Many men feel out of control during the labor and birth process. It is in a man's nature to protect and help his partner during the trials and tribulations of life. Labor and delivery are foreign concepts that can make them feel helpless because there is no way to know what his partner is really experiencing during this momentous occasion in their lives. A doula's assistance before, during and after childbirth is often touted as an invaluable resource to the mom, but the doula can be a great comfort to the new dad as well.
Duties of a Doula
The word 'doula' comes from the Greek language. It simply means a woman's servant. Although the individual isn't an obstetrics professional, the doula does assist in many emotional aspects of the labor and delivery. The mom-to-be and doula establish a relationship months before the delivery. This gives the mom time to ask questions about each step of the process, and most importantly to express her wishes to the doula. The mom can dictate what things are important to her during the labor process and the birth of her child. The doula is her greatest advocate in ensuring that the mother's birth plan is carried out.
How Doula's Help the Father of the Child
The doula is there to assist the mom in being as comfortable and relaxed as possible during the labor and birth process. Techniques that the doula assists with include massage and breathing exercises. Most men feel overwhelmed and useless when they see their wife in great pain. The doula is there to reassure him that this is just part of the natural process involved in bringing a baby into the world. She can direct the father on the massage, relaxation, breathing techniques and different positions that will help lessen the mom's pain. This instruction takes a burden off the father since he may be so overwrought that he forgets all he learned in the childbirth classes.
The doula's knowledge and calm demeanor enables the dad to step back as a labor coach and to focus on being loving and supportive of the new mom. This enables him to relax more and fully experience the birth process without his mind going in a million directions to try to remember all he learned in the childbirth classes. Knowing the doula is there is also a great comfort to him when he wants to step back and take a break. He may wish to inform family members in the waiting room about what is going on, or simply get some food and drink to restore his energy during a long labor.