It always interests me how very different and unique each birth is. That is what makes each birth so special – watching how the expectant mother copes with the labour and digs deep to find strength to cope with the surges when they get intense. The mum often surprises herself at how strong she is and that is such an empowering moment for her. As one mum said after her birth “I am never going to be afraid of anything ever again”. What a position of strength to start motherhood!
It is a huge privilege to share that intimate space of birthing with a couple, as a doula being completely present and supportive but unobtrusive. For a new dad it can be rather overwhelming to go into labour not knowing what to expect, often feeling apprehensive that they will not be up to the task, ill-equipped to cope in this totally unknown environment. Dad’s often feel that they have to be the “strong one” and it is hard to see one’s partner struggling, so it is very tempting to want to ”fix it” and take the pain away with an epidural etc.
But when dads find that their very presence can calm the mother, that their back rubs can soothe the contractions, that their loving eye to eye contact and kisses can help release oxytocin to aid the birth process, then they can be there for their partner, hold her in a slow dance position through the surges, and share the journey together. It is hugely helpful for a couple to know that they managed the birth TOGETHER.
Nothing on earth can compare with the joy of holding a tiny newborn, feeling her soft skin as she gains more colour and starts to look around at this huge wide world she has landed in. Showing dad how he can help support his little one in getting a good latch on the breast is one of my priorities as a Kangaroula, then I know that when they get home with no one to help, they will be self-sufficient, and also then dad is part of the process.
What a gift to share a birth and watch as a young woman becomes a mother and as a couple become a family!