Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Doula Book - Part IV Birth with a Doula & Father's Role

Posted by Kim:

Covering Chapters 7 and 8 of The Doula Book

Chapter 7 Birth With A Doula

"To make clear the real-life role of a doula, we followed the labor and delivery of two different couples expecting their first babies. The first couple found the doula's help beneficial in their hospital birth, whereas the second couple, engaged a doula to help them at a midwifery-assisted birth in their home." (p 115)

"Having a doula did not undermine my role as husband and father during the whole process. It enhanced it." (p 127)

"To me, birth was not about excluding, but instead is about including. they are a useful tool that helps the mother and the father, so wht not use them?" (p 127)

"I remember two really important things the doula did... One was that she brought food and made a point not to even let us make her tea; she got busy and set it all up herself! And then she made the important point over and over again that we should just be in bed with our baby, letting our families and friends do the laundry, make meals, etc. - and she suggested we make a list of simple tasks and directions for anyone who offered to help out." (p 129)

"The other thing she [the doula] did was to write up a birth story for us, and that really helped us to come one step further out of the 'birth fog' " (p 130)

"The main thing she did was to keep reiterating how strong we were and how much of an honor it was to be a part of this time in our lives. That felt really great." (p 130)

Chapter 8 A Father's True Role

"Even more stressful are the changes occuring in the mothers, the people they [the fathers] love most - obvious pain, anxiety, unusual sounds and fluid discharges never seen before." (p133)

"We believe that too much is expected of men in childbirth today. Fathers cannot be objective; there is too much at stake." (p 133)

"In suggesting the support of a doula, our intent is not to diminish the father's role but to enhance it, to free him up to stand by the mother." (p 134)

"With the doula present, the father is never left as the sole, isolated, responsible person caring for the laboring mother." (P 134)

"A father needs to be present: a mother needs to know he is there, he is with her, loving, concerned, responsive, and taking responsibility." (p 134)

"His presence si important for the emotional connection of the couple and for their relationship to each other and to the baby." (p 134)

"Recognition and validation of the father's right and need to be present at the birth of his infant is not only compatible with but also enhanced by, the presence of a doula." (p 134)

"To help understand and compare the roles of the doula and father during birth, we have closely observed and recorded their behaviors during early and late labor." (p 136)

"Overall, fathers were present for somewhat less time during the labor than were the doulas. In early labor fathers were in the mothers' rooms 78% of the time, while in late labor they were in the mothers' room 95 % of the time." (p 136)

"Both in early and late labor the doulas remained with the mothers almost 100% of the time." (p 136)

"Throughout early and late labor the doulas remained closer physically to the mothers 85% of the time, while the fathers were that close for only 28% of the time." (p 136)

"Fathers held the mothers' hands a greater percentage of the time than did the doulas in early labor, but this recersed in late labor." (p 136)

"Overall, the fathers and the doulas held the mothers' hands about the same length of time. Both fathers and doulas talked much more in late labor than in early labor." (p 136)

"During both the early and late periods the doulas were touching the mothers more than 95% of the observation time, compared to less than 20% for the fathers." (p 137)

"Another ongoing study of fathers has noted that their behavior is altered when they are not the only person responsible for support. When a doula supported a couple throughout labor, the father was freed to offer more personal support and did much more intimate touching of the mother's head and face." (p 137)

"A doula with experience and no personal tie to the woman in labor could pace herself and not become anxious about behaviors and events that she knew were part of normal labor." (p 137)

"We suspect that in some cases the fahter's behavior, like sleeping or leaving late in labor, was a consequence of anxiety that his wife might die." (p 137)

"The mother in labor was so interested in having the father remain with her thoughout the delivery that she was devoting much of her attention and energy to his comfort and well-being." (p 138)

"The doula supporting the couple always thinks about what will be most helpful for both the mother and the father." (p 138)

"We strongly believe that a father cannot be a doula for ht emother. A father is rarely able, moment to moment, to appreciate what is happening with the mother and whether each change is a notmal part of labor." (p 144)

An easier role for him is to give emotional suport to the mother while the doula is there to support them both through the labor." (p 144)

"Men sometimes find it hard to observe, accept, and understand women's instinctive behavior during labor and delivery. Instead, they often try to keep laboring women from slipping out of a rational, self-controlled state." (p 144)

"When a doula is available to both the mand and the woman, they are able to fulfill their individual responsibilities: for the mother, going on with the birth, asking and receiving what she needs in the way of appropriate and empathic responses; for the father, being as supportive as he can be, yet responding at his own level of comfort and competence without losing face." (p 145)

"So many variable of an emotional nature can be projected into the birth situation. In contrast, the doula's role remains relatively constant. She is there only as a supportive and informed birth assistant." (p 146)

"Women who choose to become doulas want to help other women and have a certain empathic sense of childbirth. They have an opportunity during their training to understand their own personal issues associated with childbirth, and they learn not to project onto the laboring woman their own emotional needs." (p 146)

"The presence fo a doula complements a father's role and strengthens it." (p 147)

"Over and over again women say that 'just knowing my husband was there, just his holding my hand, was the most important thing for me - while I could trust the doula's words and actions and let myself go, feeling safe that her experience would see us though' " (p 148)

"Fathers, with the support of the doula, should be able to participate at any level that feels right and natural for them. In this way they can experience fully the joy and wonder of watching their babies come into the world." (p 148)

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