What Dads Can Do – Background

What Dads Can Do – A Background and Birthing

Practical Pregnancy / Childbirth Education

In my own first birth I found a trouble – no one was really there for me. I had NO IDEA

Birthing did not just come naturally to me at all . .. I had loving support about me – and no one knew how to help me. After birthing that son, I determined that if I could I would not have anyone I knew left in that void I found myself in. Once I became an acupuncturist I had a better understanding of what was happening. I found that by supporting mum through massaging and being present, she could also triumph as she had real and present practical help. Points to press, (needles if really necessary) – but mainly – attending to her emotional state and her tensions meant – labour was no longer blocked and baby was easy to birth!!!

Why I Did This

I wanted to help give baby an intact loving family to grow up and blossom within.

I saw that Dads needed to have a purpose and a useful role in all stages of the pregnancy – as it can be a trying time – and all would rather FIX something than just be listening to complaints – working out what to do to alleviate them – far better – you use the What Dads Can Do book manual as a glove box manual for the car – what is the problem – and what to do about it – and then do it!!

Results

All mothers without exception, when asked how Dad undergoing this preparation process was for them said, in their own, but similar words – always using the word ‘intimacy’ – that they were treated with far more reverence and respect since he attended them in birthing. All said it brought them far closer together as a couple, and continues to have obvious benefits in their relating, many months out from the experience. This is exactly what I had watched in births I had attended whilst training dads to be super connected/present/useful . . .

All the men said they were more confident, knew what to do, and did it, and all being surprised at just how much their efforts were appreciated, and needed. All were also aware of how the dynamics of their relationship to themseves and to their partner had shifted. Also of the increased depth that their relationship moved into as he was a valuable and necessary part of the birthing and parentng team – and how he was able to be present and to just intuit far easier than he had ever before.

How I Came to Create this Work

Initially, I attended home births that were slightly problematic – failure to progress/membrane rupture and contractions not starting/Mum getting distressed and requiring something extra – and I quickly discovered that taking my Bach flower remedy kit along paid off. How did I get this as an idea? Reading Ina May Gaskin’s work ‘Spiritual Midwifery’ – she showed so very beautifully how mum’s emotions play out dictates how labour goes . . .or not. By dosing Mum with the antidote for the apparent emotional energy that seemed to be running her actions, labour moved right along. When then added to the use of acupressure points, and the concepts of Active Birthing, babies followed easily shortly after.

Well before there were ‘doulas’ I found that by taking these methods into the hospital setting, once more than one observer (usually Dad) was allowed in the birthing environment in Brisbane, about 30 years ago, I discovered that by having a labour team – Dad to maintain the loving presence, with full eye contact to centre her, and be her lover /companion, and me by massaging and pressing various points, Mum had a ’natural’ delivery – without any cutting steel intrusions.

The one to one care that otherwise would not have occurred in the modern hospital setting seemed to be the answer – Dad being coached into being super useful with his fingers and loving, myself adding in where appropriate therapeutically. I realised that no-one whose birth I was called to went into the theatre, no-one was cut about, and all Mums were intact in all senses of the word afterwards. Given my ‘high risk’ population, this was amazing!

As time progressed, I saw far more pregnant women, as I specialised in infertility management, and started training Dads, firstly what to do in birth, then hitting on the idea of Dad as preparation support. Giving points and techniques to use once labour happened was not enough. I knew they worked, but labour was not the time for the newness of both playing roles in the therapeutic touching game.

Results Of Dad Helping Out/Being Hands-On Before Birthing

Once Dad was in late pregnancy/birthing training weeks before, the labour outcomes magically shifted. If the sacral opening massage/birth preparation and using moxa started several weeks in advance, the tension and ‘angst’ usually stored in women’s bum/thighs transformed. This meant NO back aching/sciatica instantly relieved – sleeping back on track .. . and ease of birthing from being rested and happy into the last few weeks..

I noticed those women whose partners were vigilant with birth preparation had easy deliveries. Those whose partners begged off it – many and varied excuses – sore thumbs/bad backs/no time/too tired – all went on to deliver baby via C section as a consequence. It was depressing to watch the very real connection between Dad not being there as the major support – and Mum having to go through the whole surgical circus and its long reaching ramifications.

Caesarean rates for my apparently elderly/previously infertile/’high risk’ mothers plummeted as Dads took the couple route to heart. What with the usual hospital rates of intervention, and “assistance”/”augmentation” these days, this was a vast statistical anomaly.

This was ridiculous – all it took was Mum to trust Dad, Dad to trust himself, and both to have gotten used to the idea of pummelling, massaging and pressing points and using moxa to alter the perceptions and sensations that accompany opening to welcome the baby through.

Creating A Tool For Parents-To-Be

Time passed, and I started the project “What Dads Can Do” as a uni assignment within my adult education degree. This concept grew from a few weekend courses to the realisation that people tend to have little enough time to coordinate their personal diaries, let alone to extend themselves into many tutorials – so the idea of a home based manual and DVD was born.

Initially, the manual was a straight forward ‘how to’ book. However I soon remembered my pregnant women patients’ partners, who generally wanted to know ‘why’. As there is little written to the general population on the subject of acupuncture theory, and self responsibility, I melded another book into “What Dads Can Do” – resulting in its present format. There are also eBooks available extending the content into stories of other’s and what they did to help themselves – how this work can be applied.

I found I needed to also show what I was doing – hence the DVD “Massage and What Dads Can Do” forms part of the manual. This takes a systematic approach through the entire body, giving massage and lymphatic/pelvic/chest drainage techniques, finding acupressure points and when to use them, plus moxa instruction. Whilst all this is covered pictorially within the manual, the DVD makes sure Dad follows the gentling method and also achieves the depth required to achieve the most out of the shared birthing experience.

Sample pages

Nausea & Vomiting 106-7

Nausea 106

Sciatica:Back Pain 132-3

Sciatica 312

Stand Alone – A Birthing / Practical Childbirth Education DVD

– for those who do not wish to have the entire set

I produced TWO DVDs – the second one (“Birthing and What Dads Can Do’) was the result of a small workshop delivered to a handful of pregnant couples, demonstrating how easy it is to alter Mum’ s comfort levels – massage and undoing some of the stuck energy stored in the fat and cellulite – bum and hips are the focus area. All women who participated looked vastly more serene and walked and moved differently after just the initial moves.

The birth preparation DVD, sold with moxa sticks, is for those whose partners who want to know what they can do specifically to help her through late pregnancy and for labour, and who are prepared to be part of the birthing team, rather than just looking on, feeling helpless.

So Much More Than Just A Birthing Tool

The complete package is instantly useful for all – whether it is explaining pre-menstrual tension (and possible post natal depression) or nausea from any source – not just early pregnancy . . or helping back ache – for anyone at any stage of their lives. ..

How To Get Some Of This For Yourself?

If you want some of this for your own family, consider investing in the manual that was written to allow you to achieve this.

What Dads Can Do – a Manual for Partners of Pregnant Women

[also available as an ebook here]