If you don’t know, a doula is a non-medical birthing coach who provides moral support during labor. Eric and I decided to hire a doula for the birth of our daughter and we can’t recommend the experience enough. But with all the expenses that come with giving birth to a child (oh, and the subsequent eighteen years), why add the additional fee of a doula? I’m glad you asked! Here are five reasons why you might want to hire a doula for your birth.
But first, a little background.
Like every first-time pregnant woman that ever was, I wondered about childbirth and what exactly it would be like. I read many pregnancy books and talked to many women who had given birth before me. Every woman has her own ideal childbirth in mind, and every woman has a different childbirth experience.
When considering possible childbirth options, I realized that there was no easy way out of it. The baby inside me was going to come out one way or another, whether it involved drugs or surgery or no medication whatsoever.
I read many birth stories while pregnant, and got choked up reading every single one. Bringing life into the world suddenly seemed like a transformation of sorts. How one woman “crosses over” into motherhood may look very different each time. That being said, there is no “right way” to give birth. Giving birth is such a personal experience, however a woman chooses (or doesn’t choose) to do it, is miraculous and wonderful.
At first, I thought I would like to have a natural childbirth, but remain open to an epidural. The more I read about natural childbirth, however, the more it appealed to me and felt like the most fitting way for me to do it, if at all possible. I decided I would give birth naturally, but that I would be at peace with the idea that anything could happen, and no birth plan was a guarantee.
The last thing I wanted was to have regrets about my labor and delivery.
For me, it simply came down to this: there is no easy way out of giving birth. Everything from vaginal delivery to cesarean section to drugs to no drugs comes with a pros and cons list. So why not let my body do it’s thing naturally? Also, epidurals terrify me.
I was a little nervous that “why not” could be my famous last words, but I had to go with my gut. And my gut was telling me, “You are insane! But you can totally do this, girlfriend.”
With my decision to have a natural birth, I knew I would need some help. And I am so thankful I had my doula by my side!
Our doula, Samantha, with Violet ^^^
Here a five reasons why you might want to hire a doula for your birth:
1) You want to give birth naturally
If you have decided that you would like to give birth without any pain medication or unnecessary interventions, a doula can help you remember why you want to stick to your birth plan when you are in the throes of giving birth. She is also full of ideas when it comes to creative ways to get you to relax and breathe. She is with you every step of the way to tell you that a) you are not dying and b) you are doing an amazing job.
2) You aren’t sure if you want to give birth naturally
Even if you aren’t sold on the idea of giving birth naturally, or even if you plan on getting an epidural the first chance you get, a doula is still helpful in navigating the moments leading up to getting the pain medication. If you get an epidural, you won’t need your doula as much, but that doesn’t mean she won’t be of help to you. A doula will come to your house early on in your labor, and provide support for you at home until it is time to go to the hospital. She will also tell you when it is time to go to the hospital!
In our case, Eric and I would have gone to the hospital much sooner had we not had our doula to tell us to hang in there a little longer. Since I wanted to labor at home for as long as possible, I was very thankful for her guidance at home.
3) You don’t want to take birthing classes
I should preface this with a HUGE DISCLAIMER: A doula will not tell you that her services render birthing classes unnecessary. My doula did not tell us to skip the classes.
However, it is simply my own experience that I do not regret not taking a birthing class beforehand. In the first place, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of making time for weekly classes or paying for them. Because of my reading and extensive youtube viewings, I felt like I had a decent idea of what I was getting into. I will never know if birthing classes would have been helpful, but if you are the type of person who doesn’t feel drawn to the idea, then maybe you are like me: the pre-birth meetings with the doula, as well as the access to asking a bazillion questions, is just as helpful to you.
4) When the unknown is a little scary, you are comforted by the idea that someone with a ton of experience will be with you
In thinking about giving birth for the first time, I kept telling myself that I just needed to know I wasn’t dying. I felt that I could get through anything if I only knew it was normal and natural. I am the kind of person why thrives on verbal encouragement. Having someone by my side, literally holding my hand through every contraction, who knew what to expect, was an invaluable comfort to me.
5) You need your husband to be calm and collected for your peace of mind
As my doula continually reminded us, her main concern is the pregnant mom, but she is also there for the husband! Our doula forced Eric to take a nap when she noticed him nodding off while trying to help me through a contraction. She reminded him that he couldn’t help me if he was exhausted. She also offered to get him food, and in general, be a moral support for him, too. Eric felt better knowing our doula would know if something wasn’t right. Doctors and nurses are in and out, but a doula never leaves your side. Because we had a doula, Eric was able to be a wonderful, calm support to me during labor.
Bonus reason: you want someone to take pictures of your birthing process
Our doula offered to take pictures during my labor, and many doulas will do the same. I am thankful I have those pictures to look back on, even if most of them aren’t suitable for the public eye. ;)
Wondering how to find a doula in your area? I used this website!
Did you use a doula for your birth? Are you thinking about using one in the future? I would love to know your thoughts!