A doula won't outshine a DAD.

 A doula supported father is getting excited. They are getting close!

A doula supported father is getting excited. They are getting close!

Many families are hesitant to hire a doula because they are afraid that the doula is going to take the dad's place. A good doula wouldn't dream of it outshining a dad. A doula's job in supporting a mother is to help the Dad know what to do and when. And how. Then to give him the tools and opportunity to do it. 

Things you might hear a doula saying to a dad:

"Try pushing on her hips just a little higher..." 

"What do you think about taking her outside to walk? I think she might like some fresh air."

"I will hang with her while you get something to eat."

Which brings me to the topic of dads needing to eat and go pee. I have often seen a good dad stick by his woman, contraction after contraction, hour after hour, until he is pale in the face, shaking and sweating. Not weak from the work of supporting his woman but because he has't eaten or gone to the bathroom in 8 hours. He doesn't want to leave her alone. With a doula he doesn't have to. I often have to shoo these dads away, insisting they go take care of themselves. They go home, eat, change clothes, let the dog out and come back to the birth room a new man, recharged and ready to give their woman the best they've got.

This man may have been tense and uncomfortable for hours, worrying that the dog is going to make a mess on the carpet, trying to ignore a caved-in stomach and fighting the urge to pee. They later tell me they felt guilty taking care of themselves while their wife was so uncomfortable and clinging to their shoulders with a death grip. They thank me and claim that one act was worth the whole doula fee.

The most important thing to remember is that a tense, worried, hungry, uncomfortable person is not good labor support. Moms in labor pick up on tension and fear like a sponge. Doulas support dads and reassure them in every moment. We say, "This is totally normal, it will pass in a few seconds." Or conversely in a situation that is difficult, "Look her in the eyes, talk to her, this might get intense."  

With doulas, there is no baggage, no chatter, no judgement. Just neutral, professional, experienced support to support your man, and help you two, as a team, have the best birth possible. 

 
  No doula in sight! Doula is not taking dad's place. We had been in the hospital room for a couple of hours and I encouraged them to get a much needed change of scenery and sunshine. Labor really picked up after they walked some laps together in the hallway.

No doula in sight! Doula is not taking dad's place. We had been in the hospital room for a couple of hours and I encouraged them to get a much needed change of scenery and sunshine. Labor really picked up after they walked some laps together in the hallway.

 
 Back in the room I suggested then demonstrated forward leaning to relive back pain and belly lifting to get baby up to drop into the pelvis. I tried a couple of positions with her to find what felt best and what was most productive.

Back in the room I suggested then demonstrated forward leaning to relive back pain and belly lifting to get baby up to drop into the pelvis. I tried a couple of positions with her to find what felt best and what was most productive.

 Then, Dad takes over. A professional doula is like a coach, a sherpa on a Himalayan trek, a guide on an Amazonian riverboat trip. We don't run the race or climb the mountain for you, we might carry some of the load but mostly we just show you the way. 

Then, Dad takes over. A professional doula is like a coach, a sherpa on a Himalayan trek, a guide on an Amazonian riverboat trip. We don't run the race or climb the mountain for you, we might carry some of the load but mostly we just show you the way. 

 I was giving her something to pull on. Awesome doc waits patiently for the baby to emerge. The nurse making sure the fetal monitor was reading.  Dad is the only person that exists in her world right now  . He was cheek to cheek with her whispering encouragement and helping her focus  . Dad is the star here. No one is taking his place!     Side note: Don't expect the nurses to give you continuous emotional or physical support. They will most likely will be busy charting, reading monitors, taking care of other patients, maintaining equipment, calling  and consulting with the anesthesiologist/respiratory therapist/delivering doc, prepping the room for the birth, helping other nurses, etc. In other words, they are busy DOING THEIR JOBS. Continuous one-on-one labor support is not their job, although many nurses confide that they wish it were. Many   nurses are fabulously skilled at labor support, but the reality is that they cannot spend an entire night on the bathroom floor with you, or squeeze your hips and press acupressure points for 4 hours at a time. And when the shift change comes around, she has to leave.

I was giving her something to pull on. Awesome doc waits patiently for the baby to emerge. The nurse making sure the fetal monitor was reading. Dad is the only person that exists in her world right now. He was cheek to cheek with her whispering encouragement and helping her focus. Dad is the star here. No one is taking his place! 

Side note: Don't expect the nurses to give you continuous emotional or physical support. They will most likely will be busy charting, reading monitors, taking care of other patients, maintaining equipment, calling  and consulting with the anesthesiologist/respiratory therapist/delivering doc, prepping the room for the birth, helping other nurses, etc. In other words, they are busy DOING THEIR JOBS. Continuous one-on-one labor support is not their job, although many nurses confide that they wish it were. Many nurses are fabulously skilled at labor support, but the reality is that they cannot spend an entire night on the bathroom floor with you, or squeeze your hips and press acupressure points for 4 hours at a time. And when the shift change comes around, she has to leave.

 Baby is here! Dad and mom bonding. Doula keeping her distance. Dad and mom rocked an all natural, gentle birth and did it with grace. She couldn't have done it without dad and a their birth team: nurses, doctor & doula, all working together to support them both.

Baby is here! Dad and mom bonding. Doula keeping her distance. Dad and mom rocked an all natural, gentle birth and did it with grace. She couldn't have done it without dad and a their birth team: nurses, doctor & doula, all working together to support them both.