Earlier this week DC Doulas attended Mayor Bowser’s National and Maternal Infant Health Summit. One of the sessions was a panel of 5 men speaking about the real deal for dads. The conversation was centered around what it’s like to be a dad, and what dads need during the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period.
Tools for dads:
- Dads need a place to discuss fatherhood. Having an accountability circle is next level support when the going gets tough. It gives dads a place to lean on and lean into when navigating parenthood.
- Fathers often take on the burden of making sure everyone is ok. And that sometimes leads to them presenting as strong and silent, while inside, there is a mass of churning thoughts. It can be hard for the partner to watch this and it can lead to feelings of distance or separation.
- Sometimes birth and parenthood is stressful and there can be feelings of trauma or grief surrounding those circumstances. Holding onto that trauma and grief can cause stress. Dads often need to process this grief in their own way. Partners, give your guy some space. Let him process at his own pace. And dads, sharing some of your process or grief with your partner helps them feel connected to you.
- Education for dads is very important. Learning how to navigate pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period ahead of time sets that dad up for success. Childbirth or baby care classes, parenting classes, or even books like The Expectant Father can give dads the tools for the job.
Tools for partner support:
- Dads, if your partner is choosing to breastfeed your little one, take a breastfeeding class to learn about the process. If your partner breastfeeds the baby in bed, you stand guard and when the feeding is over, return baby to a safe sleeping space. Sit with your partner, bring them water and a snack, change the baby’s diaper and get really good a the swaddle. A good swaddle is a new dad’s bragging right.
- Providing support for another person while going through a life changing event takes grit. Discussing practical ways to help can really set a dad up for success. Being a good listener and tending to some of the seeming smaller tasks feels like big support to your partner.
So dads, as you embark on parenthood, stock up on the tools and info that you need to be successful.
Let us know if we can help provide those tools with education or other resources.
Best of luck to you!