Daddy deserves a page - and here it is, the Man Cave page!
Testimonial from Harry:
The father's perspective:
When my wife first suggested hiring a doula to support her
during the birth of our first child I was pretty neutral. I'd never
really heard of such a thing - some of our friends had mentioned
them in passing - and I never really knew what value a doula
was supposed to add to a process I already viewed as terrifying
My mother-in-law offered to foot the bill and I agreed quickly -
my wife thought it was something she wanted and it was now
going to cost me nothing. After a couple of discussions which
clarified the doula's role as an expert advocate representing
our best interests before, during and following birth, I thanked
the stars for my generous mother-in-law - I felt out of my depth
and hoped that the doula could help.
I think I learned more about the benefits of a good doula as I learned more about birth. I am far from an expert even now (having survived the birth of our two-week-old son, now burbling happily on the sofa next to me), but I would certainly recommend a doula to any expectant father. Most of us are told very little about the realities, risks and challenges of childbirth even after we get the opportunity to be birth partners. It now seems to me that underpinning one of life's most emotional, exhausting and traumatic events is a web of dynamic and complex decision-making, and that without Lisa Jane I'd have been close to worthless to my wife and the medical professionals supporting her and my son.
Our doula met us on a few occasions towards the end of my wife's pregnancy, discussing practical choices and risks and talking us through some potential traps along the way. She also helped me to understand the ways I could support my wife practically through childbirth itself, demystifying the process while underlining the seriousness and gravity of some of the risks in play.
As a professional bureaucrat, I am used to dealing with big institutions and automatic decision-making protocols based on risk profiling and broad-brush, imprecise statistics. Lisa Jane helped us understand how we might be viewed by medical professionals at different steps of our journey, supporting us to make informed decisions about the balance of risk at key decision points (do you induce? what pain relief? home or hospital birth?).
In the event, our son arrived safely following an extremely complex, drawn-out and traumatic birth. We were supported by what to my eye were extremely talented and committed medical professionals and kind friends and family. For my money, however, the biggest factor in the successful outcome of a completely bonkers birth story was the calm authority with which we were able to make key decisions at extremely high-pressure moments. I feel that Lisa Jane played a critical role in this. Indeed, I would expect a doula to do as she did;
a) helping prepare us for labour and birth and for key decision points ahead of time;
b) standing with us throughout labour and birth, ensuring we were making key decisions in an intelligent and analytical way when the pressure was on;
c) 'tag-teaming' with me as my wife's birth partner throughout a herculean 33 hour effort, meaning that (i) she was never alone and that (ii) I didn't burn out;
d) advocating for us with medical professionals who were over-worked and under-resourced; and
e) supporting us in the days following the birth, helping me to process trauma and taking incredibly generous and selfless practical steps to ensure we were able to look after each other and our boy.
I personally feel that if funding allowed the NHS ought to be providing the same level of advocacy, continuity and support to all mothers and fathers (in addition to the skills and resources they already provide). No first-time expectant father should have to survive what I've just been through without a doula in their corner.
1. What did we get from Lisa Jane that we needed?
Information, understanding, tolerance, patience, flexibility.
In particular I love that Lisa Jane tried to 'pitch' her message to where my wife and I were most comfortable. She was not dogmatic, but she was clear and forthcoming with her expert views. I really appreciated that balance.
2. What was important to us about Lisa Jane?
She is passionate about her work. She consistently put the health of our baby and my wife first and was happy to lead or follow as appropriate. These qualities were really important from my point of view.
Testimonial from Eugenio:
As first time parents it was very helpful having Lisa Jane with us through what
turned out to be a very long labour. She helped me by suggesting different
techniques for massage to sooth my wife while also helping us deal with NHS
staff so I was free to concentrate on trying to be a good birth partner.
I am very grateful that we had a doula and Lisa Jane in particular managed
to make us laugh through adversity and I know she made my wife feel safe.