Why hire a doula when I have a husband?
Updated: Mar 4
Husband. Wife. Partner. Mother. Friend. Fill in the blank for that sentence and it's a question that a lot of people have. "Why would I hire someone to do my spouse's job?"
When you don't have a spouse or a great support system then hiring a doula to be your support system seems more logical than when you do have a huge support system, that is simply not true though. Your spouse, family, and friends CAN and DO provide amazing support, I will never discredit that because my own sisters were HUGE in supporting the birth of my daughter. The support IS different though. Typically your friends and family aren't able to be objective or unbiased when their loved one is giving birth. They often don't understand your decisions if they aren't the same as what they chose for their own births, or they aren't educated in the complete physiology of birth. So much information regarding birth has changed in the last few years, and they may not have the most up to date or evidence based information to provide you with, usually you just get opinions. Obviously this is generalized and not true for every single case, but it definitely is for most. A doula is a trained professional who has spent countless hours and money on their education to provide their clients with the most up to date and helpful information and resources available. We provide unbiased and nonjudgmental support for any decisions that you make, and give you the knowledge to make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Birth isn't one size fits all, so the support is customized to fit your needs.
If your spouse wants to be really hands on for your support then we facilitate that relationship and show them different tips and tricks on how to provide the care you need. Whether it be a gentle touch, a firm massage, or even help with your basic needs we are there to guide them in being your rock. Our objective is not to ever replace them, but to show how they can best support you through this journey. We are also there to step in when they need to step out to update family, use the restroom, or any number of other things. Our presence ensures that you aren't ever alone... Unless you want to be. So while yes it may be your spouse's "job" to support you through the birth of your child, you need to ask "are they actually equipped to do that job?" A doula will make sure that the answer to that question is YES!
If you are birthing in a hospital then another question you may have is "won't my nurses do that?" The answer is yes and no. I LOVE L&D nurses, I spend a lot of time with them caring for their patient and my client. The work they do is phenomenal and we have some pretty incredible ones here in ETX. Your nurses will help with a wide number of things such as bringing ice chips, helping you to turn, bringing a peanut ball, helping you to the rest room, bringing pain medications, etc. I could go on all day here. The thing about your nurse though is that he/she will have other patients, and other births. They won't be a constant presence in the room to calm you, and you may have to wait for the things requested if they are busy. Having a doula who works with your nurses means that they can step in and provide (some) of those things. (Any medications, cervical checks, or other medical procedures should NEVER be performed or provided by your doula, and I mean ever.) Your doula will only have you to focus on so those needs can be met immediately, and you will have a constant source of knowledge to help you feel safe, and to mange any pain or discomforts. So while yes your nurse can be a source of comfort, they won't be able to do it constantly. They will be spread between multiple patients and have to balance the monitoring and well being of more than just you. As a doula I work hard to facilitate a good relationship with all of your medical staff so that together we can provide you will the best support possible.
Things can change rapidly in birth and you may be presented with different options but little explanation. A doula can help you understand what is happening, why, and what questions you may want to ask. They will be there to provide you with the knowledge and support you read about in all those pregnancy books, but may forget when labor starts. It is never our job to make a decision for you or to sway your decision in anyway, we are only there to guide you in making that decision by offering our knowledge and support. A doula is right there with the knowledge and the plan that you created together to be a steady system of support.
After all this talk of why you would want to add a doula to your team lets cover a few other questions you may have.
When should I hire a doula?
Really any time is the right time, but I always say the sooner the better. You will have longer to facilitate a strong relationship with them, and you will have that amazing support sooner. Doulas often have significant fees due to their extensive knowledge, training, the time spent building relationships with medical providers and learning the ins and outs of the local birth facilities, and the time spent at the actual birth with you. This is another topic I could go on and on about but basically, doulas are 100% worth their fees and often times will offer payment plans.
How do I find a doula?
The internet is a fantastic way to search for doulas local to you. Go to your favorite search engine and type "doula (area)" and search through who comes up! Example "doula East Texas" would be a good way to find someone in the East Texas area. I wouldn't solely rely on the first one or two results though because it can also pop up results for birth centers in the area, and there may be a lot of options! Contact several and pick who would be the best fit for you. You can also check out doulamatch.com for a list of those in your area. Checking birth groups or local mom groups is another great way to find a doula. Last but not least is word of mouth! Ask your friends and family who they used and loved, or even who to steer clear of.
What if I KNOW I want the epidural?
You can still benefit from having a doula! There are many, many things that a doula can do to provide support even with the use of an epidural or other pain medications. Birth is not just a physical process, it is very much an emotional one as well. While an epidural can remove some of the physical pain, it doesn't remove any emotional distress that you might be in. A doula can be a calming presence and help you work through and fears or anxiety you may have. Movement during labor becomes a lot harder with the epidural because you will be numb from the waist down. A doula can help with changing positions, and supporting your lower half when you can't yourself. The list of things that a doula can provide a client who choses to have an epidural is a long one!
I won't stray too far from the original point with question after question that many have answered before, but I think those are definitely worth the mention.
It is every woman's right to choose her birthing team and to include or exclude ANYONE, family or doulas alike. I believe in educating yourself and I know that you are strong enough, educated enough, and more than capable of birthing your baby without the help of a doula. All that matters is whoever is on your team is there to support and guide you 100%, and that you are comfortable and feel safe. If you have access to a doula though, if you are able to enhance your support team to get that one of a kind personalized support... Wouldn't you want to?
For more information on the services that East Texas Birth Co provides you can send an email, make a call, or check out the Facebook page.