As a professional doula there are a myriad of issues affecting the clients crossing my path. The physical and emotional changes of pregnancy, motherhood, breast feeding, and more are monumental and definitely life changing. I am continually amazed at the amount of information there is surrounding these precious people we call babies.
In an effort to keep clients and friends abreast of the cutting edge research and ideas I maintain a website, blog and informational site on Facebook. New material pops up daily for these sites. There is always something interesting to share and research.
My clients are equally as interesting. Every baby, mommy, daddy and family brings something new to my practice. This work is never boring!!!
As doulas, we are critically aware of the changes the families with whom we work experience. Mommies go through pregnancy aware of many fluctuations in their bodies. Then comes birth; An amazing and eventful transition to a new life! Not only the delivery of a new little person, but the change from being responsible for just you to being the main source of everything for your child. We study hormones, emotions, expectations and more. Being that the majority of us have gone through the process ourselves we bring our own experiences and skills to bear.
There are books to read, studies to review, and ideas to be shared. The process is exhilarating! No one could ever learn it all! No matter how many years you have doulaed (my word) there is always something new to seek out and understand.
Recently I began to ask questions about the physical changes men go through at the time they become fathers. Men make the transition from man to daddy when their children enter the world. This presents differently in each situation, and it is massive. There are a million and one decisions to be made. Sleepless nights are ahead as well as an overwhelming desire to protect this little person. There is an understanding that things will never be as they were. Mommy will need special care as she recovers from the process of pregnancy and delivery. She will make the same transition from woman to primary caregiver and nurturer for baby. There will be others around contributing their two cents to the process. The transition from man to daddy is one of the greatest passages is life! How can I, as a doula, bring clarity and understanding?
The New York Times recently published an article discussing the massive drop of the male hormone Testosterone in new fathers.
In a pioneering five-year study published in 2011, for instance, Dr. Lee Gettler, Ph.D., an American anthropologist, followed a group of 624 single, childless men in the Philippines from age 21 to 26. Dr. Gettler found that while all men in the study experienced normal, age-related dips in testosterone, the 465 men who became dads during that five-year period experienced a more significant drop — an average 34 percent (when measured at night) — than those who remained single or married.
Studies in animals and people show that new fathers experience an increase in the hormones estrogen, oxytocin, prolactin and glucocorticoids, according to a recent review of studies by psychologist Elizabeth Gould and colleagues from Princeton University.
Contact with the mother and children seem to induce the hormonal changes in dads, the researchers said. In humans, dads who show more affection toward their children also tend to have higher levels of oxytocin.
Oxytocin is one of the hormones released when mothers breastfeed. It encourages bonding and affection. Amazing that biologically men experience the same things!
Dads are sensitive to their children’s voices
Although it is generally thought that a “maternal instinct” makes moms incredibly good at picking out their baby’s unique cry, a recent study suggests that dads were just as good as moms. To compare parents’ performance in baby-cry detection, researchers asked 27 fathers and 29 mothers to pick out their babies’ cries, from among the cries of five infants. On average, parents were able to detect their babies’ cries about 90 percent of the time, and men did just as well as women.
These are just a few of the many topics researched as science opens to the idea that men experience physical changes at the advent of parenthood. This is very interesting material……………..