Is a Doula worth it?
There is a common misconception that the definition of DOULA involves women who attend home births (wearing long, flowing skirts and no shoes), only support natural birth, are against all medical interventions, and are super, incredibly, over-the-top 'crunchy.'
Due to some of the above belief, we get all of the following questions on a regular basis:
*Is there a point to having a doula if I intend to get an epidural at the first possible chance?
Well, yes. Contrary to popular belief, a woman can't walk in the door of the hospital and demand an epidural. It takes time to make that epidural happen. And, unfortunately, not every epidural allows for 100% pain relief. We’ve been in the delivery room with many laboring women with epidurals...and we haven't yet found ourselves with nothing to do. We provide comfort support until the epidural is placed, help with positioning while the epidural is in, get warm blankets, move pillows around, keep water supplied, calm nerves when uncontrollable shaking starts, help with pushing... You may get a nice, long nap with an epidural. Your doula tends to stay busy.
*But you're a doula... Will you actually support me in getting an epidural?
Yes, yes, and yes. It's your birth. We'll go into it with a plan for dealing with the discomfort, but if you say you want an epidural, we will believe you 1000%. It's not our birth. Your doula’s only goal is to help you have a birth in which you feels as informed, empowered, and respected in your space as you want to be. The decisions you makes are yours- whether they were planned in advance or not.
*My husband plans to be very involved. Will you take his place? He's worried about that.
The two of you are the forever people. We will never, ever take the place of a spouse, partner or any other family member or close friend. We fill a very different need. We step in as needed… and step back as needed. We know birth inside and out. We can anticipate the next need and remind everyone that what is happening is 100% normal. We can give support people suggestions that may bring the most pain relief. We can offer ideas on positions that may help with comfort and/or progress. It is incredibly important to us that we never make another member of your support team feel that their role isn't needed or important.
*My doctor says a doula isn't necessary. Should I believe him/her?
In that particular doctor's personal experience, a doula may not have been necessary. And we fully agree that a doula may not count as a “necessity.” But you know YOU the very best. You know your needs and wants and desires and fears and anxieties and plans better than any other human on the face of the planet. If you’ve even had the slightest thought of adding a doula to your team, listen to yourself and pursue the possibility. Your doula has the knowledge and experience to help you navigate labor and can provide you with the resources to make important decisions. And your doula won't leave you. (Well... other than a brief food or potty break.) This is your pregnancy. You get to decide what's most necessary for you.
*My friend is thinking about being a doula. Won't it work to just have her come?
Being in the room would be a great way for your friend to get a better idea as to whether seeking doula training is the direction she wants to head. Many doulas have done a pretty decent job at a friend's birth before taking a doula training. BUT we honestly didn’t have had the knowledge to really give the best level of care. Training and experience teach so much about every stage of labor and all of the possible options. . (If your friend is interested in being a doula, send her our way. We’d love to chat!)
*But I'm modest. And I don't like people all around me when I'm in pain. I don't know if I want someone else in the room.
This is the great part of prenatal visits. We get together before delivery, text often, and build a relationship prior to your birth. We work on your birth plan and we go into the delivery room with a good understanding of your comfort levels and your concerns. We don't see anything you don't want us to see and we give you space when space is what you need. Your privacy and your boundaries are at the top of our list and we will absolutely respect them. And while it hasn't happened before, if you want/need us to leave the room, we will. Again... it's your birth.
*Will it cause problems in the delivery room? I've heard some nurses and doctors don't like doulas.
As with any profession, there are a few 'bad apples' in the doula world. Those people have caused some strained relationships to happen. The good apples will have fixed those relationships. Ask us about our relationships with medical staff. You may be surprised! (Better yet- ask your provider what doulas they would recommend. You’ll quickly learn who the better relationships are with.)
*But I don't know if I can afford a doula. Is it really worth the cost?
We can't answer that question for you- but we do acknowledge that the cost isn't cheap. If you're committed to the idea of adding a doula to your team, we’re committed to helping you brainstorm ways to make it possible.