When I talk about how much I love my Doula, people usually look at me like I’m crazy.
Usually the response I get is, “A what-a?”
Shaking my head.
Or I get asked, “Wait… didn’t you have an epidural? Why would you need a doula? What does a doula even do?”
In my experience, a lot of people A.) Don’t know what a doula is…. or B.) Have some pretty crazy preconceived notions about what a doula does. Most commonly, I’ve found that people believe that doulas are only for women who want to have home births, or births without pain meds. Well, I’m here to tell you, that just isn’t the case.
Our Doula, Ashley, (head to her website >>> here and her Facebook >>> here) was with us for of both of my sons’ births, and I don’t know what I would have done without her. That being said, I’m here to tell you why I think every woman can benefit from the support of a doula.
- I haven’t attended 200+ births… have you? Most women will attend only a handful of births in their life. Personally, I have only attended the births of my own sons. My doula on the other hand… well… William was my doula’s 100th baby, and David was her 210th baby… she literally helps deliver a baby almost every single week of her life. A doula is a birth professional, while the rest of us are novices at best. A doula knows the ins and outs of labor, delivery, and post-partum care, and she’s there for you every step of the way.
- They’re your advocate – and they help you stick to your birth plan. Both of my labors were incredibly long and exhausting. By the time I got to the hospital – both times – I was already over-tired, and I probably would have said yes to whatever the doctor on call was telling me to do. Having my doula by my side, to remind me of my wishes, was invaluable to me. With William, there was a doctor on call that very much tried to bully me into making certain decisions, but thank goodness for my doula. She asked for the room to be cleared so we could talk through everything privately, and she explained my options to me in laymen’s terms. Without a doubt I would have ended up in a C-Section with William if it hadn’t been for our doula’s support and guidance. (***FYI I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a C-Section, it just wasn’t in my birth plan.) Then with David, my blood pressure started to drop suddenly in the middle of labor. My doula was the one who noticed, and grabbed a nurse to get us help. Joe never would have known what to do on his own in that situation. The fact that you have a professional in the room with you, who understands all your needs and wishes, and is there only for you, is like I said before, invaluable.
- They speak doctor language – and they interpret for you. Giving birth can be intimidating in that you are pretty much the only person in the room who has no idea what is going on. You have no idea what all the numbers mean, what all the graphs are saying, how many bags of fluid you should have, what your blood pressure should be, or how often your contractions should be coming. Your doula knows all of these things and will explain it to you as you go. What’s more,when push comes to shove <<< no pun intended… your doula will be there to help you make the big decisions. And believe me, there are a lot of them. With William, I found it interesting that the doctors asked me to make decisions, even though I had no idea what they were talking about. And what’s worse, when I asked for explanations, both doctors seemed annoyed. <<<Sorry people – I don’t do this every damn day like you do. With William, I had to decide if I wanted pitocin, if I wanted my water broken, if I wanted to push. Then, after all that, I was asked to choose between forceps, a vacuum and an episiotomy. Thank God I had my doula by my side to help me make all these decisions. Because I sure as hell had NO idea what was going on.
- In this day and age, the chances that your doctor will deliver your baby are small. It is nice to have a provider in the room that knows you and is there for ONLY you. My doctors have not delivered my babies either time. I cannot imagine how scared and how lonely I’d feel during birth if my doula wasn’t there with me. Sure – my husband was there both times – but I know his strengths. He is great at so many things, but birth coach is not one of them. I mean… the man almost passed out on me during my epidural. We needed someone who could take the lead, and that is exactly what our doula did. Her presence helped keep both of us calm in moments of high stress
- A doula is there to support you, but she also winds up supporting your partner as well. The birthing process is hard for the mother, but it is also hard for the mother’s partner. No one likes to see the person they love – in pain, and for my husband, it was extremely wearing. The fact that he had our doula to lean on for the births of both of our sons, was amazing. With William, our doula let joe sleep for 8 hours while I labored so he could be present the next day. With David, she walked laps around labor and delivery with me so my husband could field phone calls. Although your doula is there to support you, she also supports your partner. A doula allows you to concentrate on each other, on your growing family, and on the beautiful parts of the birthing process… rather than the stressors of delivery.
- What group birth classes? Instead of going to the generic birth classes at the hospital with a million other expectant parents… my husband and I met twice with our doula – in the comfort of our home – and took birth classes that were tailored to us and our personal needs. We were able to ask her all the questions that were on our minds, and we didn’t feel like we had wasted our time learning things we already knew.
- Placenta encapsulation – My doula offered placenta encapsulation (you can see her services >> here), and that alone sealed the deal for me. I knew from the time I got pregnant that I absolutely wanted to have my placenta made into pills. You can read more about this practice from the American Pregnancy Association>>> here. Now, I know that people have some strong feelings about this and that it is a little controversial. SO… all I’ll say is that I did it with both boys, and I didn’t have any postpartum depression problems either time. I recommend placenta pills to everyone I know, and all my friends who have done it, rave about it.
- Doulas are a wealth of information before, during and after labor. In addition to the amazing birth classes most doulas offer, they also have a wealth of birthing information available to you. When I found out I was pregnant, I texted our doula. When I thought I was miscarrying, I texted our doula. When I went into labor, I texted our doula. And when I was having problems nursing, I texted our doula. Every time I looked to her for help, she was there to support our family and to offer her assistance. Every step of the way she was with us, and for this I cannot thank her enough.
(*** FYI — the lactation consultant my doula sent me to when I was having problems nursing — is amazing. Like the woman changed my life. If you live in town and are in need of lactation consulting services… her name is Katie, she comes to your house, and she’ll fix anything you’ve got going on -nursing wise. Check her out >>> HERE.)
So if you’re still confused about why you might want a doula, or what they do… I’m going to share one last example with you that will hopefully hit home. Many people hire wedding planners or “day of” coordinators to help with their weddings. Why? Because these people are professionals. They know all the best people in the business, they’ve seen it all, and they make magic happen – especially when $hit hits the fan. A doula is no different. Only…. they charge a hell of a lot less…. and the birth of your child is arguably way more important than how your wedding looks. Just sayin…
All joking aside, I firmly believe that every woman deserves a doula, and I hope you can see why.
If you have any questions about my experience, or about finding a doula near you – let me know!