A general concern of many fathers about having a Doula present is “Will she take over?” and leave the Dad feeling useless or excluded. Even when the roles of each person are discussed prior to birth, some fathers still feel concerned going into the birth that they will feel excluded.
However, often the most sceptical of fathers become the biggest supporters of Doula’s after the birth has taken place.
Why is this?
The simple answer is that most fathers discover that a Doula is not just for the mother, but for him as well. Labour and birth is an intense experience for both parents, and they both need support in different ways. Some fathers feel a huge amount of responsibility in trying to know exactly how to support their partner physically and emotionally during the birth process and can feel quite lost or unsure of what to do at times.
Doulas often play an important role is reassuring fathers that what they are doing is helping, or offering small suggestions on what to do if something isn’t working.
Birth can often be quite a long process that happens over many hours, and having a doula present means that the father can feel more comfortable leaving his partner alone while he goes to get some food, coffee, or even just makes a trip to the toilet.
Another aspect of the Dad and Doula dynamic is that when birth is feeling overwhelming for the father, the doula can provide comfort to the mother that he has support. It can sometimes be hard for the birthing mother to see her partner in distress and being unable to support him, and having a doula present can allow the mother to stay focused on dealing with the intense sensations of birth and knowing that her doula will make sure the father is being cared and reassured.
For the majority of births, a Dad and Doula team offer a incredible support for the mother. It allows fathers to relax, or to feel more confident. An experienced Doula will know when to step back and offer more background support to a great mother-father team, or to step in and be more actively involved. These options will always be discussed with the parents while formulating a birth plan, and with the knowledge that things can change as circumstances dictate.