*Darnedest – meaning they try hard and often do the most surprising, unexpected, funny, and clever things!
One of the reasons I created She Births® was because I met so many dads that felt incapable of helping at birth. I was also meeting a lot of quietly p-d off mums after the birth because dad didn’t help as much as she wanted.
The name She Births® infers we are all about the women… on the contrary we educate our dads to be shining support stars for B-Day.
Below are our top 5 tips for dad to remember on the threshold of becoming a father. If you want to see a brilliant video of a She Births® dad doing it all – check out Pasha Fox’s birth here.
And to celebrate all the supportive dads, we are launching our very own Daddy Doula Awards! To enter, tell us why your partner was a great ‘Daddy Doula’ on the big day. We would also love to hear of the crazy, silly and funny things they did too! Send your emails and stories along with an image to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 25 August. The winner will be announced on Father’s Day.
Top 5 She Births® tips that will make you the best ‘Daddy Doula’
- Offer support but take no offence
Never be concerned with what a labouring woman says and always offer her lots of reassurance, coconut water and hands-on support! If she says ‘Don’t touch me’ or yells ‘Be quiet’ it’s just because that is what she needs right now to get through. Remember that it takes her so much less energy to say these short words, than ask you ‘Honey can you do that bum squeeze thing we learnt on Saturday afternoon at She Births®?’
- Bilateral hip squeezes
This will probably be her favourite pain relief during each contraction ad infinitum. It is also highly likely she will not ask you for a massage – so jump on in there. You need to hold pressure on the ‘hot spots’ for the whole time with consistency. Use hot nappies across her back and buttocks if she wants more pain relief and use your knees when you feel your own wrists are about to break 😉
- Speak for her
Her frontal lobe is shutting down and the back brain is very busy orchestrating birth so this means you are her best, and possibly, only advocate within a very busy hospital system. It’s up to you to make sure that the lights are low, the mats are on the floor, the bath is filled, the camera is rolling and no one is talking to mum during a contraction. With education and our acronym BRAND you will be able to ask the right questions and also ask for time to make decisions in private, if needed. This will ensure engagement in decision making for you and mum and lead to a much higher degree of birth satisfaction post-partum too. BRAND = Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Nothing/Intuition, Discuss/Decide.
- Be the rock
Your presence is a steady unchanging force for her to rest into. Don’t let your fear, worries or doubts show on your face or be held in your body. When she holds onto you for support – be as relaxed as possible and calm in your own breath. Tell her she is doing a great job and you are nearly there. Keep normalising birth for her and building her confidence continually. You are the oxytocic balm as well as the endorphin dude.
- You have a role always
You may not have the boobs and the baby is not with you most of the day but your holding bub even for just half an hour when you get home, or putting a protein smoothie in the fridge before you go to work is so incredibly helpful. Things are going to be different for a while but the really important stuff restores in its own time, trust me.
Remember that partners who share roles and ask about each other’s day – stay together longer. Putting your baby first now and the sacrifices of sleep, dates, surfing and even TV time will all be back soon enough. The more presence you give your child now, I promise, will make it so much easier later. Your child will have the innate sense of self-love and security they need to go out into the world and be happy, resilient and independent.
Photography by Bree Downes.