Archive for the ‘Specially For Dads’ Category

At Preparing for Birth: A new blog post for dads!

Monday, September 30th, 2013

Beso-EmbarazadaI wrote my first post for the blog at Preparing for Birth, and it’s up today! Go check it out, and come back for more when you can!

“Many men in our culture are fairly apprehensive about birth. Most have never seen a real birth, or talked about it outside of sex ed. They are often nervous about birth itself, seeing their partner in pain, the what-ifs, and all that may come after. They doubt their ability to support their partner in her journey, and wonder if they’ll be strong enough.”

CLICK HERE to read more at the Preparing for Birth blog.

Grace & Peace,

Birthy Weekend Links

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

This weekend is coming up fast! What plans do you have? I have family coming in for a five-day visit, I’m on call for a midwife, and I’m trying to put together some bouquets for my sister’s upcoming wedding. In the meantime, here are a few things worth reading this weekend.

Interested in reading more? “Like” my Facebook page, since I tend to share a lot more of these on my Facebook page, almost daily!

Happy weekending to you!

Grace & Peace,

Intangible Reasons

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Image from

My husband and I watched “Away We Go” last night. It’s a movie about a pregnant couple’s quest to find the place where they want to give birth and raise their baby. Along the way, they meet up with a lot of old connections to try and get a feel for where they belong. During the obligatory “hippie-tandem-nursing-birkenstock-wearing-freaks” scene, one line really stood out to me, and bothered me.

As filled as the scene was with exaggerated stereotypes, it wasn’t those that bothered me, because all of the families in the movie were portrayed in a way that was a bit over the top. (Except the infertile couple – THAT was one of the best movie scenes I have ever witnessed. Ever.)

John Krasinki’s character explains why he and his girlfriend don’t need a doula. He says something along the lines of “Doulas are for women who are clueless, or have a partner who doesn’t want to be involved, and since I am involved and educated, we don’t need one.”

While he is right in the fact that a doula can be a great asset to a couple who are “clueless,” the quote illustrates the common misconception that doulas replace fathers in the birth room. That if the father is involved and supportive, a doula is just an extra. It’s simply not so.

For one thing, “clueless” clients have more potential to drive a doula crazy! We try to teach our clients to take responsibility for their own births, and encourage them to educate themselves as much as possible about everything relevant to their situation. Some do, and some don’t. The hardest births to be on as a doula are ones in which a mother has not educated herself much at all, and has unrealistic expectations of both birth and her doula. That is a problem that is usually easily remedied. However, not really the point of this post.

Moving on. Sorry to slow you down.

The truth is that men in the labor room is a recent phenomenon. For eons, it’s been women’s work. Birth is what women do. And we do it well. We did not “need” our men in the birthing room – we could handle it pretty well, thankyouverymuch.

However, we began to want our men in the birth room, and welcomed them. Super-cool! We felt it only made sense for the one who helped create this child, be there to help bring him into the world. And we were right. Men should have the chance to see the women in their lives be so strong.

We then threw the baby out with the bathwater, and banished everyone else in favor of the men in our lives.

No one – and I mean no one – can replace the father, husband, lover in the labor room. However, neither can the father bring the shared connection all women have. They can’t bring the “girl power” women thrive on when they are laboring.

Birthing women need both.

For example, I had both my husband and my mother at all of my births (this was before I’d ever heard the word “doula” – my mom essentially filled that role). I could not have done what I did with either of them missing. It is hard to explain tangibly the reasons that this is so.

When I tried to explain it to my husband, I told him that when Mom said I could do it, she was the one I believed.

It’s not that I didn’t believe anyone else, it’s just that it was her energy, faith, and connection to me that helped me put feet to my own belief in my ability to birth. I believed my husband when he said he believed in me, and I appreciated his confidence, but when my mom looked me in the eye and said “You can do this,” something inside me responded, and I could not doubt that she was right.

That is why even the most educated, proactive, emotionally-healthy, bonded couple can benefit from having a doula – and I would even venture to say, needs a doula.

I hear it all the time from my clients: that they just believe me when I tell them they can carry on. They tell me that they love and appreciate the safety and security of their partner’s presence; the love that radiates from his eyes when he holds her hand or brings her water gives her a comfort that cannot be matched. She blossoms under such romance (which is exactly what it is).

But when the doula speaks, moms listen, and their faith in their own ability to birth is given wings.

The truth is this: She cannot do as well as she wants to do without either.

Nearly every client tells me, “I couldn’t have done it without you!” then immediately turns to her partner, “But I couldn’t have done it without you either!” Both statements are as true as true can be. I feel the same way about my mom and my husband.

Of course, there will be exceptions to this, and only you can decide if you are one of them. There are also many situations in which a mother doesn’t have a partner at all, or her situation varies from the norm in some other way. Her need for a doula who will walk alongside her, hold her hand, and support her unconditionally is even greater! I have supported several such women, and stepping into what is essentially a dual role is tough. I could never do that for all births!

My point is that just because factors, A, B, and C all line up for you does not mean that you don’t “need” a doula. Sometimes, it’s the most educated clients that need me the most when push comes to shove. (No pun intended.)

Never say never. Talk to doulas in your area, gauge your needs well, and make the right decision for you and your family. Don’t let anyone – especially a care provider or Hollywood – tell you that you don’t “need” anything when it comes to your birth. Only you can decide that. And take what the media says with an extra-large grain of salt.

Grace & Peace,

The Most Important Piece: Following Up

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

This is the the introduction to a series of six posts, inspired by this post, in which I will be writing about the critical role your support team and place of birth play throughout your pregnancy, labor, and birth. Over and over again, we find that a woman’s satisfaction with her birth experiences has less to do with how much pain she experienced, or the method of birth. It has far more to do with her feeling of autonomy, and her feelings of being supported (or not).

Women who feel as though things were just “done to them” throughout the childbearing year, especially through labor and birth, are more likely to struggle with feelings ranging from dissatisfaction to outright depression. In contrast, women who feel that they were the ones making the decisions, and that those decisions were fully supported by those around them, especially their care providers, are the ones most happy with their births.

Epidurals, IV narcotics, massage, showers, and position changes are all well and good. Valuable tools for pain management, but it turns out that having these things available is not as important as a support team who strives to empower and encourage women by practicing true informed consent, including informed refusal.

When the decision-making power is put into a woman’s hands, and she understands fully that it is she alone, along with her baby, who lives with any consequences of her decisions, good or bad, birth can be the most empowering experience in a woman’s life – even if the physical circumstances are not ideal.

Inspired by my mother’s critical role in my births, I have decided to write a series of posts about the various possible members of a typical birth support team.

I’ll be writing first about various care providers, the general differences between them, and how to choose the one who best suits you. I’ll talk about your partner/spouse’s role, and how birth has the potential to strengthen the bond between you. Doulas, of course will have a post all their own, including how to choose one based on your individual needs. Last, but not least, I’ll write about childbirth education options, explaining their role, as well as how to choose a good childbirth education course.

Join me for the next few weeks as I gather my thoughts together on this subject – it is truly the Most Important Piece of your birth experience, and I don’t want you to miss a thing!

I’ll be linking each post here, so you can have them all in one place. Please – always feel free to post a comment or question, or email me.

The Most Important Piece Series

Weekend Links

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Last night, I joined the #doulaparty on Twitter – whew! Talk about a birth junkie high! Anyway, I came across some great links this week I’d like to share with you. If you’re one of my facebook friends, you have probably already seen these. Pass them on to your own friends who don’t have facebook accounts! If you haven’t already, please join me on facebook to see the articles I post, to ask questions, or start some discussion groups on all issues birthy.

The Other Side of the Glass – A Birth Movie for Fathers

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Weekend Linkityness

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Effects of a policy of elective cesarean delivery in cases of suspected fetal macrosomia on the incidence of brachial plexus injury and the rate of cesarean delivery.

Death twice as likely by caesarean

A top obstetrician on why men should NEVER be at the birth of their child
Now…I do not agree 100% with everything in this article – at ALL. However, it is extremely interesting to hear this point of view – and I think it should be given proper weight.

I, personally believe a happy medium can be reached somewhere between “All dads should be at every birth” and “No dads should be at any birth”. This article has been the subject of much discussion in my doula yahoo group, and all have basically come to the same conclusion: Neither extreme is the right solution for every birth every time. However, men should be educated & prepared thoroughly for each birth, and allowed the freedom to decide to be there or not.

Read on for a more balanced view – one that I share.

Letting Him Go So He Can Stay Close
Thoughts on Dads in the birthing room.