Truth be told: I had four kids before I had ever even heard of a doula.
When I did hear of one, I didn't think I needed one. I mean, they were cool, but doulas weren't for my type of births. Ya know? ... Oh, naive, Susie....
So, what is a doula and how is she actually useful?
I could give you wordy definitions about support and emotional connection, comfort measures etc, etc, etc.
You would still be left scratching your head, right? Probably.
Let's break it down. Imagine this...
You get pregnant.
It could be baby 1 or baby 6. You could want a medical birth or a home birth. Whatever. This is your daydream, do it up.
During this pregnancy, you have a close friend who knows a lot about pregnancy, birth, babies, and the whole nine yards. She loves it, she's a mom herself. It's her thing.
So when a question pops in your head, randomly, you throw her a text. Or, hey, you just got an awesome ultrasound picture of baby, you text her a photo to share in the "awwwww" together. Or, ugh, pregnancy stinks sometimes so you shoot her a vent. She has an idea that might help that ailment. Cool. She's kinda your go-to. Feels good, she knows her stuff and likes to talk pregnancy as much as you do. You gab with her about the pregnancy related stuff that would bore your husband or confuse your non-childbearing friends.
As labor approaches, you guys talk about birth plans, your thoughts, and how your ideal labor would go. You trouble shoot questions together and do come up with a game plan. Feels good to be ready (or as ready as you can, if there's one thing about labor it's that it's predictably unpredictable).
When labor starts, who do you reach to call: well, duh. At first she keeps you sane and your mind in the game through the slow troughs of early labor. She gives your husband some guidelines of things that can help in the early stages too while you guys wait for labor to really amp up.
Once it's game on, she drops everything and comes to be with you and your husband through the rest of your labor. She's keeps you focused on one contraction at a time. She helps you find the most comfortable position. She's keeping your husband filled in on the status of labor and how he can help you feel better through contractions. She is there for whatever you need, whether it be a sip of water or hours of reassurance as you birth a tiny person! She knows whats normal in labor and what's not. She knows interventions and what they mean. She is completely at ease with all the sights, sounds, and scents of labor... you couldn't faze her if you tried and you are glad she's there. Pushing time approaches and she's there as you are pushed to your limit. You've got this. Baby arrives and it's all worth it. She snaps some sweet pictures of you and your husband's first moments with baby and steps back as you settle in. She sticks around long enough to make sure you are ok, and off she goes as your ride the baby-bliss high with your new little love.
A few days go by, you are released from the hospital, you get baby home and, oh goodness, this little peanut doesn't want to go down to sleep. She pops in for a visit the next day and gives some pointers and holds baby, and you gab about the birth and how it all went. Before she goes, she shows you how to swaddle baby well, clues you in on her YouTube womb noise hack, she has other tips to help baby adjust to life outside your belly.
As the first weeks go on you continue to text her questions, send her photos, and share blurbs about newborn life.
You did it. You grew, birthed, and successfully started your new life with your sweet baby. And you realize, that your friend was a huge asset. That asset, my friends, is a birth doula.
Baby Love Blog
Here lies a stream of consciousness regarding, pregnancy, birth, babies, and my doula business...