Tag Archives: dads and doulas

Save the Cheerleader…..Save birth?

cheer-poms-hi

Those familiar with the sci-fi series “Heroes” will likely be the first ones to click through and read this post! But, jokes and cki-fi pop culture references aside, a doula is many things to a birthing mom and her support people: Cheerleader is just one. A doula believes in you, and your thoughtful wishes for the birth of your baby. In our prenatal meetings, we will talk about how I can best support you. As I visited with a mom prior to the birth of her third baby (and I was blessed to be at each birth as her doula!), I asked her, “Is there anything that really stands out to you, from your past experiences with me as part of the team, that you wouldn’t want me to forget to do?” Right away, she said, “If we did nothing else, I would want your verbal encouragement.” Having someone that at her core, believes in you, and your SuperAbility to birth your baby, is amazing.

On that note, I found two very encouraging blog posts that crossed my path this week, and I wanted to share them with you!

The first is an intriguing post, written by a registered nurse (RN) who works on the Labor and Delivery floor. She expressed the desire to help the patients she worked with through learning more about positioning and comfort measures — skills and information that were lacking in her training! She discovered that there was already a professional offering these services: a doula! Advantage #428 to having a doula at your birth: A doula is trained in comfort measures to help you through the birthing of your baby, and never leaves your side. The nurse in the blog post (listed below) lamented the fact that, due to shift changes, high patient volume, and (unfortunately) lack of training in comfort measures, she couldn’t support the birthing women in the same way as a doula. Some wonder (nurses and doctors included) if a doula takes the PLACE of the Labor/Delivery nurse, or MD. Not a chance. We have specific and DIFFERENT roles at your birth. Read here: http://taprootdoula.com/2014/11/12/how-doulas-could-save-birth-an-ld-nurses-manifesto/

The next post that caught my eye is one written by a new Dad. http://pregnancy.about.com/od/doula1/a/dads-and-doulas.htm

While originally thinking that a doula would be a ‘third wheel’ during the birth of his first child, he ended up being so “ra-ra doula” that he not only encouraged all dads and other birth partners to DEMAND a doula, but noted that for future births he absolutely didn’t want them to occur without a doula. He highlighted an aspect of doula support that other dads I’ve worked with note as well: Doulas make dad look good.

Each dad is different in the amount of ‘hands-on’ they feel comfortable with providing to mom. I have seen a wide range. Some dads would rather be the ‘drink runner’ and ‘hand holder’. Some are very hesitant in the hospital atmosphere in general. Some would love to do the double-hip squeeze, help with breathing, and many different supportive positions, but, like the dad notes in his post, he inconveniently forgot every. single. thing. he “should” have remembered from childbirth education class. Don’t worry – the doula has your back, and she will help you to participate at your comfort level – while helping to deepen the bond between mom and dad, and the other birth partners present. When I leave the birthing, I usually am leaving lots of love: Mom gazing at baby, Dad gazing at Mom, baby having his first snuggle time and breastfeeding session. Those gazes of love stay with me and encourage me to continue in the important work of being a doula.

Happy Reading!

*Are you looking for a cheerleader for YOUR upcoming birth? I have end of May openings, as well as June and August openings, and into Fall. Let’s have coffee sometime and see if I’d be a good complement to your birth team! Contact me today!  *

 

Doula as Trail Guide…

silhouetteparentsWhen deciding whether or not to hire a doula, some couples question, “Will the specialness of welcoming our baby be, in any way, diminshed by having a doula? Is it better to be ‘just us’?” It is a great question, and a common concern.

Let me just say, I love being the ‘third wheel’. My goal, as a doula, is to have your remember the details of the day in all their wonder, joy, their challenges that you met head-on, with the support of your birth team, which often includes a spouse or partner, sometimes also relatives or other close friends.

With suggestions and guidance from me, I work with the birth partner(s) so they can participate to their comfort level. For some spouses or birth partners, this is very hands-on, knowledgeable help and assistance. For others, who have not witnessed a birth before, my guidance can really help them to ramp up their support.

In most cases, we do truly function as a team. As a doula, I have been to many births, and have extensive knowledge on childbirth, procedures, positions, and more. I want to reassure you and help you understand what’s happening now, and where you’re going.

My husband, who is decidedly pro-doula, and I were trying to come up with a good metaphor to explain the doulas role. We think we hit upon a good one.

A doula is like a trail guide.

trail

She doesn’t walk the trail for you, but she’s walked this trail before — many times, in fact. So, she knows the large tree roots you want to avoid tripping over. She knows that, if the condition of the trail deteriorates in any way at a certain point, there are detours that can be safely taken. She knows the best places to rest, and when its time to forge ahead through a difficult part. She is just as comfortable walking ahead at certain points, but also trusts that you are a born hiker, and she trusts that you’re prepared for this journey.

When you get done with an amazing hike, you remember the hike – you don’t necessarily remember the guide. You rely on the guide’s support and advice, but the journey is what you truly remember forever. At the end of the trail, you might see a beautiful view, sunset, or other point of interest.

At the end of labor, however, you hold your baby in your arms; truly, the best reward…

Why hire a doula? Whether you’ve ‘hiked’ this trail before, or its your first time, a guide can provide valuable insight, advice, and reassurance. The guide, your doula, has gone down this road many times before, and knows just what to do when the going gets rough. A doula can help you arrive at your destination feeling empowered and awesome – and your birth partner can feel this way, too.

So, rather than asking, “Will the doula be kind of a third-wheel to this event?” I encourage you to ask, “How can this amazing journey be enhanced by a guide who has been there before us?”

I trust that you know how to give birth to your baby. I want to be a guide when you need a helping hand, and to be there for each member of your birth team, to have an amazing journey on the day of your child’s birth.