Why did you decide to use a doula?
I started training to become a Doula right before I found out that I was pregnant. So here I was, pregnant for the first time, fresh out of my Doula training, starting to plan my own birth. I wanted to make informed decisions and feel good about my care. I didn’t just want to just “get through it”, I wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and birth. Pregnancy is not always easy but it doesn’t have to be a time of fear or self-doubt. Doulas can help mitigate for all of that.
What did your doula service include?
From the time I hired my Doula, I had access to her via text and email throughout and after the pregnancy. In addition, my Doula package included: 2-3 in-person prenatal meetings, Doulas are on call for the birth (beginning at 37 weeks, lasting until you have the baby), and 2-3 in-person postpartum meetings. I was planning a homebirth and already knew a lot about the process of birth, so we spent most of our time together getting my partner comfortable with what birth was going to look like, practicing coping mechanisms, discussing how this would impact our couple/family dynamic, and planning for the proper postpartum support.
What was the outcome of using a doula?
Hiring my Doula was the best thing I could have done for myself and I am still reaping the benefits a year later. My Doula helped me to prepare for the birth that I wanted and cope effectively when it was not going my way. Doulas don’t solve things for you… they teach you how to solve them for yourself. Meaning, I walked away with a set of skills and a sense of confidence as a new mother which is priceless.
What was surprising about the experience?
For me, birth was a lot more than creating a human one day. The process of making decisions for my future baby taught me how to advocate for my family and trust my gut when I didn’t know what to do. My Doula helped me to re-frame a lot of my anxiety surrounding becoming a mother and taught me how to be mindful, compassionate with myself, and how to live within discomfort. To this day, when my baby is freaking out or work gets stressful, I tap into those skills!
What would you tell a friend who's considering a doula?
I would tell a friend to consider getting a Doula. Your care provider is predominately there to keep you and baby safe. Your Doula is there to provide emotional, physical, and informational support for you and your partner. These are very different roles. I have come across the misconception that Doulas are only for non-medicated births, which is not the case. A doula will support your decisions no matter what kind of birth you are planning for—Want to give birth in a field, great! Planned cesarean birth, great! Birth is a major life moment and you can play an active role in making it whatever you want it to be-- why not get extra support to prepare?