Doula doula whata? That was me, five months pregnant with SuperBoy. My childhood girlfriend (Hi, Andrea!) happened to hang out with me and catch up after a few years apart and mentioned a mutual childhood friend (Hi, Emily!) was a doula. Oh. That’s nice.
Her description sealed the deal for me: “a woman who helps you through labor.” Sealed as in, no thanks. I got this. My husband is smart and very sweet. He’s got this. We will just roll on into the hospital and have this baby, just like in the movies. Why would I want an old friend there? That’s just weird.
It wasn’t until a little later in pregnancy that we chatted with other friends who had . . . wait for it . . . done Bradley Method classes and wait again . . . a midwife! I was again, so surprised and confident that we didn’t need methods or classes. We were signed up for the hospital classes. They’d tell us everything, right?
Wrong again. Fast forward. Doulas at every birth. Bradley Method self-taught. Huge pushers of the Bradley Book and the Big Book of Birth. We’re like evangelizers for natural childbirth. Natural as in, no interventions or only as needed. Woe to those pregnant friends who were lured to our house for dinner. They always leave with a few books, a few enthusiastic chats about vaginas and cervixes and doulas. Poor friends.
I wrote about our changing perspective and conversion on this topic for What to Expect.com’s blog, including a focus on how it changed for my husband. It’s published here.
Okay, you get the picture. We’re converts to the natural way of birthing and laboring and parenting. We’re like any convert. Hard core. Some of the zeal has worn off over time, three kids, and the reality that this style isn’t the best fit for everyone. Judgers gonna judge and I promise. PROMISE I still love and respect you as a mom if you never wanted med-free labor.
I just wish every mom had a quick introduction to pros & cons of it so she was making an informed decision. If I hadn’t happened to fall down this rabbit hole, I never would have known there to be such a thing as childbirth education classes, lactation consultants, co-sleeping, doulas, or extended nursing. Sorry, it’s just not mainstream enough. Or portrayed as weird in the mainstream.
How can we be truly empowered in our own bodies and know and trust ourselves if we’re not given information, credible, trusted, scientific, cultural information? It saddens me that so many of us, me included, had no clue about how our bodies really worked (ovulation, fertility, labor, nursing) unless we had really knowledgeable and open parents, an unusual health class in school, or wonderful childbirth education centers who support the journey to familyhood.
See, for example, my wonderful sponsors from the natural childbirth & parenting world. Almost all are woman-owned, and if not, couple-owned. They’ve been with me now for almost 3 years, many of them! That’s what you see to the right —>!
Back to doula’ing. Five months postpartum with BabyLoves (my wonderful birth but terrible recovery that still lingers), I was asked if I’d have a doula again. I mean, AA is practically a pro by now and truly a wonderful labor coach. I didn’t even blink.
One from the archives on why you need a doula.
This time around I had TWO doulas, a nurse, a midwife, and my husband. All hanging with me while I labored. When we moved to the birth tub at the hospital from my normal room, the sun was flooding in with its midmorning glow. The birth mix was humming in the background. We were laughing, chatting, and loving this baby out. Not that I couldn’t have equally loved him out with just AA there (and obvo medical staff), but DANG it felt good to be with my girls. And their support for AA is as tangible as their support for me.
This photo up top, Liz, AA, and me in the birth tub? Emily snapped it. It was a team effort. Thank goodness for doulas and if you want my more eloquent and focused listed out reasons for them, see that archived link. It’s been a rough month with more postpartum healing so my brain isn’t quite snapped together :)