Of Dads and Doulas

Dear Dad-

There is So so much I want to tell you while mom is not around.  I want to tell you that this birth is a memory for you too.  I want you to know that what you think and feel and need in this birth is important too- and that what your feeling about this birth and this baby has tremendous power. Please use it wisely.

I remember a birth several years ago where mom had a prodromal labor.  Prodromal labors can be tricky in that they can indicate either a labor that WANTS to start but cant, or a labor that is getting ready to begin.  regardless of the reality, it can be very discouraging for mom.  Often she may feel conflicted emotionally- not knowing quite what to do with her frustration.  She's tired, but can't rest because contractions keep her awake but moving slowly. After some time (and the doula's methods to start things going have proven ineffective) there's not a whole lot anyone can do but truck along with mom for this chapter of the birth story-  oh-  and try to keep a perspective on it all.

Dad- you're up.

Because you know better than the doula how mom copes with frustration.  Doulas know how moms cope with exhaustion, but dad- you've been here before- when you were lost together on that road trip and she was mad that you wouldn't stop for directions.  Or the time you forgot her birthday.

Oh, that's just me? ;)

Dad- you have the words.  You really do. You have the words to help her remember that this is actually going to be great. That she's doing this for all THREE of you. And you can begin thanking her for her hard work right now.

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This dad (one of my favorites) and I had mom sitting on a low stool and leaning into him for each contraction.  Mom switched it up and preferred to move with each one  but still came to rest leaning on him.  Dad- welcomed his wife to rest with tender arms around her and came close to her ear.  He whispered.

She reached up and embraced him, and they held each other there for the next six minutes.

Throughout the labor they came back to this place; a private space where only he could reach her.  I wish I could tell you what magic things he said- but I wasn't there.  I'm sure it went something like this:

"I know i'm supposed to say your amazing but really you are beyond what words I can find."

"I am so grateful you are doing this for our son!"

"I know it sounds crazy but you look so beautiful right now- I'm reminded of when I first saw you *remember?*

"I'm really proud of you."

 

Dad-  Trust me I know when she needs to go to that place.  But I trust that you know what to say when she gets there.