Crowning Lotus is all about the whole. When approaching birth, we are not planning on being one person's doula. We support from the inside out. Baby, mother, partner then external aspects of her team/family are who we "doula" in births. We support the unit as a whole because we know how women operate - that they will be best able to open up and have an easier, more enjoyable labor if the people around her are involved, cared for and are open to the flow of birth. We want dads(/partners) to know we are here to empower them in pregnancy, birth and beyond as well!
Here are three basic steps that will help you both on your journey into parenting. This is based on my own journey into motherhood and years of working with couples - after seeing what does and does not tend to work. These three things will help you feel more involved and will make things easier emotionally, physically and mentally for all.
1. Ask questions!!
There is no such thing as a stupid question....what's stupid is not asking. This is your journey, too, and while the spotlight isn't on you as much as it is your baby or your partner, you are still a crucial element to everything that is happening. If there is absolutely anything you want to know more about, don't be afraid to ask. You can ask your doula, your family and friends, co-workers, etc. Just remember to take each answer with a grain of salt, allowing yourself and your partner to come up with what is right for YOUR family.
Pregnancy is good training ground for parenthood. We must learn to relinquish control, to communicate our feelings and set boundaries. You and your partner will need to discuss beliefs, traditions, hopes and wishes so you can both get on the same page regarding your baby and how you wish to parent. Communication is so crucial here! It's important that each person feels heard and respected and that compromise is always something that everyone is striving for.
Sometimes things we never really considered (such as circumcision, vaccinations, co-sleeping, religious beliefs or traditions, etc) come up and we find that we aren't exactly on the same page about some things. The important thing for all parties to remember here is to take a breath and try hard not to respond emotionally or based on misinformation or assumption. If there are things that the two of you are not agreeing on, take a step back and reschedule the conversation for a week or so later. In that time, both parties can do research, spend time meditating or praying and always try to see from the other person's point of view. It's not about being "right"...no one is always or completely right anyways. This is about meeting in the middle and finding peace for everyone. It's about making informed decisions together - as parents.
3. Be present.
It seems like a give-in, right? Obviously you will be there...but being there and being present are two very different things. She needs to feel you, to know that you are a part of this journey. When we work with clients in the labor room, we want her partner to be as involved as possible. We understand that they are capable of supporting moms...they just need a little direction and planning. This is why we sit down prenatally and discuss what mom expects of her partner and what that partner is comfortable with doing - then we prepare them both with the tools they will need to get as far into their labor as possible before even needing to call in their support team.
Here is a collection of helpful videos & links, too!
Empowered Papa - A site dedicated to informing and empowering the Papas! They even have a Skype Class for dads called "How to be a really strong dude and show up for your lady" for only $65. Money well spent!
Progressive Parenting - podcasts, shows and info
Five "Jobs" For Dads During Birth - Article by Improving Birth
Advice For Dads - Fit Pregnancy Article
This is a 'talk' between Gena Kirby from Progressive Parenting and Joe Valley of Empowered Papa. Put it on and let the wisdom come through!
For hospital birth daddy's:
Dad on natural homebirth:
Dads and Breastfeeding:
Just for laughs: