Dads and Doulas: The Ultimate Birth Support Duo

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As more and more dads step into really hands-on roles in the delivery room, it can be kind of intimidating or even offensive when their partner wants to hire a doula. Sometimes the concern is preserving the intimacy of the experience, but most often what I hear is this: dads are afraid that doulas are replacing them in the birth experience.

 

I get it, I do. We spend so much time talking about all of the things that doulas do that it can really seem like supporting a birthing woman is a one-person show.

 

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. When we talk about the importance of building a birth team, we seriously mean a team. And, as on any other team, everyone on a client’s birth team has a specific role, including dads.

 

TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK

 

I like to think of it this way: dads know their partners, and doulas know birth. Together, we are kind of the ultimate birth support duo!

 

While we, as doulas, are pretty good at reading people, partners have a lot more experience at reading their people. Dads know their partners better than anyone, what they like and dislike, what they want and what they need—all of their specific quirks and typical coping mechanisms.

 

Doulas, on the other hand, have an understanding of the birth process that lets them anticipate when some of these things may change, or may simply look a little different from their typical presentations.

 

Now, imagine bringing these two together. Can you see how this allows for greater levels of support for the laboring client?

 

On the same team, dads and doulas are able to create a system that is specifically tailored to the client’s experience, filling in the gaps in each other’s methods.

 

DOULAS ARE FOR DADS, TOO

 

Speaking of filling in gaps, we aren’t just here for the woman giving birth, though, admittedly, they are the highest priority. We also show up for the partners.

 

Pregnancy, birth, parenting—these can all be overwhelming for everyone involved. Whether it’s questions about a procedure being suggested, a need to vent or process some concerns, or it’s just knowing that someone is by the client’s side while he steps out for a food run or power nap, doulas support partners by providing peace-of-mind.

 

And when dads are taken care of, they are better support people for their partners, too! Win-win.

 

WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM

 

Doulas are not stand-ins for dads in the birth room, nor are dads placeholders for doulas. The types of support offered by each person is unique to their role, and while doulas may throw in a few assists here and there for partners, we could never replace a father at the birth of his own child—and we don’t want to.

Elizabeth Gomez