Let’s face it, there is a lot of confusion associated with the role of a Doula in the birth process. Many fathers are not clear about the value of a Doula to both both mom and dad. Oftentimes the questions that resonate are: Who is this person? Do I have less of a role in the room during the birth of my child? Are they going to be burning incense, chanting songs, and doing dances? Okay, perhaps that was a bit much, but you get the jist. Dads may not express their emotions externally, but many harbor the same concerns as moms do internally. This is one of the many reasons why Doula’s are a valuable part of the birthing team.
The birthing room is a pool of emotions. Most of the time the environment is majority female focused which can be overwhelming for fathers. A Doula acts as a bridge between moms and dads as well as between parents and medical staff. According to Dona International, the world’s leading Doula certifying organization, a Doula is “a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to a mother before, during and shortly after childbirth to help her achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible”.
Dispelling myths of the relationship between Dads and Doulas is a vital part of clearing up confusion. Below are a couple of common misunderstandings that some of the fathers I’ve spoken to have:
Myth: If the Doula is there, that means I don’t have to be because she taking my place as my wifes'/partner’s birthing companion.
Truth: Concerns of role redundancy are a common reason that Dads are reluctant to elect to have a Doula present during childbirth. However, the truth is that your birth plan is your own. A Doula is there to support in the ways that you and your partner need. This support can range from being hands on to just for emotional reassurance.
Myth: The Doula will overthrow the birth plan with her own agenda.
Truth: The Doula is there to provide evidence based support to both the mother and her partner. That can include, but is not limited to the following:
“While a Doula’s primary focus is the mother, supporting and partnering with fathers is key to serving the entire family’s needs. Understanding his needs and perspective allows the Doula to expand her skills and impact on her clients”
(Dona International, 2015).
Tamarah Taylor, M.S.Ed, Communications Manager, NOVA Birth Partners
Choose to feel love, choose to feel safe, and choose to feel heard.
Dads & Doulas: Myths & Resources. (2016, September 21). Retrieved from https://www.dona.org/dads-doulas-myths-resources/