Photographs are courtesy of Kendra Renee Photography
Pregnancy, Birth… And Dads?
Dads’ Crucial Role in the Childbearing Year
Ah, pregnancy and birth. What a beautiful time in our lives as we become mothers. We get showered with gifts, no longer have to find excuses just to get pampered, and get to wonder what our little one will look like when we finally get to see their face. But, what about dads?
Often times, dads are overlooked. I mean, if you get really fancy, you’ll throw him a diaper shower; and that’s about it. For the most part, men are left feeling disconnected from the pregnancy and birth experience. Even studies (link: https://utswmed.org/medblog/paternal-postpartum-depression/) show that up to 10% of dads can experience postpartum depression. Why is this?
As birth doulas, Andrea and I have found that the father is often filled with anxiety about pregnancy and labor. Sometimes asking questions like “What if she’s in too much pain” or “What if I forget what our childbirth classes taught us while we’re in the heat of labor” or “What if I faint” or “What if things go wrong”. All of these are real and valid questions that we come across. In labor, and even during pregnancy, emotions run high, emergencies can happen, and the birthing mom can get confused with all of the protocols. Dads often experience these same things too.
The vast majority of men are fixers; I haven’t met one that isn’t yet. They want to take away their partner’s pain, make it better, and speed things up. Ask my husband! He would’ve been lost without our doula guiding him. Hold on a second. Read that again. He would’ve been lost without our doula guiding him. He had never been through a birth before as a new, young, 21-year-old father. He’d never heard of an epidural, prodromal labor, or even what the heck a placenta was.
Thankfully, with the education we received and the physical support we had from our doula, he was able to somewhat understand what to expect during labor and birth. Dads can be rock star labor support persons with the correct knowledge and guidance from doulas. If he forgets the right natural pain management technique for lower back pain while his wife is screaming at him? The doula is right there to guide his hands to do a sacral counter pressure. Mom’s breathing getting out of hand? Doulas train dads to be right there helping her get her breathing under control.
“Our doula (Andrea) really helped me coach my wife through labor. Despite all the classes I took, I would have been lost without her.” – Client testimonial
“I enjoyed how well she (Victoria) attended to his needs as well.” – Testimonial from midwife
While most see a doula as not cost-effective or possibly not needed, we do more than just labor and birth support. We educate, bridge gaps, build relationships, show you the power you already possess as parents and support persons, and most of all, we support the family unit and their choices. We create a safe environment for dads to ask questions and feel equipped to fully support their partner/spouse during the childbearing year.
Dads, you’re needed. When you’re all in for the childbearing year (pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum periods), you create safety for your birthing partner/wife. No matter where you decide to give birth, there are countless testimonials that tell of the birthing mother stating that the man in her life created an atmosphere of trust and “home” while in labor. Now, this might not be true for all situations. However, for most, it can be. Doulas play a crucial role in educating dads to be the best support person during the childbearing year. But dads, you’re the real rock stars. After all, you’re the ones who help make the baby too. ☺
Guest Blog Author:
Andrea Hahn – As a doula, educator and lactation advocate, Andrea has been serving the Tri- Cities and Thumb areas for over 20 years. It is her passion to advocate for women through the childbearing year and bring positive birth experiences to families.
Andrea Hahn – Professional Birth Doula
**Read other blog articles for DADS by clicking HERE.