Warning: This Is Not Your Doula's Childbirth Experience
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I was a doula for 15 years, so you may think I think all doulas are sunshine and roses.
You would be wrong.
Of course, I think all women deserve the benefits that come with having a doula during labor and birth, but only if the doula fully supports what the mom wants.
You may be surprised to find out that's not always the case.
Let me share my wisdom and experience as a doula to teach you about the kind of doula you don't want to have — the kind who pushes her own agenda about birth.
The doula who thinks it's all about her
Stay away from a doula who says she only works with moms who want a natural, drug-free birth. Hear me out: Sure, if you want to forgo drugs and lots of intervention during labor and delivery, a doula skilled in natural coping techniques may be the right doula for you. But, what happens if you need an induction? A cesarean? Or, you know, you change your mind and beg for an epidural in the hospital parking lot? I haven't heard a story about a doula who got up and left a birth because Mom went the pain-free route, but you never know. Clearly, if a doula states at the get-go that she will ONLY do ANYTHING, say goodbye. The same goes for a doula who spends more time talking about her birth experience. It's not about her, it's about you.
Learn how to write a birth plan >>
The doula who is anti-epidural or anti-formula feeding
I'll never forget this phone call I received from a mom looking for a doula — she told me up front that she planned on getting an epidural and also to formula feed her baby. I thanked her for this information and asked if she wanted to set up a meeting to interview me about my labor support services. Shocked, she told me, "Wow. I've called a few doulas and you're the only one who has agreed to meet with me." Shocked, I replied, "Wow. I'm sorry to hear that."
The doula who is a dictator
A doula who tells you what to do. Yep, you read that right. A good doula should not make decisions for you. Ever. She can make suggestions and outline benefits, risks and alternatives to common procedures but it's your call. Always.
Remember, this is your pregnancy, your labor and, um, well, your baby. Your doula should be a guide, not a dictator. If she's the latter, run.
Bottom line? Take time to interview potential doulas so you can get answers to questions that are important to you and make sure she's a good fit.