When we were expecting our first baby I didn't hesitate about working with a doula. I'd clearly never given birth and Nate knew little about the process so I thought, let's have someone there who can really focus on just us. I also wanted to have an un-medicated birth and thought having someone there to advocate for me and help with my positioning and physical comfort could guide me in the process of birthing a babe. Doula hired, best decision. What I didn't expect was how invaluable she would be in ways unrelated to actually getting the baby out! So, here are my top three reasons (that aren't related to active labor and delivery) to have a doula:
Your doula will be connected!
My doula was a "know how to get things" woman and she was connected to resources and the local community. My doula told me where in town to buy loose leaf pregnancy tea and she gifted me my first batch. She had a library of super informative videos showing women labor and their comfort techniques. She told me about local babywearing groups and meet-ups for breast feeding mamas. She knew everything! Sure, I could have researched and found all the info she shared, but she had it at her fingertips and since I trusted her, I trusted her referrals.
Your doula can be extra arms to hold your baby.
My husband and I decided to just have the two of us, and our doula, present for our daughter's birth. It was lovely for it to be just us in the room, with our care team of course, as we became a family of three. However, thirty minutes after my daughter was born I hemorrhaged. Birth can be scary and unpredictable. Unfortunate, but true. In the flurry of some pretty scary business*, baby girl was taken off my chest as I was wheeled to an operating room. My husband followed me and our doula held our new baby girl in the delivery room. In the moment, I didn't realize how important that was. In hindsight, I'm so glad our baby was in the arms of someone who supported us throughout our pregnancy. Of course, our baby would have been exceptionally cared for in the arms of a nurse, absolutely. But it is a comfort to know our doula was there for her.
Again, your doula can be extra arms to hold your baby!
About ten days after my daughter was born our doula came over to check in on us. I was tired. Beyond tired. Hormones were off the charts. Our doula offered to hold our daughter so I could rest. Rest I did! I laid in our bed and slept for two and a half hours and it was glorious! Our doula held baby girl the entire time. I woke up a new mama and to this day that was one of the most needed and most satisfying naps of my life.
Our doula was amazing and sure, we could have done birth without her, but having her a part of the process was such a comfort to us. Friends, mamas, hire a doula! And if a doula is outside your budget, explore local doula groups for scholarships and assistance. Some hospitals even offer on-call doula support for mamas in labor. Ask your hospital or birth center for information.
*Hey, mamas. I kind of quickly walked through the hemorrhage portion of my birth story above. Please know I do not take hemorrhaging or any form of birth trauma lightly. Birth can be scary and well, traumatizing. If you experience birth trauma, talk to a professional. I found peace by talking about the experience with my husband, doula, midwife and through journaling.