Monday, May 13, 2013

Your Doula Can't Do It For You

One of my favorite things about birth is that every birth is different.  Some are totally awesome and others just suck to get through.  It varies from person to person and from kid to kid.  If you knew exactly how each birth would go, you would just plan for that experience.  That's the thing though -- no one knows how things will go down.  I like to think that it adds to the excitement!

The costs of adding to your family can be significant.  When you are planning an unmedicated birth, making choices that will help you achieve your goals is so important.  A childbirth class and a doula do add to the costs.  Of course, if you spend time with these people, they'll tell you what you really need with a new baby, which will probably save you money in the long run!

I've seen many couples hire a doula and call it good -- thinking the doula will be their childbirth class and advocate for them.  The assumption is that she'll help them every step of the way.  While this is partially true, it puts all the pressure on the doula and none on the parents.

Many doulas give discounts to couples who take a good childbirth class and birth with care providers who are natural birth friendly.  It makes their job not only easier, but more enjoyable.  They see the parents become empowered by making their own choices.  The doula is there for support and encouragement. She provides occasional education or information about something that may have come up in labor.

To not prepare physically, mentally, and emotionally for an unmedicated birth is irresponsible.  Remember my saying - "90% of birth is in your head, 10% is what happens to you."  I really do believe that.  Not just for moms, but for dads.  He needs to have his head in the game, too!

Are you ready for labor?  Do you know your stuff?  Labor is not the time to be learning or figuring things out.  It is often difficult enough when you are completely prepared!

I am obviously a proponent of hiring a doula, no matter where you are giving birth.  It benefits mom and dad.  I never hear people say that they wish they wouldn't have hired a doula, but I certainly have heard couples say they wish they had.

Childbirth education is my passion.  For me, education was the turning point, knowing I could do it, and having the tools to make it happen.  I want to see all couples being educated and then hiring a doula to help them maneuver through labor and their individual situation.

Your labor is your experience.  The doula is there to make you more comfortable, help you meet your goals, and enhance the experience.  She can't get in your head.  She can't take on the contractions for you.  Isn't is wonderful that no one can birth your baby but you?

A corny way to end this post?  Who cares!  People are always asking me about a gift to get their doula.  There are so many choices in beautiful jewelry.  I just found this necklace and loved it.  Your doula will too.

Happy birthing -- yourself -- but with a doula by your side -- and, of course, some good childbirth education behind you!


Danialle B. said...

I completely agree with the statement "90% of birth is in your head, 10% is what happens to you." With my son's natural birth, I went in fearless and prepared, and it went so smoothly. Yet so many women come out saying it was the most traumatic experience of their life, and I think fear has a lot to do with that. A doula can only help so much. They can't take away that fear. If a mother works through her fears beforehand, only then can she can fully benefit from her doula's support and encouragement. Birth isn't just a physical trial, it is an emotional and mental one - and it begins before contractions even start.

Barbara said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a doula, I see the difference the good childbirth classes and excellent providers make first hand. You must educate yourself and prepare your mind to have a great birth. Empowered mommas make empowered choices. :)