Day 2 brings us to a clarifying list about doulas! I will admit, just yesterday a friend from church said I was a midwife, and I had to explain the differences between the two professions.I had a great conversation with Becky, and I learned she has great taste in books and music! Fabulous to know there are doulas all around the world who believe in the importance of helping women achieve safe and satisfying births, despite the unique, local obstacles we face.
Yeah, yeah, we all know what a Doula is but there’s little information out there on what a Doula isn’t. I’m going to change that!
1. They are all Hippies who only attend natural births. Natural Birth? Let me scratch that one right away! Birth is natural. The End. If you are a human who births a human baby, that my friend, is a NATURAL BIRTH! Taadaa. We can categorise birth into vaginal, assisted, surgical ect but a human birthing a human is a natural event. Doulas attend all kinds of birth. Whether you plan on birthing at home in the water or in theatre with a surgeon, you can be assured there is a doula out there to support you and your family on the day you meet your little baby for the first time. Hippies? Yes there are some Hippie Doulas and I can hook you up with some if that’s what you need. I, however, shop at Tesco, dye my hair, wear business attire 99% of the time and occasionally feed my kids Mc Donalds!
2. They protect women from their care providers. Really, if you are attending a birth place where you feel you need protecting from your care providers then we’ve got much bigger fish to fry than simply hiring a doula. I’m very glad to publicly state that all of my clients have had a great relationship with their care providers and had amazing support on the day. I don’t believe women need protecting from care providers. I believe care providers are people who made a profession out of caring for people. I have had clients change their birth place, obstetrician or move to a more suitable model of care to suit their preferences for birth. We call it stacking the odds in your favour. I trust my clients to choose the best care providers for them, if they are happy with the team they’ve chosen then I am completely behind them and will support them 100% of the way.
3. Doulas are just like Midwives. Midwives are health care professionals. They have an impressive range of skills. Doulas also have an impressive range of skills but they are on very a different spectrum. The only similarities between doulas and midwives are that we both offer emotional and physical support for birth. Doulas do not preform any clinical tasks. We do not advise clients. We do not advocate for the woman. We are present, we offer continuity of care, we offer information, education, physical and emotional support. Support. We have a relationship with our clients that unfortunately, most midwives don’t have the opportunity to have. No, we don’t catch the baby but we will be right there cheering you on if you want to!
4. Doulas advocate for you. You are the advocate, your partner is the advocate, your midwife is the advocate. Your doula is an ever present support person. We do not advocate. See point 2. We trust you to have chosen the best possible set of circumstances for the birth you want so we trust that there is no advocating to be done on your behalf. This is YOUR birth. It isn’t ours. We don’t ever want you to feel pressured or swayed to have or continue on the path of one particular type of birth. This is where “unbiased support” comes into play. You can change your mind. That’s perfect. If we’ve done our job right at our antenatal visits, you and your partner will be ready and able to do all of the advocating on the day. We may offer gentle reminders of conversations and wishes we’ve spoken about prior to the birth but ultimately, our job is to help you find your voice and feel strong and empowered to use it!
5. Doulas will work for free range eggs! Seriously, there is a misconception out there that doulas will work for little or nothing…..or eggs. I am a person just like you. I’ve got a mortgage, a car to run and kids to feed. I don’t work for eggs and frankly, I wonder about trusting a person willing to work for eggs to support you on the most important day of your life to date! Yes, hiring a doula in an investment. You are paying for your doula to be within range, without alcohol, have childcare arranged and be willing to drop everything at the ring of a phone to come at be with you during your labour. All of that for up to 5 weeks, 24 hours/ 7 days a week. That’s not counting the hours spent on the phone, texting, emailing and having access to her wealth of knowledge for your entire pregnancy and post partum period until you part. So yeah. Eggs?
6. Doulas replace the partner. One of the most memorable births I attended was jamming out to Macklemore with the Dad while the Mum was “surge twerking” to the beat. It was FUN. Serious FUN! After the birth the Dad turned to me and said “Thank you so much for being here, I was dying to pee until you came and they don’t warn you how hot these wards are. You need to drink water, then you have to pee.” Doesn’t seem like a big deal but being able to run to the bathroom while your Love is in the throes of labour is a huge deal to a partner who maybe needed to pee, maybe not, maybe just needed a breather from how completely overwhelming birth can be when you’re experiencing it for the first time. I love attending births with a life partner present. The partners also love that they can relax, breathe and off load a tonne of the pressure. It’s win win to have us both there.
♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)