I was at a pregnancy and parenting event last week with some other local birth workers. Our services ran quite a spectrum: labor & birth doulas, postpartum doulas, abortion & bereavement doulas, lactation specialists, placenta encapsulators...SO. MANY. BIRTH NERDS.
We had a number of people stop by our booth to chat and learn more about what we do. It probably seemed a little overwhelming. It was lot of information for even me to take in!
Over the course of the four hours I was manning our booth, I think the most surprising thing we heard was, "Oh, I can't have a doula because I'm giving birth in a hospital." My face probably said what I was thinking. "WHAT?!?! Who TOLD you that?!"
Here's the thing:
Doulas are here to support every conceivable style of birth. I want you to feel confident and supported in every choice you make throughout your pregnancy, no matter what. It's not my job to make choices for you. You can ask me all the questions and we'll work together to come up with the answers and solutions that best suit the needs of you and your family. "So what would keep me from having a doula?"
Not hiring one. That's the simplest answer. The only thing keeping you from hiring a doula is you! There's not really anyone that can tell you no. Even during the height of the COVID crisis, doulas were STILL in demand and were needed more than ever! And while we weren't allowed into the birthing space for quite some time, many of us adjusted and started offering virtual doula services. It's a lot of Facetime and a lot of phone time between your parter and me...talking them through all the things I would do and say if I was right there beside you. "I'm having a c-section, so I can't have a doula."
That's not exactly true either. Having a c-section - whether it's planned or not - can seem really overwhelming. Doulas are literal professionals at managing your stress levels and emotional wherewithal. Even if we're not allowed in theatre for the actual surgery, we are almost always allowed to stay with you immediately after. It's very likely your baby will be sent (with your birth partner) to snuggle in your recovery room while your surgery is completed. And there's no reason for you to be alone during that time! That's where I come in. Literally. I'm there to hold your hand and talk with you and help keep you calm until you're reunited with your new baby.
No matter where, when, or how you give birth, there's a doula out there who's a perfect fit for your team. When you start interviewing potential doulas, ask us all the questions. Nothing is off limits when it comes to talking birthy to a doula!
The birth you want to have? That's the birth I'm ready to support.
Micah is a birth doula.& photographer and a prenatal yoga instructor based in Fort Worth, TX.