Who doesn't love good ole peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Perfect fluffy bread, creamy peanut butter, and a tart jelly slathered in between. I mean really, it's such a perfect combination for almost any occasion. It just doesn't get old.
But I'm here to tell you about an even more dynamic duo, (and sandwich pairing) that is far better than that. Specifically, for expecting and new parents. The "Doula-Mom-Dad support sandwich" if you will.
Let's talk about the doula- dad dyad, and some of the concerns we've heard!
1) "I'm interested in hiring a Doula, but my partner is worried about not having a role!"
Let us just first say that we completely empathize with that concern. Partners already often feel like they are in a back-seat ride to their unborn child's experience. When you're not the one growing, bonding, and nourishing your baby, it's can be easy to feel like a passive bystander. So then your partner suggests hiring someone to attend the birth of that same baby. WOAH. Wait a minute. Then what will you do? Does she think you’re incapable of supporting her? Does she want you to be a simple observer?
Chances are, she feels the exact opposite. She wants you to be involved. You are exactly what she needs. But, how the heck are you supposed to know what someone in labor is thinking and feeling. Enter...the Doula-Dad dynamic duo.
As Doulas, the experience of you having your baby is something we need to recognize is not about us. We don’t care what you plan for your birth. We’re just there to support you through those choices, and give you tools to feel empowered throughout it.
We care how dads feel! We will ask you questions like:
“How involved do you want to be in the birth?”
“What makes you nervous?”
“How are you hoping to support her?”
Then, we ask her the same things about you. We will ask her what she loves about you. What things do you do when she’s uncomfortable that make her feel safe and supported?
Your Doula will be able to hone in on those strengths between you two as a couple, and bridge a gap in areas you’re unfamiliar with.
In early labor at home, your Doula can provide suggestions over the phone to allow you the space to be together alone, while still keeping your laboring partner comfortable and supported by you. When she's ready for extra support, chances are you will be too. Your Doula can labor with you and her at home, and help you decide when it's the best time to leave for the hospital or birth location.
Perhaps she’s really benefiting from physical touch during a contraction, but you’re nervous about touching her in the wrong way (after all, we’ve all seen the dramatized birth scenes in movies of women losing their marbles at their partner). This doesn't happen nearly as often as you'd imagine by the way.
Your Doula can use their expertise to apply counter-pressure on your partner’s lower back on the perfect spot. If she hates it, the Doula gets yelled at instead of you (win), and they can try a different technique. But if she loves it, your Doula may demonstrate, and slowly ask you to take over, so that you become her labor superhero. Sound good? I thought so...
Let's also take into consideration that she may have a long labor. What happens when she's needing constant physical and emotional support, and you haven't eaten in 9 hours? Your Doula can provide continuous support while you rest, eat, drink, use the restroom, or even grab a few z's.
2) "Our hospital has a visitor limit. I don't want my partner to miss the birth."
This is so hard. We understand that desire and know that many of you are reading from different locations all over the world. We are Omaha Doulas, and for the foreseeable future, Doulas are not considered visitors- but essential birth team personnel- and are allowed in addition to one support person.
We would love to explore what Doula support with your partner may look like at the hospital or any other birth location you are planning.
3) "My partner is supportive, but leery about hiring a Doula."
That's common! The good news is we offer free in-person or virtual consultations where you both can ask any questions you have, and get to know the person who may be at your birth before making a decision. There are so many Doulas and so many pregnant people. You should feel confident, supported, and empowered by the person you hire. For more information on booking a consultation, click here!
4) "He's on board, but worried about the expense."
We think that planning and preparation are so important! It's a huge part of what we do with our clients. We can value and appreciate the financial planning it takes to add a new baby to your nest. With that said, many of our services may be reimbursable through your HSA or Flex Savings accounts.
Doula support is statistically proven to decrease unnecessary interventions and pain medication while increasing overall birth satisfaction and healthy infant and maternal outcomes. What does that mean? It means that hiring a Doula can potentially save you money on your medical bill. Doulas are one of the best investments you could ever make. "If Doulas were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it." -John Kennell
We hope this information has cleared up some reasons to consider adding a doula to your birth team! Stay tuned for a blog about how Doulas can support dads during the postpartum period as well. We would love to talk to all of the moms, and dads out there. We believe in the importance of the father role and would love to enhance your pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experience.
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