Doulas Give Dads the Easy Way Out

Cynthia Dermody
16

father napping on windowsill
Flickr photo by o0karen0o
There's post circling around the web called 5 Reasons Dads Should Demand a Doula that everyone in the pregnancy blog circle is passing around. Moms are constantly raving about the benefits of doulas, but it's rare to read the man's perspective.

And this writer is big-time in favor of them too. Some of the reasons he says dads should demand a doula include giving weary fathers time to rest, helping them to remember vital instructions forgotten in childbirth class, and keeping dads calm.

Well, yaaa! Why the hell wouldn't dads demand a doula? Doulas help dads do absolutely nothing.

Let's look at the facts from the actual post:

Example One:

Thirty hours into my wife’s first labor and I was toast. I’d been up walking with her for what seemed like days. There wasn’t any sleeping for me. I was physically tired and mentally shot. The doula really helped me out. With my wife’s blessing, that 30-minute nap I caught helped me to refocus and be back on my game for the big event.

Poor baby! No nighty-night for him, except for that nice, pain-free, restful 30-minute nap. Try NOT sleeping while ALSO writhing in agony and being stuck, prodded, invaded, chastised, and wetting your pants. It's your wife who's the blessing because she's a lot nicer than I would've been.

Example Two:

A nurse or a tech would come in and ask us if we wanted something, like a procedure or a medication. I had no clue. Our doula would very calmly ask questions of them to make the decision that matched what we wanted. She even reminded us that we could take some time alone to make a decision. That turned out to be a real blessing.

Well, maybe you should, like, get a clue? Women do enough carrying the baby, going to all those appointments, and losing a whole Sunday registering for baby shower gifts. Least the guy can do is be required to take a childbirth course that forces him to remember all this information, including homework, quizzes, and a final exam that he must pass or agree to become a Baby Care Slave, including diapers, 3 a.m. wake-ups, and laundry for an entire year.

Example Three:

Labor was so hard. And that’s just how it felt to me. Our doula would smile at me from across my wife on the birth ball as if she had read my mind. Her calm smile helped me focus again on loving on my wife and keeping her calm. She showed me how and where to touch, she modeled how to behave quietly and efficiently, and she made me the star in my wife’s eyes.

Why is an episode of Little House on the Prairie popping into my head? Or one of those Ivory Merchant films where the midwife or doctor sequesters Dad away in a room with a bottle of Scotch and a handkerchief to wipe the worry sweat from his head while the wife risks her life in the other room? Yeah, the writer is there in the room, but is he really there? If the doula has to smile at him to calm him down, he's just plain in the way.

All this post says to me is that we're going back to a time when a father's job ended with conception and he bore very little responsibility in the actual birthing process at all.

This might not be fair. I didn't have a doula for either of my children's births. When I finally learned what doulas were years later, I used to think it would've been good to have one, at least for my first labor. That one was a bitch. My second one was painful but fast and textbook.

All in all, I think my husband did an excellent job helping me through both of them, questions, comfort, and all, and he didn't even get a nap.

Moms need support in labor, that's a fact, and when they can't get it from their friend or partner, a doula is a godsend.

But I'm sorry, Mr. Blessings, I know you meant well and were trying to be helpful, but I'm not letting you off quite as easy.

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