(I had a request for a post on doulas, and though I think they are fantastic, have even been one a few times, I just don't feel qualified to post about them. This fantastic mama- and fellow blogger, said I could share her post so here it is. I love her perspective and I often tell students in my class that even though dad is well trained after a great childbirth class, a good doula can make the experience better for everybody. Enjoy! You can check out the original post here.)
Can I first just say how unbelievably excited I am to finally have a platform where I can share everything I’ve learned in the last few years about childbirth, breastfeeding and cloth-diapering (yes, we’ll get to those last two topics eventually)! I don’t claim to be an expert in these areas but I have spent a considerable amount of time researching them, and hope to offer insight to those that may come across my blog. I also hope to learn more from the moms that decide to hang out at my blog, so please, post your comments so we may all learn from each other. And check out the pureMotherhood Facebook page where I’ll be posting links to articles and other sites I think you’ll like, and where we can discuss all things related to Motherhood.
So, on to the topic of this post, Doulas! As I mentioned in my previous post, I spent a lot of time on the Babycenter Birth Boards when I was pregnant with my first baby. Doulas were high on the recommendation list of those who had had natural births in a hospital. I was a little put off by the word doula at first (I was thinking mystical and Hippie) and I am NOT that type. Thankfully I found out that Doula is an ancient Greek term and just means “a woman who serves” or “mothering the mother”. So it wasn’t anything *mystical* but I was still pretty sure they were just a bunch of hippie chicks.
Despite my reservations, I decided that if I was going to do the natural birth thing, I was going to need one. I told my husband. He flipped. Seriously. He told me I had gone off the deep end with all this natural birthing stuff and wasn’t about to have anyone else in the birthing room with us. The biggest fight of our (then) 8 year marriage ensued. I kid you not. It wasn’t yelling and screaming but it did last at least 24 hours and lingered for another week. (I have his permission to tell this story, and it turns out good, but you have to hear the bad to appreciate the ending.)
In God’s providence, through a set of unusual circumstances, Brian (my husband) finally agreed to interview a doula (or as he affectionately calls them, a doo-wop, because he can’t remember the word doula) I had found through DONA (Doulas of North America). I chose her because of the mission and Bible verse displayed on her website, Birth By Design: “We believe that birth is a natural process and is a gift given to a woman by her Creator. With tender and nurturing support, the woman in labor has the unique opportunity to be an active participant in the birth of her child.” (The verse is Psalm 139:14.) I was pretty sure she was a Christian and thought that might bode well for me in convincing Brian we needed her.
Sure enough, she showed up to our house and started talking about how she really likes to incorporate faith in her births. She was indeed a Christian. My husband was won over almost immediately. She spent several hours at our house that night and when she left we both were certain she would be a part of our first child’s birth.
To say she was invaluable to us is an understatement, if it can be.
First, she helped me locate an OB/GYN who was a proponent of natural childbirth. To some this might seem like a crazy statement, but believe me, they are few and far between (I will have an entire post related to this issue in the near future – probably more than one). If you want more info now, I highly recommend watching The Business of Being Born.
Second, she provided us with WAY more information about labor and delivery than will ever be taught in a hospital birthing class. And it was in the comfort of our own home, where we could ask as many questions as we wanted (that was a 4 hour visit – THANK YOU JULIE)!
Third, the pictures she took during the labor and delivery were perfect. And the birth story she put together for us is such a treasure.
Fourth, the support during my LONG 33.5 hour labor was wonderful. She not only supported me, she supported Brian (and held the puke bucket when the vibration from the whirlpool was just too much for my laboring body to handle).
Wanna know what Brian said after it was all over? I would have paid her 5x as much. And he was all about hiring her again for the birth of our second baby.