Many homebirth dads-to-be may wonder where they fit in among the birthing team of midwives, doulas and other attendants. Birth is all about teamwork; each player has a vital role in creating a safe, open space for Mama to birth this new baby. There are so many amazing ways you can be involved in the process. Your gentle, loving presence encourages and supports Mama as she labors, no doubt helping to create a memorable and joyful birth experience for your family.
You’ve probably been doing a lot more around the house to help Mama out as she prepares her body and mind for the birth. This support is equally important to the time you spend together talking to the baby inside her, dreaming about the future and being intimate together. There is much anticipation involved in waiting for the birth of your baby, but take comfort in the fact that Mama values the love and support you give her during this time.
When the special day arrives, it is really important to connect with Mama while she labors. Touch her gently, gaze into her eyes, kiss her, and if she wants, spend some time alone together in another room. Some couples even make love during labor. The more intimacy between you, the more oxytocin is released, and the more feel-good hormones pulsing through Mama, the quicker the baby will be born. Kissing her while she’s pushing can even help her open and not tear.
When your baby enters the world, it is so wonderful for you, baby, and Mama to snuggle up for your first sleep together as a family. After an evening alone together, your postpartum doula will come to check on you, and start teaching you many new skills. She can help you learn to care for your baby with confidence, as well as show you ways to support your partner as she cares for and nourishes this new life. Your doula can show you how to read your baby’s cues, bettering your understanding of when she is tired, ready to eat or alert and playful. This alert stage is a wonderful time for you to bond with your baby, massaging, tickling, singing to and cuddling her. Skin-to-skin time with your little one is a great way to bond with her. You’ll want to help Mama with breastfeeding too. You can prepare little snacks and beverages for her while she nurses. See, you have many opportunities and ways to care for your sweet child and support Mama!
Just as your presence was invaluable at your child’s birth, your love and support of your new baby and your partner are integral in the health and well being of your family. Just because your role is different than Mama’s doesn’t mean it is any less vital. From conception, to birth, to infancy and beyond, your role as a gentle, protective father and partner help form the foundation for a lifetime of love.
Hypnobirth Practitioner – Relax n’ Birth