During the course of a conversation where jobs come up and I have to explain what a doula is or how invaluable we can be, and what we can do to support birthing women, this question inevitably comes up… “Did you have a doula at your birth?”
The answer is no, I did not hire a doula.
I did not even know what a doula was until pregnant with my third born and was reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. There were mentions of doulas and it got me curious so I did some research. Turns out, there were no doulas in my small city and I decided to change that by signing on to train with Childbirth International (CBI) at 8 1/2 months pregnant. I ended up getting the natural birth I wanted but boy did I ever wish I had a doula by my side!
Fast forward to 2016. I am pregnant with our fourth and planning for the birth. Doula or no doula? As a doula myself, obviously I’m knowledgeable about what is happening with my body and baby. I’m also trained and experienced in comfort measures to practice during labor.
So what was I to do? How would it look if I, a doula, didn’t have one? Would people think negatively about that?
You see, I truly believe that most women can benefit from having a doula at their birth. But I also believe that it is not truly needed. What is needed for the laboring woman is to feel comfortable, calm, and empowered. From my third born’s birth I knew I needed to be left alone, let mind and body take over, and to just let it happen. To me, that meant no doula. Even my husband was kept off to the side, watching, silently supporting and waiting for me to give him something to do.
The point is, while doulas are invaluable to many birthing women out there, we understand that not all women want or need one. And that’s OK! As long as you feel comfortable, calm, and completely empowered about your birth, that’s what is most important.
And if you need a little help getting to that point, you know where to find us. 🙂