Here’s something to think about: What is the point of a doula? I’ve met a lot of people who genuinely do not understand why you’d would hire a stranger to be apart of their birth. They want to know why they would need a doula when they have a husband or partner present. They want to know why anyone would need help sticking to their own birth plan. And they really want to know why you’d need someone other than their doctor there… and I sooo get it! It’s a legitimate question.
But if you really think about it, how many people are actually close to their doctors or know the nurses that attend their birth? Most modern births have strangers in attendance. Hospitals have to rotate their staff, and even if you get to know your midwife or care provider, you aren’t guaranteed that they will be available when you go into labor. So here are a couple of reasons I’ve found that you or (other soon to be parents) might want to hire a Doula to attend a birth:
- You are unsure of how you will react in labor and are looking for non-biased support to help guide the process based on your individualized plans laid out beforehand.
Many people have very specific plans for their birth. (In fact, a doula can help you write a specific birth plan based on your wants and needs…but that’s for another day.) Whether it be all natural, as medicated as possible, a scheduled cesarean section, or a water birth…many women find that they are too busy birthing a person to keep everyone informed of their chosen track. See, Doulas offer support. Wanting Non-judgmental support means a doula can be the perfect person to delegate tasks to.
Examples: “Don’t let my father-in-law in here.” “Please remind me that I didn’t originally want an epidural if the nurse suggests one.” “I need a cool washcloth.” “Help me change positions.” “When the new nurse comes in, give them a copy of my birth plan” “Text my mom for me and ask her to bring the camera when she comes.”
These may seem like tasks that can be done by your partner, (if you are in a relationship) but you’ve got to remember that he/she is becoming a parent too! There will be times when they might need support as well. Plus, having your partner hold your hand and pay attention to you while someone else takes care of the small things can really keep you focused on your goal: getting a healthy baby earthside.
- You do not want to be alone.
Sadly, many pregnant people learn too late that their plans will often clash with typical hospital protocols. It can become concerning how much time your medical staff isn’t present. I’m not saying that doctors and nurses are negligent! They care about you— it’s just that you probably aren’t their only patient and it’s impossible for them to give you undivided attention. Which is a fucking bummer! For a laboring mom who needs clarification on what kind of medication they are being given, wants to be moved, wants to ask questions, or merely wants to have someone to chat with them inbetween contractons….it is disheartening to find that paging a nurse to come in every 5 minutes will not be enough. Yes, lots of pregnant people have their significant others present, but (unless your partner is a superhero) he or she can’t be with you every second for the possibly many hours of labor either. They will need to get food, make calls, rest, go to the bathroom, hyperventilate into a paper bag about becoming a parent…
But good news! Doulas are literally there to make sure you are never alone! You hired them, so they are loyal to you and only you, not the hospital or the doctor. They will stay with you from the moment you ask them to arrive until the baby is safely in your arms, settled into the rosy afterglow of birth. They are there to take care of your emotional needs. Also, Doulas LOVE to answer questions! A good doula will be able to answer most of the questions you need in order to make informed decisions for yourself and your baby, (and if they don’t know the answer immediately, they WILL find out.) They are masters of questions. We want you to feel safe, relaxed, and comfortable. Care providers want that for you too, but most likely will not be able to give you undivided support. And honestly, don’t you deserve to be catered to?! You’re creating a person for crying out loud!
- You want to be in control of your birth environment by increasing the amount of security and comfort available, for yourself, or for your partner.
I know this may sound harsh, but there are people who do not belong in your delivery room. (You know who I’m talking about) Its different for each person, but I can guarantee that everyone has someone they’d rather not be present while they are in the vunerable state of becoming a parent. For families that share deep connections, it’s hard to just say no to the ones that love us.
Examples: It’s hard for Memaw to keep her opinion to herself when she’s watching her daughter give birth. Every other contraction she may be pestering you to take the drugs, reminding you about how “in her day” you didn’t question the doctor, or reminiscing about how you were a forceps birth because of your huge head. Nobody’s got time for that, Memaw.
Okay, now Imagine having your 5 most favorite sorority sisters from college in the delivery room squealing and taking pictures. They are live tweeting every push. They are just soooo excited that you’re the first one of them to give birth…. Nope. That just sounds too loud to me! Your baby is going crawl backwards to get away from the woohoos. Having too many cooks in the kitchen is one sure fire way to stress out mom and baby. Listen, I know they are have their hearts in the right place, but most of the time, they are adding to your pain. I’ve seen women in the midst of body quaking contractions more worried about entertaining her company than focusing on what her body is doing.
A doula is a perfect help for this, as she can help reassure your cheerleaders in the waiting room or at home that the process is going well. She can be your play-by-play color announcer. She can be your own personal bouncer. (Doulas wear many hats) Or if you send your honey out to talk to the family, your doula take care of you! Doulas are supposed to be a calming presence in the delivery room. They are the support system you really need. And they won’t be telling you about that one time Aunt Cheryl gave birth in a Volvo. Major perk.
- You are looking for a resource for information.
When it comes to birth, there are so many options. There’s a world of information out there. But what sucks is…. most care providers are biased. They think the type of medicine they practice is the best way and are reluctant to tell their patients about other options. It’s not their faults really. They want your business and they like to do what they do best. BUT there is no one correct and proper way to parent, give birth, handle pregnancy, or to care for your children. There are so many ways to do all these things! You’ve got to figure out what’s best for you!
Some of my clients are very well versed in the ways, methods, medications, positions, techniques, and language surrounding birth. Others have no idea what’s going on. Either way, pregnant people end up becoming anxious. For a well-researched client, there can be anxiety over forgetting a piece of information. For the uninformed, everything can come crashing down on them at once, making them feel unprepared. Doulas are a great help for all kinds of families, because they are walking birth books! You get the benefit of having someone you can pepper with questions that are specific to your needs, as well as brainstorm alternate plans, should unexpected events occur. A doula is only concerned about what YOU want and need. They will exhaust all the options with you. Whether you need help choosing a care provider, researching the best way for you to feed, helping you prepare for birth, or explaining what will happen at certain points in labor—doulas are your unbiased birth encyclopedia!
I could type out probably 50 more in depth reasons on why doulas are valuable to your birth team, but these are just a few for you to chew on this Thursday. If any of these reasons resonate with you in your search for labor support, I encourage you to contact us with questions. We’d love to meet you where you are at in this process and I know you can find exactly what you need from Belly Blossom Doulas.
What do you think about doulas? I’d love to hear what you think about these Thursday Thoughts! Thank you for reading!
Your Doula- Hannah