Doulas are hippies that want you to have your baby under a tree by a spring with a family of deer cheering you on... Have you heard something in those lines? I kid, of course I'm exagerating in my description, but hopefully, such old rumors no longer exist. That's what this article is about. Clearing the misconceptions about what a Doula really is. What's the point of a Doula anyway?
A lot of our clients know from the get go that they want a Doula through their pregnancy and at their birth. Some moms and families however only understand the value of a Doula after talking to one and having our exact role broken down.
Thoughts that might go through people's head:
'My Doctor is going to think I'm undermining their expertise by bringing a Doula'
'The nurses at the hospital are gonna think we're total weirdos when we walk in with a Doula'
'Why does my wife think I'm not good enough to support her during labor?'
'I have a midwife so she'll meet every little need I have'
'My mom and sister will be there with me, they'll be my Doulas'
'No thanks, I don't want a total stranger in my family business, I prefer privacy'
'I'm totally not having a natural birth! A Doula will try to make me feel bad'
Truth is, there might be a tiny possibility that these scenarios have happened in somebody's story. Good news is, Birth Prep Doulas, do not bring a 'report card' into your life. What I mean by this is that is that, our bottom line policy is to offer unconditional support, honor your choices, respect your space and work in harmony with your team of supporters including you Doctor/ Midwife/ Nurses/ spouse and family.
No judgement from us. Zero. You call the shots and we get on board and keep everyone involved focused on your wishes, comfort and well-being.
Let's talk Doctors and Doulas. Many modern Doctors appreciate a good Doula on the team. Birth Prep Doulas understand that to keep these relationships efficient for the mom to be, being professional at all times and working within our scope of practice is important.
Midwives are medical professionals and focus on the woman and baby's medical progress and safety. This makes it a bit difficult to be available for some of the small detailed needs that do come up during labor. A Doula is there for this sole purpose. We get you a fresh cool rag, we rub your back, we help you change positions, we hold your hand, keep the mood in the room right... You name it, we're at your service. It is never an interruption or a bother for us because this is exactly what we are there for.
Nurses as well know the value of having a knowledgable assistant with the laboring mother at all times. Having worked as a Nurse myself, I can not underestimate the peace of mind it gives one to know that they can focus on the woman's and baby's medical needs while the Doula handles other aspects of labor. When it comes time to document or be with other patients, the Doula keeps the pace going while the Nurse is out of the room. And at the end of the day, Nurses have to clock out. Doulas do not change shifts!
Family members too sometimes need to leave the room for a break or for other life obligations. Husbands, moms and sisters have personal knowledge of the mom-to-be, which is very reassuring to her. Doulas on top of that, have skill sets and an educated understanding of the progression of Labor and can help in explaining some of the medical terms if need be. Doulas do not replace dads, or moms or sisters... We are happy to work on your team, alongside them.
Privacy is a big deal to most of us! No wonder medical professionals are held accountable to protect your personal information by HIPAA (HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It's a law that protects your private information) Birth Prep Doulas understand the sensitivity and intimate nature of pregnancy and birth. We include a HIPAA form for all our services that both parties sign. All the information you give your Doula is between you and your Doula, period. We do not reveal clients identity and we do not post any client details on social media (unless requested or authorized).
Private to some may also mean that they feel like a complete stranger is coming into their personal lives. I can totally relate, especially with everything that could go down during birth. It's a natural instinct. Even animals in the wild are known to seclude themselves when in labor. Which is why Doulas hold several prenatal meetings with the mom-to-be. Partners and family members are welcome to these as well. Birth Prep Doulas will come to a Doctor/Midwife visit if requested. We are happy to meet with the mom-to-be, wherever she chooses, and work on building a comfortable relationship. We are available to her throughout the pregnancy for any questions or even just to chat about the day. The Doula/ client relationship is unique in how personal and how fast it develops. Our goal for the day you deliver, is for you to feel like your Doula is a professional, yet your friend at the same time!
Women have so many options on how to birth. Birth Prep Doulas celebrate that!
We pride ourselves in offering non-judgmental support to all. We leave our personal preferences out of your story. As our mission statement states, "We believe that given the right information and with the right support, women are capable of making the right choices for themselves and their babies."
We truly believe and live this mantra. Our hope is that you get to live it too.
What are your thoughts on the true role of Doulas?