Archive for September, 2012

Dad to be what is a Push Present?

I hadn’t heard of this until recently when one of my dad clients said he really was so proud of his wife and the effort and love she showed during the long labour and birth of his son that he wanted to mark the occasion with a present. What did I think was a good “push present”?

I was sipping a much needed coffee and nearly inhaled it. I had never heard of this and thought it was hilarious. Of course it’s quite commonly asked but this was the first time I had heard of this label. (Upon further investigation, I discovered that Wikipedia has even defined it!) We discussed a few options about what he thought and he came up with a piece of jewellery that she had been wanting for a while.

I was intrigued with this idea so I put it out to our Facebook followers and got some lovely feedback. Harriet answered that her husband bought her a ring to signify each birth of her daughters. She loves how her daughters know that these rings are special and will one day be theirs. An unexpected response from Harriet was that she bought her husband a present too. So now what is a good name for a support present?

Another Facebook liker, Isabel, was also bought a ring and really was touched by this as it was so unexpected .

So it seems there is something to be said about bringing the ritual of gift giving into birth.  Jewellery can be expensive, but doesn’t have to be – and there are plenty of other gifts that can be given that are special but don’t cost the earth.

How will you signify this important day and keep as a reminder of how your lives changed and you became more than you were?


childbirth classes – antenatal classes – prenatal classes – online childbirth classes – dad to be – dads to be – pregnancy classes – birthing classes

Cone Head Alert!

Recently, I attended an amazing birth at a birthing centre. Prior to the birth, I held private childbirth classes with the couple and they also attended Hypnobirthing® classes. As always ‘my’ dad-to-be watched the DadSkills video series to make sure everything was covered before the birth.

I nearly didn’t make it to this birth. The couple were comfortable labouring at home together. I was asked to come when they were leaving for the birth centre at around 9.15am. Due to terrible traffic and having to drop my children at school, I arrived at the centre at 10am. The labouring mother was in the birth pool. She had just been told she was fully dilated and was beginning to birth her baby. She was very calm, with dad at her shoulders holding her hands through each contraction.

Within half an hour, her lovely, slippery, wet baby was in her arms. It was such a joy to see a baby birthed so calmly. The midwife (who I have been at several births with) was amazed at the way in which this first time mum birthed her baby.

It was decided to let mum and baby stay in the lovely warmth of the pool to birth the placenta. During this time the new parents started to check over their baby and talk about the birth. The one thing that kept coming up was that the baby had a ‘cone head’. The dad kept asking if this was ok and asking if the baby was damaged.

This isn’t the first time this has happened and it occurred to me that, as doulas and childbirth educators, we are used to seeing these new little beings enter the world with their lovely ‘cone’-shaped heads all the time. But for dads, this is the first time and it can really throw them for six.

Without sounding hippy, we have to pay tribute to both the mother’s pelvis and the baby’s ability to shape its head. The mother’s pelvis has the amazing ability to open up and get bigger than the baby (especially if she in NOT lying on her back). The baby’s head has fontanelles (soft spots) which allow the bony plates of the skull to move and the head to mould and fit through the pelvis. Amazing huh? So, many babies are born with their heads looking very ‘cone’ like. It’s perfectly normal and they are designed to do this.

‘Cone heads’ can also be born to a mum who has birthed by caesarean as she may have laboured before going into theatre.

So heads up (pardon the pun), your baby is mostly likely to have a little cone head when he/she is born and it’s completely fine. Usually by the next day, everything will settle back into place and your baby will look more how you would expect a baby to.


childbirth classes – dad to be – dads to be – antenatal classes – online childbirth classes – prenatal classes – pregnancy classes – birthing classes

Will I be a good father?

Most men upon hearing the news that their partner is pregnant have a couple of things go through their head. Firstly, if it has been in the planning there is excitement. If the pregnancy was not planned, there is usually shock. And somewhere in all the emotion is the question, “Will I be a good Dad?”. As doulas we hear this regularly. There have been countless surveys conducted and this question is one that comes up time and again.

Unfortunately, most dads to be don’t talk about it. So DadSkills has decided to take the bull by the horns and talk about this. From our many years of experience supporting women and their partners through pregnancy and childbirth and into early parenthood, we have found the more informed and prepared a couple are, the easier the transition to becoming a dad and mum.

How you will parent has many variables. It’s not so much how “good” you will be but how resilient you are to change and being able to adapt with the many challenges that come with becoming a parent. If we look back over the generations, the role of the father has changed and is now being recognised as just as important as the mum’s role. About time! However, blindly following the way we were parented ourselves is not necessarily the answer to being a good parent – the question is how to decide which things to keep and which things to do differently.  No wonder men are concerned.

Many childbirth classes don’t look at what happens when you get home. In the DadSkills Online Childbirth Classes for the Dad to be, we believe in a holistic approach to birth preparation.  We always talk about finding the ‘next best thing’, something we learned from Birthing From Within. We talk about its use through labour and then always encourage it into parenthood.

So what does that mean exactly, the ‘next best thing’? Well, during labour as things progress (sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly) you may be faced with some decisions to make.  You might have had an idea of how you would like the birth to go but you may face something unexpected. It’s all about getting the information you need and making a decision based on what you are faced with at that time.

The same applies for parenting. You may have very firm ideas about how you will parent. But if that isn’t working for you as a family, you may need to again look at your options and then make a decision about what is best for your family at the time, the ‘next best thing’.  We all imagine what parenthood will be like but you just don’t know until you experience it.

If there is one gift we can give you going into parenthood, we’d like to give you the gift of the ‘next best thing’.  If you can remember to take a step back when things aren’t going along as you imagined and then to look for ‘the next best thing’, you will always have a tool to help you in any situation.

And, remember, we’d all like to be perfect parents at all times, but sometimes being good enough is the best you can do.


childbirth classes – dad to be – dad to be – online childbirth classes – antenatal classes – prenatal classes – pregnancy classes  – birthing classes