'' Never underestimate the power and determination of a pregnant woman who is told she cannot.'' - Desirre Andrews
A doula, do you really need it?
Here is in my opinion, why it is necessary; yes, I think it is important to have a doula, if nothing else to be well educated / informed in order to live a pregnancy according to our desires, a childbirth according to our values and principles and live a serene post-natal.
Here are some comments I often hear:
1. Everyone gives birth at the hospital and that's fine!
Yes, it is true most women give birth at the hospital and have a good experience, nevertheless I ask you, ''Why not live childbirth according to your needs, your values, your principles and your expectations?''
You can do it all at the hospital, in a birthing home or in the comfort of your home (if the pregnancy is not at risk you have the doctor / midwife's approval).
The goal is to be comfortable, confident and safe in everything you feel and in everything your body tells you.
Do animals go to the veterinarian every time they give birth?
No, they have the instinct to listen to their body. Yes, I know the comparison to animals can be a little exaggerated, but, we too, we have those same instincts.
We live in a society that dictates us not to listen to our instincts but our body tells us differently. Our body tells us when we are afraid, hurt, happy, ... Therefore, it will tell us the same thing during labor, if you listen carefully, this will allow you to live the childbirth experience in harmony (obviously if everything is fine with you and baby).
Of course sometimes emotions can take over, but, when you are well informed and well prepared, we are able make a team with your emotions, your body and of course your baby.
2. My mother gave birth at the hospital, my aunt gave birth at the hospital and they had no problem.
Yes, this is true, they may not have had any problems or issues. The difference is that, thirty years ago, nurses could assist couples throughout the whole birth. Unfortunately nowadays, nurses have multiple rooms to look after at the same time, and that means they can not stay with you every step of the way, every wave of contraction.
Hence the need to be well informed, well guided to live all the emotions and the physical and mental process of labor in serenity. Fifty years ago, the entire village joined in to the pregnant woman's home, they were there to help, support and guide her in this process. It is now through the passion of a doula that you can get the feeling of the village's help.
3. I will be in the hospital so they will know what to do.
Yes also true, they will know what to do however there are many protocols that are not always necessary.
When you have a flu do you take tylenol, advil, motrin, benadryl, all possible products at the same time? No, you only take the medication according to what you need. This is the same for the protocols regarding labor, simply the necessary protocols should be given.
Nurses work according to the requests, but also always in the frame of their deontology. Here is where it is important to have a birthing plan. It allows you to discuss your values, expectations and desires (in the birthing plan, there are several avenues depending on the progress in active labor).
A fear has been settled not to say (not to speak), or not to ask questions once at the hospital. We tell ourselves, ''They will do what is necessary, so I should just follow''.
How can a doctor, a nurse, know what your body feels? Yes, they can sense it according to your movements, your noises, their experiences but they can not feel it. Only you can feel it, you are your best guide. You must feel save to share aloud without fear of judgment or fear of not receiving the required medical help.
If something is suggested, ask what it is?, is it really necessary?, can we wait a little?, what is the maximum time before having to do it? Tell them that you and your partner want to have a few minutes to think about it before making your decision.
4. Being pregnant changes nothing in my life, my routine is the same!
Time goes by so fast that we do not take the time to enjoy the changes, to understand what is happening in our body and what our baby is telling us. We continue with our routine, we go to the hospital as if we were sick and needed to be 'cured' and then we return home to what we believe to be our routine.
Unfortunately, it is not the case ; the body and the hormonal system have changed during pregnancy. Your body has lived according to some a 'traumatic' experience and to others the natural process of birth. Your baby must tame all the new sounds, movements, colors, feelings that can be traumatic for him/her.
Your routine is never the same again. Your sleeping habits, your appetite, your tastes, your desires, your impulses have changed. It is important to understand these changes, to integrate them and to accept them.
After labor, the woman's body may look or feel different, which can create a 'gap' in the couple. It is important to remember that you are a woman first, second a wife and that you are now a mother. You must take time for yourself, for your couple.
You must also be able to ask for help. Families/friends want to help us so they come in the first few weeks or so but it's after 1-2 months that mommy really needs the help. It is important not to be afraid to ask for that help, not to feel guilty or inadequate.
It takes a whole village to raise a child and it is not because we live in a consumption society that we must forget the importance of the village's support.
5. I have my partner, (and / or my mother) so I do not need more.
Yes you are right. You may not 'need' more. On the other hand, your partner may think that he / she does need more (help, support, guidance). It is possible that he (she) does not verbalize but he (she) feels uncertain and afraid to not know what to do.
Yes, but if he/she does not know what to do, my mother will be there. Perfect, one more person to help you, great! For her, it's been more than 25-30 years that she has given birth. Perhaps her experience has been more or less good. Maybe seeing her daughter in this situation will make her feel helpless or very emotional.
A doula guides the partner and / or the mother during these moments. We have a beautiful box of amazing helpful tools; exercises, movements, breaths, massage techniques and much more. We do not take a lot of place or someone's else place, we are an invisible little angel that is present if needed. Our commitment is according to your needs, your wish and desires from our presence.
So, here is why, in my opinion, a doula is a plus. A doula aids you, guides you (without pushing their own values or principles), accompanies you during the pregnancy and the postnatal follow-ups. There are several options available to you, prenatal classes, birth attendance or help once at home.
Meeting with a doula commits you to nothing more than a nice friendly exchange. Then, if you are 'called' to be accompanied during this superb new experience, it will be a great pleasure to share my passion with you.
* This text is always in a context of pregnancy at no risk. It is important to follow the doctor's recommendations if there is a problem.
***last note: What i wish is for every woman to live the birthing experience in consciousness, confidence, gentleness, intimacy, respect and mosdt of all love!