Thank you for your interest in learning more about a doula. The more options you have during your pregnancy and birth, the more prepared you will feel for the miraculous event. Many women know they want a doula because they see the benefit of having continuous support during labor and the postpartum period. For some father’s a doula might seem like a replacement. When in fact, the opposite occurs.
The following is a list of common questions that Dad’s ask. If you have a specific question that is not answered here, then feel free to submit a question.
Q. Why can’t I be my partner’s doula?
Labor and birth are unpredictable, until you have witnessed several it is often difficult to give advice, support or think objectively. Doula’s do not replace dad’s, they simply bring the family closer by providing support to the laboring mother AND the father. An average labor lasts for 8 or more hours and will often leave dad’s feeling exhausted, hungry and overwhelmed. A doula gives the father freedom to get something to eat, call relatives or go to the house for something forgotten without feeling guilty for leaving the mother alone. Author Mayri Sagady reports that having a doula relieves most families “of the pressure to be the experts and frees them to feel and express their own emotions as they themselves witness the miraculous and challenging process of labor and birth.” An analogy that helps clarify the distinction between the doula and father’s role can be fairly compared to the medical profession’s acceptance that doctors cannot objectively care for or treat their own families. The emotional involvement may lead them to judgments or diagnosis and therapy that they would not make with other patients.
Q. Will my wife hate me and yell at me during labor and birth, like I have seen in movies?
Possibly. How women react to pain is often determined by the steps they have taken to prepare themselves, environment, fear and their level of control over what is happening. A doula will work with mom and dad during pregnancy; practicing pain relieving positions, massage, and other techniques. so dad will be better equipped to be a confident coach. A doula also has seen many births and can sense when a woman wants to be touched, where she needs to be massaged or when it is time to change positions. A doula will gladly incorporate dad and give him suggestions on how he can better care for his laboring partner, resulting in greater overall satisfaction for both parents.
Q. I am squeamish or uncomfortable about my wife bing in pain and the site of blood, what can I do to prepare?
A doula will help explain what is normal during the labor and birth process. If you have never seen a birth you may feel unprepared for the new sights, sounds and smells associated with it. Doula’s provide parents with educational material so they are better prepared for what to expect. I employ an “ask me anything” policy and encourage parents to talk to me about things they may feel uncomfortable with so we can work through them before labor and birth.
Q. What if my partner has to have a C-section? How can my doula help?
Most hospitals will allow 2 people in the room in addition to the medical staff. This is an important question to ask your Doctor prior to the birth. A doula assumes the role of comforting the mother and explains what is happening since mom won’t be able to see the birth and is often frightened by the prospect of surgery. The father will be able to take pictures and accompany the baby to the nursery while mom is taken to recovery. This way neither mom nor baby is left alone during this critical time.
Q. We have other children that want to be present at the birth, can a doula help?
Yes. In many of the same ways a doula helps the father understand what is normal, she can tailor these explanations to children as well.