Birth Partners & Doulas: The Best Team
"You want to hire a what?!"
"I don't want her to take my place."
"What's the point if I'm going to be with you?"
"What the heck is a doula? Is she a witch?"
Believe me, I've heard it all. Guess what else? I get it. I didn't know the value of a doula until I became one. I mean, you're investing hundreds (sometimes thousands) of dollars into one woman and you're not even sure what exactly she does.
I. Get. It.
Convincing your partner is more than half the battle sometimes.
So allow me to take this opportunity to address the biggest hesitancies I hear from partners during consultations.
"I feel like she will take my place, and I really want to be the person who supports you."
Looking across the board, there is a wide spectrum of how involved partners desire to be when it comes to birth. I like to get a good idea pretty early on of what kind of role you want to play and I adjust accordingly. If you want to be the sole source of support, that's how it will be and I will only take over when you need a break. If you want to be in the corner and away from all the happenings, I am happy to be the support for you. All of this being said, I would never come between you supporting your loved one through this day. I am here to bring you two together as a team and it is my job to help YOU help her.
"What's the point in paying all of this money for someone if I will be with you?"
All labors look different. They can last 4 hours. They can last 50 hours. Think, for a second, if you were mama's only support person, and she needed someone to help her through every single contraction for an unknown amount of time. Do you think you may need to use the bathroom at some point? Eat? Sleep? Take care of *your* needs along with someone else's? I had a 45 hour labor, and I know that my husband couldn't have supported me the way he did had we not had someone alongside us tagging in when he needed a break. Birth is not only hard work for mama, it's hard work for you too.
"Won't we have a nurse to help us with those things?"
You will have a labor nurse with you for the duration of your labor. However, that nurse has other mamas to care for as well as other tasks, so she cannot be present in the room with you the entire time. You don't have to page your doula; she's already there. Also: There are some incredible nurses out there, but there are a few who are more likely to pressure you into certain interventions. This is where your doula comes in.
"The hospital staff knows what they're doing. They won't offer any intervention that is unnecessary. Can't they help us talk through decisions like that?"
I'm going to word my answer to this carefully.
I hope you've chosen a care provider that you are able to trust to lay out all of your options (and I mean *all* of them...not just the medical options). The reality of my job is that I see how different care providers, nurses, and hospitals work. And I'm here to say...it's almost always a good idea to have a third party in the room who not only knows the benefits and risks of certain decisions, but also alternatives to those decisions that we can try before resorting to something you initially wanted to avoid. As your doula, my job is to make sure you are an active participant in the decision making concerning your birth. Without doulas, many families are not in charge of their birth--they are simply made to be compliant patients.
"Our doctor says we don't need a doula. They say doulas just get in the way and most of them don't know their place.".
Trust me: I'm the first person to be like, "Girrrrllllll there are some CRAZY doulas out there. Ask the right questions and be thorough in your search for the right one,".
When doctors say these kinds of things, it's either because they :
A) haven't worked with the right doula
B) do not want someone else to influence the decisions of their patients
I can understand example A. Doulas who do not understand their scope and make the delivery room more chaotic than it sometimes is, puts a bad taste in a care provider or nurse's mouth. However, just like doctors and nurses, not all doulas are created equal. When I leave a birth, I often hear from a nurse, "I wish you could be with me for all of my deliveries.". And that is my job; to be your nurse's best friend and teammate.
If you heard something along the lines of example B from your care provider, I would encourage you to think about why they would discourage you to get the support and information you desire for your birth. Really think about this.