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.