"I would love to hire a doula BUT..."

“…I’m planning on an epidural/cesarean section and doulas are only for natural birthers.”

              This couldn’t be further from the truth. A doula’s job is to provide education as well as continuous physical and emotional support. Last time we checked, support and judgment are two entirely different things. Every woman and family have a different set of goals and ideals when it comes to their birth experience. We are there to inform and empower. We are there to work with your birth team and help you process risks, benefits and alternatives when it comes to potential interventions and medical techniques. We are there so that when you walk away from your birth experience, you look back with a sense of pride instead of feelings of confusion or overwhelm.

              Whether you wish for a completely natural birth experience null of medical interventions or you have decided an epidural or other intervention is best for you, we are there to guide you through it all and we are saddened that this misconception exists.

“…my husband is afraid the doula will overshadow his role in our birth experience.”

              One thing we always make a point to discuss with our potential clients at consults is that it is not our role to push dad aside, but rather to help him best support his partner in their birth experience. Sometimes this means allowing him to take a much-needed break for a nap or meal but other times it means stepping back and working on the outside looking in. If we see that the two of you are working really well together, we know that this is what keeps oxytocin flowing which progresses labor. We can do other things in the background or quietly make suggestions. The truth is that this is one of the most important days for the both of you. Together, you are welcoming your baby into this world and stepping into parenthood. The husband knows and loves his partner. We know and love birth. We work together to provide the laboring woman with an amazing team. We pride ourselves on being mindful of the both of you and never overstepping boundaries.

“…the cost is too high.”

              Although doula support can seem rather expensive, and is, there is good reason for this. As birth and postpartum doulas, we invest a lot of time and money into our practical training and continued education to best serve you. There is a lot of unseen background work behind doula support – on top of births and postpartum shifts, a lot of our time is spent tackling administrative work, emailing/texting/talking over the phone to answer questions at any given time, attending prenatal and postpartum appointments and driving. My goodness, the amount of driving. Living an on-call lifestyle and being available at the drop of a hat is extremely hard on both the doula and her family and for those of us that provide these services as a profession and not a part-time hobby, there are only so many clients we can take on responsibly without overbooking and doing a disservice to all involved. On top of all of this, we are mothers ourselves and due to our sporadic work schedules, child care can be difficult to find and expensive. Missing out on important family functions and holidays and attending births that well surpass our point of exhaustion (typically around 18 hours) can be tough but the passion and love for what we do coupled with proper compensation get us through and leave us wanting more.

              The birth of your child is likely the most important day of your life and leaves a lasting impact on the entire family. The postpartum period is equally, if not more important. If all you do is hire a midwife/OBGYN without even considering childbirth education, doula support, placenta encapsulation, chiropractic care, lactation support, photography, etc. – you truly are doing the bare minimum. It’s like hiring a venue for your wedding and doing nothing else. If we spent even a fraction of the amount we do on our wedding day on the birth of our children and the postpartum periods following, we would all be in much better shape in this season of life. The good thing is parents are starting to open their eyes to this, they are starting to become more informed and take back control of their birth and postpartum experiences with more education and more support.

“…my OB/midwife is enough. They will help me through labor and birth.”

              You very well may have chosen the right provider, one that is on the same page and is supportive of your wishes, but care providers (including midwives) are increasingly busy. If no interventions are necessary or asked for and you are in the low-risk category, it is common for them not to make an appearance until closer to the second stage (pushing). Research also shows that nurses are only in the room 31% of the time on average. They are often running from room to room monitoring several laboring women. It is their job to ensure both mom and baby are healthy but if they offer physical and emotional support, that is them putting in extra time and effort.

 “…I’ve read one too many stories where a hired doula is not hands on enough and therefore, not worth the cost.”

              Every industry has bad eggs and it is extremely unfortunate that any family would feel a lack of support or gain after investing in their birth and/or postpartum experience. There is a solution to this issue. Probe! Ask your potential doula specific questions to better understand exactly how they plan to enhance your experiences. If they can’t tell you, that may be a red flag but if they can provide you with various examples of what their support looks like and it fits what you are looking for, you likely won’t need to worry about this concern moving forward.