When I tell men what I do for a living, I get to hear their stories.
Men perceive birth differently from the way women do. They are observers, no matter how perceptive, loving, understanding. They watch the love of their lives in pain. Productive pain- sure. But it’s so very hard for them to see.
I spoke with a business advisor about what I am working towards. I explained in full what the role of a labor assistant is and what the postpartum doula does. We spoke about the costs, the benefits and the risks. He decided that the next time his wife was expecting, he was going t bring a Doula into the picture! He was astounded by the work, the devotion…
We spoke about the cost as well. He felt that for the unknown amount of work a doula commits herself to, the costs were not bad at all. It is well worth the cost. The physical and mental effort is great, and to relieve a husband so he can catch his breath- well most men think that’s a pretty great deal.
Menashe D. (Names have been changed to preserve privacy) told me that when his wife (Elisheva) was having contractions he’d retreat to the fetal position. He couldn’t take it. Fortunately, they took a doula. She comforted Elisheva and Menashe. He said that it was well worth every agurah.
Stacy and David A. made Aliyah in 2007. Soon after, they found they were expecting their first child, after years of trying. They hired a doula because they were not familiar with the language, the process in Israeli hospitals and they worried about all the horror stories they heard about giving birth in Israel. Well, here’s what he wrote:
“Dear Shoshana, Thank you for helping Stacy through birth. I was so scared and worried. I kept watching for what was going on, and you were telling me that what I was seeing was normal. You supported my wife so she could make it through each contraction. I can’t get over the way you calmed me down- I was so sure the nurses were ignoring Stacy, but you warned us- they have a job to do. I can’t thank you enough for letting me get some rest. I think Stacy was glad to have all your attention! I freaked out, and knowing that you were fine, got me back on track. Anyways- you were great. Sincerely, David A.”
Then there is the postpartum father… he needs support. Sometimes there are fathers who are strongly affected by the new responsibilities of fatherhood. They might have dealt with their own past concerns and new fatherhood brings those unresolved things to the forefront. I have met men who suffered from their own form of postpartum depression. In fact, new studies reveal a true incidence of fathers suffering from postpartum depression- which often is left unresolved. When this occurs, the father is often absent emotionally, physically and spiritually to his wife and family. Fathers matter. Men suffering, need support, therapy and maybe even medication to get past the crisis and recover fully. There is no shame in this. There is only need- and a doula- though not a psychological expert, can identify that a referral might be needed. Further, she can help with the bonding a father can do with the new baby. It can be a time filled with growth and wonder.
Dads are special people, too. They need support. They need reassurance and sometimes they need to stay home to take care of the children. Olim have a more intense need for support. Often, they don’t have parents or relatives to support them through birth here in Israel. (To add to the mix, there may be a difficult economy... I have parents calling me and giving gifts of doula care to their children, it’s cheaper than plane tickets they can’t afford). Husbands need doulas as much as Wives do. Husbands appreciate the extra help. Just ask one- it’s one birth opinion not to be ignored.
Father's are People, Too!
by Binah Baby on June 20th, 2010
Posted in birth support, doulas, fathers, labor, men, birth professinals, Professionals, Postpartum Depression Tagged with no tags
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