Dads and Doulas…We Can’t Replace You!

Pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period are times of adjustment for all. Doulas come alongside dad and other support people to care for mom, but also to care for the entire family unit. A doula does not take the place of partner or dad, his role is unique and important. Occasionally I hear the misconception that doulas are for moms that do not have partner support or that doulas interfere with the partner’s role. There are MANY benefits for having a doula when a partner is unavailable and I’m sure there are some doulas that have interfered, but the role of the doula is not meant to and should not replace the dad’s role. It is so important these misconceptions disappear that many doulas devote entire webpages and articles to addressing dads. Here are a few examples: http://www.becauseofyoubirthservices.com/Just-for-DAD–.html
http://www.myluminousbirth.com/For_Daddies___Families.html
http://www.kimjames.net/Dads%20and%20Doulas.htm

Now that you know a doula is not replacing dad, what exactly can doulas offer? A doula is not there because a dad is inadequate. A doula is there because pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period are times of HUGE adjustment. It is nearly impossible to have a positive experience throughout those times without adequate support for all. While many no longer have a village lifestyle the phrase it takes a village has never lost its truth. From http://philadelphiapostpartumdoula.com/dads-and-doulas-2/ to the partners.

During pregnancy a doula can help:

  • Assist you in building your partner’s confidence in her ability to give birth
  • Explain how important your role is during labor and prepare you for it
  • Provide evidence based information about pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period so you and your partner can make informed decisions together

During labor a doula can help:

  • Provide behind the scenes reminders of how to support your partner while you take an active role in assisting her during labor
  • Provide practical support such as remaining with mom if you need a moment, or leaving to get something so you do not have to leave your partner
  • Assist in providing a positive birth experience by remaining calm
  • Tag-team with you to provide as much physical support as your partner desires
  • Bring professional labor support skills to provide you and your partner with the support you desire
  • Keep everyone supported during any separations. She can stay with mom while you go with baby, or vice versa, ensuring no one is left feeling unsupported or guilty for having to be with one or the other

During the postpartum period a doula can help:

  • Provide practical support as you and mom adjust to life with a newborn
  • Provide evidence based information and support for infant care
  • Explain your role in supporting breastfeeding and how to build your partners confidence
  • Facilitate infant bonding by providing suggestions and opportunities
  • Support you so you can support your partner
  • Assist mom during her adjustment to more solo care as you return to work or other responsibilities

Moms, if you desire the support of a doula know that we are not here to replace or interfere with your partner’s role. Dads, if your partner desires the support of a doula know that it is not because you are inadequate. We are here to support BOTH of you and help you both find your roles through this exciting but stressful time.