Just like doulas support the laboring woman, we also support dads. And partners, and grandparents, and other loved ones too.
For dads who want to be intimately involved in their partner's labor, we can boost your confidence in that role. We can show you ways to help that you might not have thought of, or remind you of things you learned in class. When labor gets intense, we can reassure you about what's happening—the sights and sounds of birth can be disconcerting, even if you've been through it a few times before. And sometimes, supporting a laboring mom simply requires two people. For example, she might need someone near her face to help her stay on track with her breathing, and another person to offer counterpressure on her back. What if she wants something from her bag but also doesn't want you to leave her side? Doula to the rescue! We even have suggestions on what to say or how you can be helpful in any given moment. With a doula beside you in a long labor, dads can feel comfortable taking small breaks to eat, use the bathroom or even sleep for a short time, knowing that she is being care for by someone you both trust. It can be challenging work to be a birth partner and a doula makes that easier.
For other dads, birth is just not their thing. If you prefer that your doula be the primary hands-on support during labor, that's OK too! We've worked in both models, and we're open to however you see our role. Prenatal visits are a great time to talk about how both parents envision their birth experience. When we arrive at a birth, we find that dads and doulas naturally find their groove, working together to support the mom in a way that capitalizes on each of our strengths.
A doula offers guidance, ideas and reassurance that can make labor a more positive experience for everyone. Like a tour guide in a foreign country, we don't take over or detract from either partner's labor experience, we just make it easier to find your way around the unfamiliar territory. With our knowledge of birth and the medical system, we can often take some pressure off a dad so he can focus his energy on supporting the woman he loves. As doulas we care about our clients, but we're not as deeply, emotionally attached as friends and family. Because of that, we can lend a clear head to think through complicated situations and help you both stay as centered as possible throughout the birth.
The love between partners brings women strength in labor. A doula could never replace that connection, and we wouldn't ever want to! We're there to support a positive, educated and empowered birth journey for everyone involved.
Thank you for all your help this weekend! It would have been so much more difficult without you. I didn't see the need for a doula at first. I was wrong. Very wrong! I can never repay you for the help and support you provided during a very long and stressful day. I'm forever grateful that you were there and I'm now a believer in what you do. If there's a #2, you'll definitely be hearing from us again!
Thank you for everything,"
-Nick, dad to Lexi, born at Borgess Hospital
"Initially, the price of hiring a doula
was quite a daunting decision for us. One of our values is to live simply,
and we hadn't spent that much for a one-time service in a very long time.
Another of our values was to have our child brought safely and naturally
into the world. Finally, we decided that we needed the wisdom of someone
who had experienced many different births to help us navigate the emotions
and decisions involved before, during and after labor. We now feel that
having Jessica as our doula was so critical. While the hospital respected
all our wishes for a natural birth, we still came within minutes of needing
Pitocin, a c-section and/or an episiotomy. With the wisdom and presence
of our doula, we were able to avoid all of these and have a completely natural
birth! Jessica gave us great emotional support and intellectual insight
throughout the entire process. On top of that, she took amazing photos of
our birth that we will cherish forever. Looking back, it is so obvious that
Birth Kalamazoo provides an invaluable service at an extremely undervalued
- Aaron, dad to Mya, born at Bronson Hospital
"To say that Jessica was awesome is an understatement.
She was more than that -- she was an integral part of our birth experience.
She visited our home before the birth, providing us with valuable information
and resources. Jessica really took a lot of stress off me during the labor.
I could be there for my partner, or I could step back. Either way, Jessica
and I worked together just like a doula and dad team should. All in all,
I was thoroughly impressed with Jessica's knowledge, professionalism, communication
skills and conscientousness before, during and after the successful delivery
of our precious daughter."
-Eric, dad to Ella, born at home
(Read Eric's blog post about the dad-doula relationship)
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