Sunday, 16 June 2013

Let's hear it for the boys

"Mars, why do we need you when we have me?" is a question that I hear from time to time when I meet my clients for the first time.  It's funny how many people think that a doula makes the father redundant.  

So, let's put that idea to bed.  What does a doula do?  She's there as a support to mum and partner.  She's there to help with the gatekeeping and to remind dad that 'this is normal'.  She's there to free dad to be dad and to be all that his partner needs during this amazing time.

I recently attended a birth where both Mum and Dad said they booked me because I was outspoken, just like them.  I know... my dreams of being this gentle, quiet, wise lady are dashed!  Still, one out of three isn't bad! lol  It was a glorious birth.  When I arrived at the birth centre, dad was doing his thing.  He knew the kind of support that he wanted to be, he knew the support that his wife wanted, he knew that he could do it.  He surrounded her with love and reminded her of this whenever the opportunity presented itself.  The midwife and I sat back and let it all happen.  I was simply there as their consistency and to be a voice should they need it.  He sat behind her as she pulled on the cloth hanging from the ceiling.  He wiped her face and brushed back her hair as she laboured.  He was silent when she wanted no noise and spoke softly when she needed encouragement.  When his son was born, he cried and held them both.

He apologised to me for not being in touch during the first few days of his son's life.  I had sent a couple of texts to let them know that I was thinking of them and around if they needed me.  He eventually replied saying how both he and his wife were lost in a love bubble with the most incredible baby in the world.  When I eventually visited them, they delighted in showing me the gifts that their new son had received and he told me how he wanted to shout his joy from the rooftops.

Thirteen months ago, I watched another father do the same.  When I bumped into him in the high street, I swear he was floating ten feet off the ground, that's how in love he was.  I saw him again this morning.  He was still floating.

Throughout my time as a doula, I have watched men go from nervous excitement to passionate father.  It is a wonderful thing to see.  I have laughed (I mean nodded in agreement) when these fathers have told me that their daughters will never have boyfriends or husbands.  I have agreed that their child is the most beautiful child in the hospital, city, country and world.  

I love the fathers.  I celebrate the work of Empwered Papa (Joe Valley) and Becoming Dad (Darren Mattock) and look forward to reading The Expectant Dad's Handbook by Dean Beaumont.  I love that first moment after a baby is born when Dad's face is awash with joy, awe and respect.  I am excited at the thought that part of my work is to watch new fathers being born.  I say it often, but I am blessed amongst women.  

So to all you fathers, dads, papas and padres out there... Happy Father's Day!  

Let's hear it for the boy!