“I have a midwife”
“My husband (mom, sister, etc.) will be with me”
“They cost a lot”
“I don’t want a natural birth”
I’ve heard all kinds of reasons why people think they don’t need a doula. I’ve also seen numerous times where these people get to the hospital and realize they do or regret not having one after they’ve had their baby. They feel alone and sometimes even afraid without having support.
For this post, I asked a dear friend of mine to share her opinion and experience in having both her husband and mother present and hiring a doula. Here’s a word from Cassandra:
At the moment I found out I was pregnant all I wanted to do was research. As a first time mom, I did not want to go through my pregnancy ignorant and uneducated. I read numerous books and online articles.
I initially intended to have a very intimate hospital delivery room setting. I wanted only my mom, husband, nurses, and my Dr. in the room. I wanted to ensure I could block out most distractions while giving birth to my child. I later realized I was missing a very fundamental piece to this birth plan I had in mind. I was approached by a doula, she provided insight about how she could assist with managing my pain throughout my labor and delivery process. At first, I thought my mom, husband, and the hospital staff were responsible to keep me comfortable. At this point of my pregnancy I did not plan on having an unmedicated birth. The doula explained she was certified and trained to assist women in various types of births. I was informed there are numerous methods to naturally manage contraction pain. I then decided to plan to have an unmedicated water birth. My doula also explained she would be present to assist and encourage me mentally and emotionally throughout labor and delivery.
The hospital staff have several patients to tend to, which doesn’t allow them to be hands on throughout labor. My husband and mother are not trained and were also very emotionally vulnerable. However, with assistance and guidance from my doula they were very hands on and helpful. It was very nice having my doula’s support and assistance throughout postpartum.
I am beyond grateful I decided to hire a doula. My mom, spouse, and hospital staff were amazing. However, I can honestly say my doula deserves majority of the credit for managing my pain and emotional distress while I was in labor.
I highly recommend all women, whether it’s their first or fifth baby, hire a doula.
I cannot agree more with what Cassandra said! Women need a doula. They need someone to stand by their side and support them no matter what. They need that unbiased, yet caring attention. Just to give you a little more background on why I believe this so strongly, here’s a piece of my birth story and experiences as a doula:
For my first birth, we planned a home birth. During our anatomy scan, the technician found a succenturiate lobe on my placenta. They told me that meant there were two separate pieces of placenta only connected by a very thin amount of tissue. There was a large chance that when I delivered my placenta the smaller second piece would be torn off and stay attached to my uterus. This type of attachment would cause hemorrhaging because my uterus wouldn’t be able to properly clamp down and close the wound left behind by my placenta. So with this information my husband and I did a lot of discussing. We decided we felt most comfortable with transferring into hospital care. When I called my midwife to let her know, she offered to come as my doula. I thought that was a wonderful idea! Now I would get the best of both worlds!!
Being a first time mom I didn’t really know what to expect when labor started. But I called my doula around 10 pm and she said she would be over soon. How awesome is that?! This person is willing to give up her sleep to come and support me? YUP! That’s what a doula does. She got there and made me feel so comforted! She rubbed my back, helped me find good positions to labor in and offered more encouraging words than I can remember. 15 hours later we decided it was time to head to the hospital. Boy am I glad she was with me! I had no idea what to expect. Of course my mom and husband were there, but my doula knew the hospital, she knew the providers, and she knew what to expect during labor and birth. She offered my unending support. Literally. She was by my side for 32 hours of labor and delivery. She showed me how to breastfeed. Could my mom have done that? Probably, but it’s been 17 years since she breastfed a baby. I bet she’s just a little bit rusty at how to get a newborn to latch.
Overall, I couldn’t have done my birth without my entire birth team. My mom offered encouragement and gave me the confidence that I could do it. She also took care of all the little details so I didn’t have to worry about them. (thank you momma!) My husband was my rock. He squeezed my hips until he was catching my baby. And let me just say, doing hip squeezes for extended periods of time isn’t a job for the weak. My doula helped walk us through the process, find good positions to labor in, assure us when we weren’t sure what was happening, and offer comfort measures.
Not too long ago I received a call from a birth photographer friend of mine. She had a client in labor at the hospital who wasn’t feeling supported and needed some help. They asked if I could come, of course! I joined this birth team after the mom was in labor. She didn’t have a past relationship with me, but she needed support. She needed more than just nurses coming in to give her directions every hour. There were contractions every 3 minutes. She needed help working through them. She needed encouragement. Using several positions we were able to turn her posterior baby, helping her labor to kick into full gear. She got the VBAC she wanted. She rocked that VBAC!! All she needed was a little support.
A doula isn’t there to replace your husband, they are there to help him! That way he can take a restroom break or grab a snack while you are still supported. So he knows what’s going on. So he has support also. My bet is, your husband hasn’t seen anyone give birth before, unless this is a second or third kid. But even still, I bet birth isn’t his passion. He’ll do his best, and that love and support can never be replaced! But having a knowledgable doula by both of your sides is a priceless addition to your birth team.
One more point I want to make that Cassandra touched on: it’s hard for family members, especially your husband and mother, to see you in pain. If you are going for a natural birth, they may have a harder time continuing to encourage you. They may feel tempted to just push pain medication so that it relieves your pain. Think about it, is that what you want? If so, great! If not, then you should build a plan and a team to help you achieve your goal!
Don’t we all need support? Don’t we all crave for someone to help us out in our weaknesses and encourage us to keep going? I know I sure do. Especially during labor. It’s hard work. Hard work made a little bit easier when you are surrounded by a great team that cares about you!
This is why I believe so dearly in doula care. Nothing tears at my heart strings more than talking with a woman who gave birth unsupported and didn’t like the outcome.