A dad's role .....
in the delivery room should be ‘mother care’ rather than ‘baby care’
Following the hugely successful Channel 4 series, ‘One born every minute’, which documents the day-to-day running of a maternity ward in Southampton, the parenting forums are rife with discussions on what a father’s role should be during childbirth.
Following the hugely successful Channel 4 series, ‘One born every minute’, which documents the day-to-day running of a maternity ward in Southampton, the parenting forums are rife with discussions on what a father’s role should be during childbirth. With the show highlighting a distinct lack of involvement from most of the soon-to-be dads, with many looking completely bewildered and helpless, it raises the question what would be the best way for prospective dads to help at this important time?
Lisa Wynn, founder and CEO of Coaching for Dads, explains that it is crucial for dads to ask their partner what she wants and expects from him, before the time comes; “Communication is key. Ask your partner how you should react in certain situations and ensure you try as much as possible to listen and take on board her needs. Yes you are going through this too and you most certainly will feel helpless, but there is a lot that you can do even if it doesn’t feel like much of a ‘hands on’ role and it could make a massive difference to mum.”
Lisa gives some top tips below to help dads prepare for this important moment in their lives and ensure they do not feel redundant during this special time.
· Before the actual delivery starts be calm, don’t panic and don’t nag her for how you can help. Be supportive, loving and patient - she is probably a mixture of desperate to get started with the delivery, excited to meet your baby and terrified of the whole process she is about to go through.
· During the delivery keep that sense of calm. Her full energy resources are going to be focused on herself and the baby. You need to show unconditional love and support. If she gets angry with you remember it isn't personal, just accept whatever she throws at you knowing that this is about her fear and pain, not anything about you.
· Don't feel you have to ‘do’ anything. She has experts around her and your role is to love and support her so try to lose the sense of helplessness. Remember yours is the key role - to provide unconditional emotional support.
· When baby has been delivered nothing is more beautiful to a woman than seeing the man she loves with their baby. Hold your baby – don’t be afraid. She doesn't care if you do it right (even if she does correct you). The most important thing is she wants to see you both bonding.
· And in the first few hours after the birth give her time to rest. Then when she feels up to it talk to her and tell her how you are feeling, how much you love her and how you feel about baby.
“This is a magical space in time where you set the foundations for life as a growing family. Your partner wants and needs to know that you are there to provide unconditional support for what is to come. She wants to see that you completely and absolutely accept and welcome this little life into your life. Of course you do, but seeing you outwardly demonstrate your love and unconditional support for her and baby will help ease her emotional state and help her to start the recovery process, both emotionally and physically”, concludes Lisa.