WHAT is a Doula? This is SUCH a common question and it is extremely valid because not everyone understands what a Doula does or even is! A Doula is a certified and trained support person. We help during pregnancy, labor, delivery and even postpartum! We are ONLY here for support we are never a replacement UNLESS you have nobody and need someone then we step in. But we are ultimately here for support, guidance, encouragement, education if you need it and companionship.
What does a Doula DO? A Doula is a badass. Not kidding. Not trying to toot my horn but toot. It. Is. WORK. BUT it is amazing, exhausting, REWARDING work. We spend hours and even days helping you gain the knowledge and confidence to have the most amazing birth possible. NOW. Sometimes birth just doesn't go our way and that is OKAY. But the important thing a Doula does is help you feel empowered and educated throughout the entire journey so when you do give birth, REGARDLESS of how it went. You felt great about it. We offer knowledge, phone support, education, physical support as far as massage goes, lactation support, help during the postpartum period and so much more. Our ULTIMATE goal is to make sure you feel amazing and educated once your baby is born and beyond.
Will I need a Doula if I have a doctor? Absolutely. A doctor or a midwife is the primary provider to help you have your baby. A doula is just a bonus support person to help you before, during and after. A doula offers ZERO medical support. That is not our job. We know our job and place and it is to help you emotionally and sometimes even physically if need be.
What are the advantages of having a Doula during labor and beyond? Oh there are SO many benefits! I always go in with the "do what you have to do for you" mindset. Having a doula doesn't mean you plan on having a one or the other type of birth. If you want meds. Get the meds. If you want to bottle feed. Bottle feed. If you want to labor at home as long as you can and go in and have your baby on all fours without pain meds, let's go for it. If you want a scheduled c section from the beginning and need a ton of support LET'S DO THIS. The main advantage of having a Doula is to have that extra support person to help you gain knowledge and educate yourself so you are prepared for literally any situation that can happen before and after you give birth. One of the biggest advantages to having a birth support person is your chances of NEEDING a cesarean section drops by 50% and labor length drops by 25%. That is amazing! It has been proven time and time again that having positive and supportive support people eases anxiety and makes the birthing person feel more relaxed even when in painful situations.
What about the partner? The role of a Doula is to help the partner and birthing person feel connected, empowered and to help them support each other while you support them. Consider it one big happy support group. Sometimes there just isn't a partner and that is okay. It happens. We help however we can. I always help the partner feel connected to the birthing person. It is REALLY hard to know what to do when you aren't the one physically experiencing everything. Communication, education, asking them "HOW can I help YOU" is the biggest thing I help the partner. This is about them. If you are a support person remember that, ASK them. This helps the partner feel emotionally connected and supportive.
How do I find the right Doula for me and my family? Interview. You are NOT going to connect with every single person you meet. You are giving birth to a baby. or BABIES. The connection between you and your potential support people is crucial. You need to connect, vibe, be on the same page and have FULL respect of each other. I have always been a "get along with everyone type" HOWEVER, there have been times where the connection just wasn't AS solid as I had hoped for. Speak up. If you meet up with a Doula and you just aren't FEELING it. Say hey. You know THANK YOU for taking the time to meet but I just feel that we are going to keep interviewing. Do NOT ghost someone. It sucks. Just be honest. I would rather someone be honest with me about the connect vs just ghost me and never tell me either way. ASK THE HARD questions. Make sure they aren't going to judge you if you change your mind. If someone says "NO you said this you need to do THIS during your labor" yeah time to say no to that person. We are here for support and if you change your mind 1000 times during labor, that is your choice and we are to support you to the FULLEST. Ask questions about availability, fees, training is really important, ect. Ask ask ask.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding labor/delivery and postpartum
What if I don't want to breastfeed? Then don't breastfeed. YOUR body, YOUR baby, YOUR choices. You have to do what is absolutely best for you. NEVER let anyone make you feel bad about your choices especially when it comes to you and your child.
How can a postpartum Doula help me after giving birth? Postpartum doulas provide support while you are healing. It can be lactation support, help moving around, light housework, night feeds and changes, advocacy, self care and support, support with anxiety and depression, emotional support and more.
What if I don't want ANYONE in the room? BE HONEST. Honesty is key it sucks, but it is VERY important especially when it comes to having a child. If you don't want anyone in the room that is your choice but you have to voice that to people. If you don't want ANY visitors TELL THEM. It is okay and if someone is going to be upset with you that is on them, this is your birth and your experience.
What is the golden hour after birth? It is a VERY important bonding time for you and your baby. Not only the first hour but the first 24 hours is just tiring, busy, emotional and you really need that time to spend with your baby. Once you have your baby [pending everything is okay and baby or you don't need extra help] baby will be placed RIGHT on you where you will start to connect. You will get skin to skin which is VERY important as they need to smell you, it helps with their blood temp and more. You will work on latch if you choose to breastfeed and you will also deliver the placenta right after they are born. It is okay not to have any visitors and take the time to spend with your new baby and your partner.
How will I know when I am in labor? This CAN be tricky but I always tell people just to trust their gut. Sometimes you will go in knowing THIS IS IT and it isn't but even if it isn't and you go in that is okay! You have to trust your body and I would rather be wrong instead of waiting because I just don't know if it is really time and I don't want to be wrong and then giving birth in a car instead. I always like the 5-1-1 rule. Five minutes apart, ONE minute long for ONE hour. You can even do 3-1-1 but remember labor can be different for everyone and FEEL different for everyone. Labor at home for a while then head in, or go in right away. Trust your instinct. Labor can last days or hours.
The important thing to remember whether you are the one having a baby, wanting to have a baby or a support person. Support is everything, encouragement, distraction, love and education all goes hand in hand. You want to look back later down the road and say "yeah i felt great about my labor and birth" Even if things changed or you maybe didn't have the birth you had hoped for you still felt educated and empowered. Even if you don't have a doula or support person educate yourself, do your own research and discover what YOU want.
Remember there are DIFFERENT types of Doulas. Labor and birth, Postpartum, Childbirth educators, Lactation counselors. Find what you need and make sure you connect.
If you have any questions regarding birth workers or labor, delivery or postpartum please feel free to comment or head over to the forum and create a thread!
i'm so tired of friendships that feel like a game. if you are my friend, be consistent.
Now that we really aren't allowed to hang out with people due to COVID It is clear who was a real friend and who wasn't. I hear from NOBODY and I am lonelier than ever.
It sucks being a single parent of child with a disorder, specifically for me, ODD. I am regretting being a parent. And that is a sucky feeling.