I know what you’re thinking.
You’re seeing my first ever blog post on my brand-spanking-new birth doula website and thinking, “Dads? She works with pregnant, laboring, postpartum, and breastfeeding moms. Why is she writing about dads?” Seems strange, doesn’t it?
Well, in all honesty, that description of my job is a bit off. I work for moms and I work with dads. The dads I’ve had the honor of working with are some of the most caring, supportive, strong, and incredibly loving people I’ve met. During a time of so much uncertainty, it is usually dads that act as an anchor. They bend wildly, but they do not break. Think about it. Who goes out for the ice cream and pickles at midnight? Who has to the receive the anger, disappointment, devastation, and elation their partner throws at them in the span of 10 minutes, thanks to hormones? And they can’t really complain about it because they get to keep their bodies, hormones (for the most part), elimination habits, flexibility, and sleep habits about the same as it was prior to conception.
One of my favorite parts of doula work is watching the families interact during the life-changing experience of pregnancy, birth, and parenting. I get to know this family so well in just a matter of months and get to watch a woman become a mom, a man become a dad, and a couple become a family. It is inspiring every time. I feel like all of these transitions in moms are celebrated so loudly, as they should be. But how do we celebrate the same journey for dads?
We don’t. And it’s taking a toll on dads. Dads need opportunities to bond with baby during pregnancy just like moms do. Moms get to talk to anyone and everyone about the baby all the time because lil peanut is right there on display for the world to see 24/7. How can we include dads in this excitement and conversation?
Here are ways I have seen some pretty amazing dads accomplish these very things and promote bonding in the family:
5 ways to bond with baby during pregnancy:
- Attend a childbirth education class with your wife. It will be a great bonding experience for all three of you. You will get to learn so many cool things about your mini-me and get an opportunity to soak in some of the excitment surrounding women in pregnancy.
- Read to your little one. Your baby can hear as early as 18 weeks! My husband used to read our lil nugget a Bible story every night before bed. I think it really did help them connect. You know what else was pretty neat? Grayton, my son, recognized his daddy’s voice even as a newborn. Matthew’s voice soothed him better than anyone else’s, even mine.
- Hire a doula, obviously, and be involved in the hiring process. When I do my initial consultation with moms, I suggest that dad needs to be there too, especially if he is going to be in the delivery room. The more meetings with your doula, and doctor or midwife, the more involved you are during this incredible moment, the more informed you are of how things are going, and the better you know what to expect. Your doula is there for both of you, mom and dad. Take advantage of that resource!
- Play your favorite music for your tiny dancer. Sharing anything about yourself is going to help your baby get to know you better too.
- Write him or her a letter. You can save it and give it to them on a special occasion in the future. Tell them what you are feeling, what you are excited about, what you’re nervous about, what you can’t wait to do with them, and what you can’t wait to watch them learn. Share anything! This will help prepare you for what life will look like when he or she is finally here.
Grayton is so blessed to have THREE amazing father figures in his life: Dada, Pop, and Grandy. The loving and affectionate relationships he has with these incredible role models began in uetero for him too. What better place to start than from the beginning, right?
My Own Lovenotes this Father’s Day:
Matthew, my husband: I am forever grateful for the way you love and respect your son. If he grows up to be half the man you are, I will consider that a success. I love you.
Larry, Pop: I so enjoy watching Grayton find so much comfort from your embrace and so much joy in your playtime together. He will always know your love for him and that is an invaluable foundation for him to build upon.
Bug, Grandy: There is hardly a more precious gift in the world than the one you give your grandson: quality time. Thank you for letting him climb all over you; he loves that. I love seeing the twinkle in his eye and the dimples in his cheeks when he finally finds that perfect spot in your lap and he knows he has your undivided attention.
I put together a little video for y’all to show my appreciation. Hope you enjoy it!