It’s true: dads can suffer from postpartum depression, too. Our doula training will prepare you to support the entire family.
During your doula training, you’ll learn that the postpartum period can be a tumultuous time for everyone involved. While mom and baby are receiving the bulk of the attention, dads can feel left out.
They may not be experiencing physical healing, or dealing with fluctuating postpartum hormones, but new dads are not immune from the effects of sleep deprivation, or the general stress that comes with having a new baby. On top of that, dads are not usually allotted much, if any, paternity leave. This gives them much less time to adjust to their “new normal” before jumping back into their work routine.
It’s also not uncommon for new dads to experience postpartum depression.
At the International Doula Institute, we recognize that everyone in the family is going through a time of adjustment when a new baby arrives. IDI’s Scope of Practice defines a doula as “a professional support person trained in the needs of the family in the days, weeks, and months after birth or addition of a new baby.”
Our doula training focuses on the needs of the whole family, including dads and big siblings.
So, how can a doula support new dads?
Show Him How to Get Involved
In the early days, a dad may feel left out while the spotlight is shining brightly on mom and baby. He may feel unsure of his role, and how to bond with his new baby. Help build his confidence by educating him on baby basics and hands on tasks such as how to soothe the baby or give the baby a bath.
Let Him Sleep
Offer overnight services. Dads and moms alike will both be grateful for the luxury of a full night’s sleep! Even better if you take away some additional stress by doing the laundry, washing the dishes, and prepping meals for the next day.
Ask him how he’s doing and be genuine in your concern. He may need a listening ear just as much as a new mother.
To put it simply: after you complete your doula training and start working with new families, remember to give new fathers just as much care and compassion as you give new mothers.