"I should have hired a doula..."
This is a phrase I have heard so many times.
In fact, I thought this after my third birth. I had about seven or eight women present in my birthing space, and even having all those wonderful ladies present, I did not accomplish my birth goals. I was trying to avoid paying for a doula. The truth of the matter is that in most situations a friend, or sister, or mother cannot fill the role that a doula can fill, and because of this, I hear so many people say this phrase "I should have hired a doula." Hindsight is 2020. But when will we begin to listen to the advice of our friends and hire a doula - BEFORE we have regrets.
A friend who has given birth naturally may have a special empathy towards you, but she doesn't have all the training that a doula has gone through. A mother may know exactly how you like to be touched and may be a comforting person in the room, but, again, she doesn't have all the knowledge a doula might have, should an intervention arises that you did not expect. Your sister might be someone you arent afraid to be naked in front of, but she might not know all the comfort techniques a doula knows.
Your heart is set on having a natural birth, but once you're in the throes of labor, holding onto that natural birth dream can be difficult. Will you be willing to listen to your mother or your friend telling you to stick to the plan? Will you want to hear them reminding you of your natural birth plans? Another question, will they tell you to stick to it, or will they be too afraid to hold you to your hopes.
Doulas have specialized training that teach them how to support a mother in labor with physical comfort, emotional support, informational support, as well as wisdom of the birthing process.
She understands labor, she is familiar with it. She can tell when something is up. Perhaps mom needs nourishment, and doula suggests a snack and hydration, and mom perks up out of her slump. Perhaps moms contractions appear interesting and the doula can tell that baby may not be an optimal position, so she uses techniques that can help the labor progress. She is trained in the many variations of labor and how to help in those scenarios. And the best thing a doula possesses is a natural affinity to know what is needed before it is needed or asked for.
But what about nurses? Why would anyone need to hire a doula when the hospital has AMAZING nurses? I have seen so many incredible, selfless nurses in my time as a doula! I am so thankful for all that those ladies do, but they also have a LOT on their plate. I know they are on the labor and delivery floor for a reason, because of their tender and nurturing hearts, and I know they probably wish they could sit and stay with a client for her entire birth experience... but that rarely happens. Nurses have so many responsibilities, and one of the most time consuming roles they have is charting. They also have other patients they may have to tend to. A Nurses job never ends. If it is a slow shift, she may be able to stay with you consistently, but you can't bank your birth experience on that hope.
My hope is this, that you might learn from me and hire a doula. I wish I had a doula at my first few births. I wish I knew what a doula was prior to my first and second birth. I wish I had chosen to hire one for my third birth. I am so thankful that I had one at my forth birth - that is when I finally had the experience I planned and hoped for. Even my husband says, "We will never give birth without a doula again!"
Would you like additional support for your upcoming birth?
I would love to connect with you about how a doula may help you feel comfortable and prepared labor!
Disclaimer. Not everybody wants to have a doula and I understand that. Many people will be very successful without one, but a lot of people will benefit from the support and comfort a doula can bring.
Another Disclaimer: Not everyone wants a natural birth. Doulas are beneficial at ALL types of birth, from natural to cesareans. I just find many women who long for a natural birth, and don't end up with it, wish they had hired a doula.
My name is Jillian and I am a Doula, Childbirth Educator, Placenta Encapsulator living in the Wilmington, North Carolina. I believe in women and that they deserve support throughout their pregnancy and births no matter what method of birth they desire. I myself am a mother to 4 girls, pregnant with a 5th (that is a boy); each of their births were vastly different.