this is still back in that third trimester – I recommend the guys to watch a few birth videos.  That’s Dad Tip #15, birth videos.  There’s a lot of reasons I think this is a good idea, not the least of which is it’s a good way to team up with your partner and sit down together and like, oh, let’s watch some birth videos, especially if you have some clear ideas of how you are imagining you want your birth to go and your birth plan.  You can sit down and search for videos that are like that, whether it’s going to be a water birth or a home birth or a full hospital birth.  There’s ways you can search for those particular ones and get a sense of how that goes.  What does that look like?  What does that sound like?  I kind of get a little bit detail in the book, and again, I want to keep it PG here on the podcast, but there’s a lot of good information and experience you can get by watching these birth videos so that when you get to the real event with you and your partner, there’s not as much novelty, which is inherently kind of a little bit confusing.  You kind of have seen some childbirth.  You know what to expect and how your role can change throughout that journey.  So great final dad tip to mention here is watch some birth videos, guys.  That’s Dad Tip #15.

Kristin:  Great.  Love it!  So scary moments.  Or would you like to cover some postpartum and some of the ideas and dad tips before we get into scary moments?  How should we best cover that postpartum phase and being supportive?

David:  That’s a good question.  I think we can kind of time a couple of those together here.  So Scary Moment #4 speaks to our larger cultural issue that’s impacting all of us here in the US with limited maternity leave, limited paternity leave.  A lot of us are living away from where we grew up with our inherent community.  So what’s happening here in the US is that postpartum depression and even now postpartum anxiety is finally being recognized as a separate but related concern, and a lot of new families are struggling with adjusting with not having that traditional support mechanism in place and not really being supported as strongly through their work environment.  So I tell dads that this postpartum stuff is real.  It affects up to 20% or more of new mams out there.  And us guys, we need to be that first line of awareness.  Usually in your follow up visits with the pediatrician for the new baby, there’ll be a sort of informal questionnaire about how are you feeling, what’s going on.  But there’s a lot of reasons that mamas may be not as aware of how they’re feeling in any given moment and also a little bit concerned about how honestly they want to speak about that, especially in the hurried environment of a baby visit.  So us guys, we need to be that front line of defense on observing our partners, staying connected with them, and helping them make these adjustments.  So that’s a scary moment for us guys.  Like, hey, you got to take this seriously.  Just be a little bit more mindful.  It doesn’t mean anything’s wrong or anything’s going got wrong, but we need to be mindful of our job to kind of be a frontline person for our partners to depend upon, but also a frontline person to kind of observe and track how our family is adjusting to having that new baby.  And one of the best things we can do to really support that positive postpartum journey is what I call lavish sisterhood and limit stuff.  That’s Big Idea #11.  And what I mean by that is, by lavishing sisterhood, all of those great forms of community that are kind of our evolutionary heritage of having lots of other birthing mothers nearby, other new babies, maybe older, wiser grandmothers or aunts or respected community members – we want to do everything we can to encourage and support our partner to have as much of that as possible, whether it’s some new mama meetup groups.  I know a lot of doulas are now doing a lot more postpartum visits and help, as well.  All of that sisterhood, we want to lavish that on there.  Helpful guests; not the baby tourists that want to show up and hold your baby for a few minutes to “allow mama to get caught up.”  We want the helpful guests.  Like, hey, you lay on the couch and rest with your baby.  Just give me a few pointers of what would make you a little bit happier, and let me go.  I’ll go run the vacuum or put away some dishes or warm up some lunch for you.  Let me be a helper.  All these helpers are what really are awesome and really great experience for all new families to have.  The other side of that is: limit stuff.  And what I mean by stuff is basically everything that’s not that sisterhood.  Like, you know, you may want to have all your friends and family come over and visit and see the baby.  They might want to come and do that, but that may not be the best plan to help mama really rest and recover and focus on her relationship with her brand new baby.  Lots of quiet time is great for mamas; lots of time where they’re not worried about anything in the background, whether it’s all the things that go with being at home, whether you look and you see there’s some dishes that have piled up or the laundry bin is getting more full.  These are all things that us guys can do our part to make sure that these things aren’t impeding upon mama’s experience, whether objectively or just sort of in the background.  So these are things we want to limit.  So we can jump in there.  We can take care of these things.  We can also just encourage mama to really focus on baby and do everything we can there.  That’s super important to mitigating that scary moment but also just really helping those new bonds of new family – not just mama and baby, but also dad and mom.  That’s the new relationship you have, and dad and baby, too.  So lavish sisterhood; limit stuff.

Kristin:  Yes.  And postpartum doulas can help with all of the household tasks and newborn care.  Our agency does day and overnight support, so we can come in so couples can get rest, and we help with all types of feeding.  So that is a good idea, again, to focus on, especially with COVID, because you really need to have those code words figured out in not only limiting the number of guests but who do you feel comfortable with in your home right now and what kind of questions do you need to ask as a couple about their precautions, or are they vaccinated, and holding baby is a whole different thing than it used to be now.

David:  Yeah, that’s very true.  Very true.  And the more us dads can do what we can do to be a great asset, but also that understanding, of understanding where mama is and what she feels comfortable with.  These are all important things to help that teamwork and that better connection really thrive in this newfound space you’re all in as a new family.  I’m a terrible illustrator.  Otherwise, in the book, I would have drawn a picture of a stick figure mama and a stick figure dad and a stick figure proportionally-sized baby in between them, really small.  Like, this is what you imagined your new life was going to be.  And then for the second illustration, the baby would be as big as the Michelin man, like a giant in between.  This is the experiential reality where this baby is not a small addition to your previous life.  This baby is your new life, and all the things that means, all those implications for time and energy and experience are important for us dads to really get behind.  There’s no bouncing back.  We’re bouncing forward, and the more us guys kind of get on that page and can be awesome teammates and partners and also fathers to a new baby, this bounces us forward to where we’re going.  There’s no going back.

Kristin:  Right.  Your life will be changed forever, in many beautiful ways, but it’s a change.  I love just the focus on the relationship as a couple but also in the new roles as parents and as a family, if this is your first baby or any time you add a baby to the family.  It’s still a change, or as you mentioned, to some of the traditional societies, a rite of passage every time.  And then if there are twins or triplets in the mix, there are multiple Michelin babies.

David:  Exactly.  That’s a whole different reality.

Hey, Alyssa here.  I’m just popping in to tell you about our course called Becoming.  Becoming A Mother is your guide to a confident pregnancy and birth all in a convenient six-week online program, from birth plans to sleep training and everything in between.  You’ll gain the confidence and skills you need for a smooth transition to motherhood.  You’ll get live coaching calls with Kristin and myself, a bunch of expert videos, including chiropractic care, pelvic floor physical therapy, mental health experts, breastfeeding, and much more.  You’ll also get a private Facebook community with other mothers going through this at the same time as you to offer support and encouragement when you need it most.  And then of course you’ll also have direct email access to me and Kristin, in addition to the live coaching calls.  If you’d like to learn more about the course, you can email us at, or check it out at  We’d love to see you there.

Kristin:  Yeah.  So getting into another scary moment?

David:  I would say staying in that labor and delivery time, Scary Moment #3 is that your birth plan is good, but expect the unexpected.  I’m sure anybody listening to this has probably already got a birth plan sketched out with kind of how they want things to go, whether it’s what kind of music they want or what kind of comfort measures, what their ideal set of circumstances is.  But it’s important, and this is where this part falls on us guys when we’re sort of tasked to be the protector and room preserver as mama gets deeper into that labor and delivery process.  The birth plan is a great idea.  It’s sort of like an optimal situation, and many times, you know, experiences largely follow that birth plan, and there’s times where exactly what you’re asking for is what’s going to happen, such as the general music in the room.  Nobody’s going to come in and tell you you can’t have that music.  But there’s always other things that may happen, and all of your birth professionals have one goal in mind.  That is the safety of mama and the safety of baby.  And the birth plan is workable as long as, from their professional opinion, it’s not somehow impeding on that.  So that’s where I tell these guys, this may be a little bit of a scary moment where the birth maybe isn’t proceeding exactly according to plan, and that’s where having your doula and your midwife or OB or whoever these other professionals are to kind of help you understand where things may be shifting or changing.  But the birth plan is not a hill that you want to stake out and defend at all costs.  A birth plan is a guide, and there may be circumstances that arrive where baby has a different plan in mind, or your birth professionals do, and you need to remember that they’re all focused on the ultimate goal of healthy mama and healthy baby, and that’s a successful birth, not if it checked every box along your birth plan.  So I call this a scary moment because it may be a little intense if things are changing differently than what you had wanted and what mama had very strongly communicated to you, but you need to be able to flex and flow with the circumstances to preserve that optimal goal of healthy mama and healthy baby.  So that’s why it can be a little bit scary sometimes.  It gets a little bit intense in there.

Kristin:  Yeah, and you mentioned that you had taken HypnoBirthing with your second in our previous conversation that we had.  In HypnoBirthing, we like to call it a birth preference sheet versus a birth plan to be flexible, and labor is so unpredictable.  And for people who really feel like they can chart it out and plan their way into it, I mean, it’s up to how baby responds to labor and how the mother does.  And so it’s a great intro into parenthood because we can’t always plan everything, and our children – you know, things come up, and we need to be flexible and adaptable.  So I feel like it’s a good start for new parents.

David:  Yeah, and I think that’s such a great point, Kristin.  So much of what life throws at us is real, moment-to-moment experiences where we have our plans that we’re sort of referring to, but we have to remain flexible and adaptable to focus on those people right in front of us and what’s really happening, and thankfully, I think that’s where one of the bigger cultural shifts is happening for us guys.  Us guys are finally – I don’t know if finally is the right word, but we’re being more and more welcomed into the larger conversation and the larger trajectory.  You know, the old stereotype of dads pacing in the waiting room with a pocketful of cigars ready to give out, or even being told, you need to stay here.  You’re not allowed back here.  Your job is to not be here.  That’s all shifted where us guys can be brought further and further into that conversation, further into the delivery room.  A lot of the guys I’ve talked with had opportunity to be the one to “catch the baby,” and these are awesome experiences for us guys that we now have the opportunity to have.  So it’s good to have our plans, but it’s also good to be more focused in adapting to those people right in front of us and what we feel is going to be our best decision or action for our relationships and our family and what we want to have with those expert opinions being helpful pieces of the bigger puzzle.  So great point.  Stay flexible in the moment.  Have your plans, but understand that reality will often have a different plan.

Kristin:  Yeah.  And then again, if there’s a doula in the room and you need guidance, asking the doula, but just having a calm face and not – because, you know, your life partner will look at your cues, and if you’re looking very stressed, she’s going to be stressed.  So, yeah, being that rock and empathetic and just focusing, and as you mentioned, talking directly to her, looking at her, regardless of how the plan changes, is so important.

David:  And you mentioned having that doula partner there.  Our second childbirth was much easier for me and for my wife because we’d been down that road before and we had a doula our first childbirth.  We had a different one for our second one, and I was very – we both loved our doula.  We trusted her 100%.  So I was able to really be focused just on my wife, and we had a doula and a birth photographer who also was a doula, but she was there as a photographer, not as a doula.  And I was able to focus on Jen and be connected with her to such a degree that after Dottie, our daughter, was born, the doulas were laughing.  They were saying that they almost felt like they were invading our space.  Like, it was such an intimate – Jen and I had such an intimate, strong, powerful connection through that process because we were able to relax into that experience with having our doulas there.  The doulas almost felt like it was a honeymoon and they somehow got stuck in the room because it was such a charged, emotionally strong connection that Jen and I were able to have because we were free of those worries because the doulas were there to kind of have our backs.  So again I’ll circle back to Dad Tip #7: dude, hire a doula.  It’s great for everybody concerned, for all the reasons.

Kristin:  Yeah, and we focus on a couple’s connection first, so I love that you say that, and just remaining calm and supportive.  Any other thoughts or tips that you’d like to share overall?

David:  You know, I think I’ll wrap up with one of the early big ideas I have for dads, Big Idea #3, which is dude zone to dad zone.  That is sort of the – that line of thinking is the backbone that runs through the whole book, and it gets even bigger once you get into the postpartum period when you have your new baby and you’re “officially now a dad.”  And that journey has lots of little steps along the way.  It’s not a one time event.  And that is the goal.  Being a dad and having – you know, some of my proudest moments are when we’re out at the park and I have my little baby strapped to me.  We had this cool baby-wearing device that allow them to be on the front or the back, facing in or facing out, and being fully in the dad zone and having my brand new baby up against my chest, walking through the farmer’s market and seeing the other parents and the other dads.  Like, the other guys with kids would look at me and give me that wink.  Like, yeah, dude.  Welcome to the club.  That’s a real thing, and those were some of my – you know, I’ve had some other opportunities to have some success in my life, but these moments of really being a dad and feeling like I was in it and doing it right and getting that recognition from both my wife and also just random strangers on the street, that’s real.  The dad zone is a real place, and there’s a lot of awesome experiences waiting for you guys there.  So that’s the goal.  Dude zone to dad zone, full speed ahead.

Kristin:  Love it.  All right, David.  Thank you for sharing a lot of the bigger concepts of Welcome to Fatherhood!  I’d love to have you share how our listeners can connect with you on all the social channels, what else you’re up to, and then of course how they can buy your book.

David:  Sure.  So right now, I’m really focused on continuing to talk about Welcome to Fatherhood.  I love this stuff, and I’m always so excited when I have an opportunity to chat with people about childbirth and childbirth education.  So for right now, I’m fully in the zone for this.  Welcome to Fatherhood, I have a website up that, if you’re curious about the book or me or want to learn a little bit more about some of the free resources I have available, you can go to the website.  Like I said, I have great resources on there from birth plan templates to go-bag lists to all kinds of cool things on there, great educational materials, as well.  It’s all free.  Just click on the links there.  I have a Facebook page, but I wouldn’t say I’m active on there.  It’s sort of more of a hey, this is what’s going on, whether it’s a new review or a podcast or something cool I discovered.  I’ll put that up there occasionally.  So that’s just Welcome to Fatherhood.  You can find that on Facebook.  I’ve been getting more requests to do some Instagram stuff and do some great Instagram live videos, so that’s sort of a backburner idea as well as putting together a virtual sort of WTF – Welcome to Fatherhood is also WTF.  I didn’t mention that earlier, but the double entendre is intentional there.  There’s a lot of questioning moments us dads-to-be have with a certain sort of inflection, and those are the kinds of questions I speak most directly to, so getting an Instagram live feed for WTF would be also on the backburner.  It’s available on Amazon, though.  There’s links directly from the website or you can just to Amazon and search Welcome to Fatherhood.  It’s available on paperback and Kindle, and hopefully the audio book’s coming soon.  I’ve done all my work on the recording of it, so I’m exciting.

Kristin:  Amazing!  That would be so fun!

David:  Yeah, that was fun, so I could actually read it with the proper emphasis and what not, because the book has lots of bold and italics.  There’s a lot of emotional emphasis communicated through fonts and whatnot, but it’s hard to do that with someone else reading it.  So I did the reading for that.  It’s not finished yet, so hopefully that will be soon.

Kristin:  Keep us updated!  I’d love to share it when that’s out.  That will be great!

David:  Yeah.  I’m looking forward to that.  A lot of guys enjoy that format, whether it’s a podcast or audiobook in the car, so you’re going to get the real me for the audio book, not some paid narrator who doesn’t quite understand where to put the emphasis.  So it should be fun when that’s ready.

Kristin:  Love it.  Well, thank you so much for joining us today, David, and we look forward to looking at some of your Instagram lives in the future.  Keep us updated about a potential virtual class!

David:  Awesome.  Thanks, Kristin.  I appreciate you and the rest of the Gold Coast Doulas team for inviting me on.  It’s been a great pleasure.

Kristin:  It’s great to have you.  Take care!

David:  Thank you!

Thanks for listening to Ask the Doulas.  You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.  If you liked this podcast, please subscribe and give us a 5-star review.  Thank you!  Remember, these moments are golden. 

Welcome to Fatherhood: Podcast Episode #121 Read More »

Hiring a doula

Podcast Episode #22: How to get Dad on board with Hiring a Doula

On this episode of Ask the Doulas, Alyssa talks with Amber and Ashton about getting your husband or partner on board with hiring a doula.  You can listen to this complete podcast on iTunes or Soundcloud.


Alyssa:  Hi, welcome to another episode of Ask the Doulas.  I am Alyssa Veneklase, co-owner and postpartum doula, and today we are talking to Ashton and Amber, and little Parker is here as well, so we may hear him talking, too.  Hi, you two.  Thanks for joining us.

Ashton:  Hello.

Amber:  Hi.

Alyssa:  We have you both here today because some clients do have a little pushback when Dad kind of says, why would we have a doula in this sacred space, this birth space?  So can you two tell us how that story started for you and what it looked like, your journey into actually hiring a doula?

Amber:  Yeah, definitely.  I think for me, I have always been very attracted to the idea of having a natural birth, ever since I can remember, really.  I’m a hair stylist, and I have a lot of clients who have had babies, and actually, a lot of them have had natural births, and it’s always such an emotional thing to listen to their story and the experience that they have.  And I really do think it’s something that you very much need to prepare for and set yourself up for success with, not just something that you want to do, but something that you are fully comfortable with for the most part and having people in your court to cheer you along.  So I always knew what a doula was and a little bit of what kind of role they played, and that was always the common denominator in all of the births that I heard about was that they did have a coach there, a doula there, and so for me, it was kind of a no-brainer.  It was just something that once I found out I was pregnant, I was like, well, we need to start looking into doulas.  And so I had brought that up to Ashton one day and was just telling him, you know, we’ve got to hire a doula.  And I think it kind of caught him off-guard a little bit, and he wasn’t exactly sure what it was or why we would need one.  It was something I knew that I wanted, but I wasn’t so prepared to explain to him what kind of role they actually did play in the delivery room.

Alyssa:  How did that conversation look?  How did you start that conversation with Ashton, and, Ashton, what were your initial thoughts when she said doula?  You’re like, doula what?

Amber:  Yeah, I think I just went in assuming that he was going to be on board with it, and yeah, of course we’re going to have a doula.  So I was already kind of researching ones in the area and brought it up to him, and I just remember a little bit of a – well, why?  And that took me off guard a little bit because – I don’t know, but why I assumed he knew what one was and that it would be really helpful to us.  In that moment, I wasn’t sure, either, how to explain to him what one was, so I kind of remember there being a moment of, well, we’ll go back to the drawing board for a minute; I’ll do my research and kind of come up with some possibilities of ones to talk about.  It just didn’t go as smoothly as I thought, and I guess I kind of felt bad, too, that I didn’t explain better what a doula was, and I think – and obviously you can talk more about this, but I feel as though he thought it just wasn’t necessary, and yeah, the why, like why would we need that?

Ashton:  Yeah, I think the conversation when you brought up the idea of having a doula – I didn’t know what a doula was; had never really heard the term before.  I think maybe we’d seen some episodes of The Mindy Project and that was kind of my first exposure to a doula.  So yeah, at first, the idea – you know, at this point, we’re a few months along with the pregnancy, and obviously the shock has hit us.  It’s still kind of surreal; we’re not sure what to expect.  And the thought of – up to this point, it’s the two of us, you know, the team effort that’s going to get through the delivery, and I guess I kind of had that anticipation going into it that it would just be the two of us.  I was thinking that yeah, we can do this; we’ll do our homework, and we’ll learn the techniques that will help you deal with the pain and everything and how I can help you cope with that.  And the idea of bringing someone else in, as you described it, somebody to help you through the birthing process: at first, yeah, I felt a bit taken aback, almost that I wasn’t going to be good enough; like, what, am I not good enough?  Am I not able to support you through the birthing process?   So I felt a little shafted at first, and it probably wasn’t until I did some research and we picked up the book The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin, which is really an in-depth guide to what doulas are and a good resource for fathers and expecting mothers and probably other doulas and birth companions.  So it wasn’t until I started reading that and learning about the doula’s role; you know, it’s not that they’re coming and just supporting you, but they’re really supporting me as well, and I didn’t really understand that initially.  I didn’t think that I would need support through the process, but the fact is, we ran into all sort of obstacles and unknowns, and having this doula, somebody who’s been through dozens if not hundreds, even, of births with different people – having that kind of experience in our court really helped to ease a lot of concern.  Overall, looking back on it, we would absolutely do it again, even though we ended up having not a natural birth but a Cesarean birth.  It was maybe even more beneficial because it was such an emotional roller coaster.  We were set up to have a natural birth but we ended up needed a Cesarean because he was breech, and that emotional deviation was – yeah, the doulas really helped us process that as well.  So yeah, it was tough to process at first, but I definitely would recommend it.

Alyssa:  How long did it take you to get there, from the day Amber said, “I want to a doula” and he was like, what the heck, so this now, of him saying, okay, sure, I’ll read this book?

Amber:  You know, for Ashton, I think that he needs a lot of information around something before he’s on board, and I’m totally the opposite.  Like, I put all my eggs in the basket, and I just go full-forward without – and I’m like, I’ll figure it all out later.  Well, he’s very opposite, and so I had picked up The Birth Partner book for him because I do think that he just really needed to understand the whole picture and the role that a doula does play, and he didn’t know that.  So how I am going to get him on board for something if I just say, well, they’re just a coach in the delivery room?  It is so much more than that.  And so I think that just having the information is so powerful with that because everybody has pushback to stuff that they don’t understand.  That’s just kind of human nature, right?  So I think, yeah, the more information that he received – and reading that book, too, I think that he felt so much more empowered about birth and being a good birth partner for me, the role that he would be in, and knowing that a doula is just making him stronger throughout it and making me stronger.  It’s also just having somebody to always go to with questions, no matter what it is.  For me, I feel like our doulas, Ashley and Kristin, showed up in such a different way than I had originally expected.  You know, you bring them on to help you in the delivery room, and that unfortunately wasn’t the case for us, but the support that we received going up to that was just incredible.  You know, texting them with random little things.  I mean, it was my first pregnancy.  I would have a question about something or I would have a sensation and be like, is this normal?  And I always had somebody that I could go to with just the shooting of a text, no matter what time of day it was.  And that was really, really awesome for us, but especially for me, just knowing that things were normal, and I didn’t have to worry about stuff.  And we went through the hypnobirthing as well, so we just received so much by bringing Gold Coast on.  We had interviewed a couple doulas, and you guys were one of them, and we just felt like it was such a good match.  We did the hypnobirthing and just received so much information around labor.  I had no idea what your body even does during labor, and I think that bringing a doula on and just getting so comfortable and confident around what labor is, how it goes down, the differences, the changes that your body goes through – I think understanding that alone made me feel so much more comfortable in my pregnant body and potentially going into a natural birth.  That was what we had planned for, and it didn’t happen, but regardless, I felt like I had so many tools in my belt, and I just understood a lot more that I wouldn’t have received if I hadn’t hired a doula because then we probably wouldn’t have done the hypnobirthing or any of the other classes that we did, as well.  So think that it’s just kind of a –  you know, once you bring a doula on, there’s so much information that you can get from it that can potentially set you up for a successful birth.

Alyssa:  So we’ll have you on again to talk about how planning for a natural delivery and ending up with a Cesarean.  Ashton, I actually wanted to ask you one more question before we wrap up here.  So for the guys, for the dads out there who don’t read – like, my husband would have never read a book, had I asked him to.  If you had to tell them a couple things to say, okay, this is why you need to hire a doula; what would you say?

Ashton:  You know, I think it’s a tough question to distill it down.  Everybody’s going to have a different perspective on it.  I could tell pretty early on when Amber approached me with the idea of bringing a doula on board that it’s something that would make her feel more confident in the delivery of our first child, and at the end of the day, I think that’s ultimately why I wanted to support it.  I wanted to learn more about it because especially with the stress and the difficulty and the emotional roller coaster that goes on with having your first child, all the unknowns, all the fear – you know, at the end of the day, if having a doula is going to make you more comfortable, then that’s probably not something I want to oppose.

Alyssa:  How did the doula support you?  You had said that it wasn’t just for the laboring mother but for you as well.

Ashton:  Yeah.  Well, it was mostly educational, so we did participate in the hypnobirthing class, and I think learning so much about the birthing process through that also helped me understand the role of a doula, but also the role of myself in the delivery process.

Amber:  You felt very empowered after the hypnobirthing, right?

Ashton:  Yeah.  It took a lot of the fear and the unknown and made it more accessible because I knew or I had at least some ideas of what we were getting into.  But again, I think the emotions and the fears are probably some of the hardest parts around having our first child, at least for us, and having the doulas with us to answer both of our questions, being there at the delivery, helping us with our first latch once Parker was born – I think just having that reassurance and that additional resource and expertise just made us more confident going into it, which was certainly worth the cost.

Amber:  Yeah, I feel like we really had an incredible relationship with Ashley and Kristin, and it happened quickly.  And like I had already said, just always having somebody to reach out to.  I had so many little questions along the road, and it’s not like you can call your midwife or OB every single time you have a question, and going to the internet when you’re pregnant is just –

Alyssa:  Stay away from Google!

Amber:  You stay away from it.  So there was just always somebody that we could reach out to, and that alone was worth it.  And just the relationship that we both created with them, I think especially through the hypnobirthing, we both felt very empowered.  But they really empowered Ashton to be a good birth partner through labor, and doing the breathing techniques together, having him be my coach through that stuff.  While our doula taught it, I think that she really put a lot into his court in a good way.

Ashton:  Yeah, it was like a having a – Ashley in this case was a birthing coach for me and a birthing coach for Amber, but she definitely made me a more competent and confident partner going into the delivery room and through the last stages of pregnancy.  So yeah, ultimately, it made us both more at ease and more relaxed in the pregnancy in general, and that’s a hard thing to put a price on.

Alyssa:  Well, thank you for sharing.  We’ll have you back again, and we will talk about how your actual last few weeks of pregnancy went and how your doula supported you in that role.  Let us know what you thought about this episode.  If you have any questions, you can always find us:  You can email us there or find us at, Facebook, and Instagram.  Thanks.

Podcast Episode #22: How to get Dad on board with Hiring a Doula Read More »

dads and doulas

Dads and Doulas

Let’s talk dads and doulas!

I often see a look of relief on the face of the husband or partner when I explain that we never replace their role in birth! There is often a concern that they will be left out of the birth or that the experience will be less intimate. At Gold Coast,  we pride ourselves on stepping in when needed and also stepping back so that the partner can be the primary support.  We make suggestions on position changes, we will hand the partner a glass of water to give his wife. We can remind him to tell her what a great job she is doing. We take over hip squeezes after he gets tired. We make sure the partner is well fed and is able to use the restroom. We care for the partner as much as we care for the birthing woman. We consider both of them our clients. We want our clients to have memories of the support she received from her partner rather than the support we provided.

My husband and I hired doulas at our second birth. I decided to ask Patrick about our experience the second time around with doula support versus the first birth without it.


What did you like about hiring a doula for our second birth? I felt like I didn’t have to know all the answers. There was a lot of pressure to remember everything from Lamaze class the first time around. I knew that I could ask questions and that the doulas would know the answers as things came up during the birth.

What were your concerns about hiring a doula? My concern wasn’t about hiring a doula. I wanted to make sure that we hired the right doula or doulas in our case. I wanted to be heavily involved in the birth. I wanted to know how a doula might detract from my role. They answered my questions well and I felt like we were all part of a team early on.

What did you think of attending prenatals with me during my pregnancy?  I enjoyed building the birth plan with our doulas and being able to go through different scenarios with them.

What did you like about having doulas at our second birth? I liked that it was another layer of support that was looking out entirely our own interest. I thought that the follow-up support postpartum was also important and not something that you typically get within your own network. We didn’t call our doulas in until later in labor, so we had a lot of intimate time at our home before going to the hospital where our doulas supported us.

Do you have anything to add? I think it is important for dads to be able to do what they are comfortable with and to feel as engaged as they want to be. I wasn’t comfortable catching our baby for example.

Dads and Doulas Read More »