Dads and Doulas
heard a lot is what about Dad? Will a doula take his role? I hope to be able to answer those concerns with information taken from a handout by Penny Simkin.
Myth 1 - If a woman has her partner, the doula becomes redundant.
Reality – The doula may be the only person at the labor besides the partner
who is there solely for the emotional well-being of the woman. The nurse, the doctor, the midwife have other priorities that compete with
the emotional care of the woman: fore example, breaks, shift changes, clinical
responsibilities, office hours and hospital policies. The doula has few or no
other priorities. She stays through shift changes, and until after the baby is
born. She is not just another stranger with the couple. She has the woman’s needs as her sole priority. In some
cases, the couple will bring several other friends of family members into labor with them. Sometimes
these people can be uncertain of how to help which leads to confusion and actually adds to the woman’s stress. The doula can direct and coordinate the efforts of a group of people, giving them all
some-thing useful to do. So they work as a team on the woman’s behalf.
Myth 2 – The doula “takes over”, displacing the partner and interferes with their
Reality – The doula can actually bring the couple closer. By making sure that the partner’s needs are met (food, drink, occasional back rubs, and reassurance), the woman
and partner can work more closely together. The doula allows for the partner
to participate at his own comfort level. Some partners prefer to be there only
to witness the birth of their child and to share this experience with the woman they love. They may not want to play an active
role and do not want to be responsible for the woman’s comfort and emotional security. The
doula can fill in and allow the partner to participate as he wishes, without leaving the woman’s needs unmet. When the partner chooses to be the major source of emotional support, the doula can
supplement his or her efforts by running errands, making suggestions for comfort measures, and offering words of reassurance
and comfort. During a long tiring labor, she can give the partner a break for
a brief rest or change of scene. While the doula probably knows more than the
partner about birth, hospitals, and maternity care, the partner knows more about the woman’s personality, likes and
dislikes, and needs. Moreover, he loves the woman more than anyone else there.
The combined contributions of partner and doula, along with a competent, considerate
and caring staff give the woman the best chance of an optimal outcome.
Myth 3 – The doula has her own beliefs about how the birth should go, and imposes it on the
woman or couple.
Reality – The doula’s true agenda is to help ensure that the woman’s
or couple’s agenda is acknowledged and followed as much as possible. If the doula is thoroughly familiar
with the couple’s wishes and their birth plan, she may actually think more about it than the couple, especially when
labor is intense and things are happening rapidly. The doula can remind the staff
or the couple of some items on there birth plan that are forgotten, but which later might be important. Sometimes if a birth plan is not followed, the couple later looks back with regret or disappointment. The doula helps with decision-making by asking questions that will ensure that the
right information is given to the woman or couple so that they can make an informed decision. She
may also suggest alternatives for the couple to consider. She does not, however,
make decisions for the couple.
the doula helps make the birth experience to be as rewarding and satisfying as possible. As on father said, “I heaved
a big sigh of relief when she (the doula) walked in. I hadn’t realized
how much pressure I had been feeling. She not only calmed my wife, she calmed