Yeah, I said it. As a doula, I’m telling you that hiring a doula for your birth is not a necessity.
What you do need is a medical professional (i.e. midwife or OB) to make sure you and your baby are healthy. Millions of people give birth and come home with a newborn and they do not hire a doula because if we’re being honest about what we have to offer, doulas are not a necessity. That is, we aren’t providing you with a basic need (food, shelter, healthcare).
Another doula recently gave me an analogy, though, that having a birth team without a doula is like having a table with three legs. It gets the job done, but why not add a forth leg for some extra support?
So, while I acknowledge that doulas are not a necessity, and I could make the argument that some families should not hire a doula in some circumstances (i.e. that money is better spent elsewhere), there are several reasons that you may want one. Here are just a few:
You’re scared or overwhelmed. A lot of people assume that this mostly includes first time parents, but second, third, fourth, etc. pregnancies can be nerve-racking for a variety of reasons. For example, I had a client whose second pregnancy had far more complications than her first, and so she was caught off guard. We also get a lot of clients that come to us because one or more of their previous births was traumatic and they wanted to avoid further trauma. Doulas offer a tremendous amount of emotional support, which can help with these situations.
You want the facts without the BS. Whether you have a healthcare provider that you can trust or not, a doula can save you a lot of time on research. You want to know the pros and cons of eating during labor? Epidurals? Pacifiers? Vaccines? We got you. Better yet, doulas may educate you on choices you didn’t even know were available to you.
You don’t want so much pressure on your partner. Partners have a lot of their shoulders during labor and when a new baby comes home. Doulas lighten the load in several ways. During labor, if your partner wants to call their mom to give an update, they don’t have to worry about leaving you alone. Also, if your partner has to go back to work relatively quickly after the birth/adoption, you’re not alone then either. Partners tend to worry at times too (which totally makes sense), so a doula can help by offering assurance on what’s normal.
Your family/friends are driving you crazy. We know you love them, but the unsolicited advice and judgement is annoying.. we get it. As doulas, we support you without judgement. No matter what your choice is regarding birth or parenting, we’re good if you’re good. We can be a good sounding board without our own agenda.
You want some extra lovin. Whether you want someone to stroke your hair as you rest between contractions or someone to chat with after three days of only speaking to your newborn, your doula is there. We love to love you.
BONUS: You want to soak in those first moments with your baby.
You want to set yourself up for success in terms of bonding with your baby and becoming a family unit. It's obvious that adding a new baby is wonderful, but humans aren't meant to do it alone. It truly takes a village. By adding a doula to your team, you're lightening your load in one way or another so you can focus on what really matters: getting excited to love on your new baby.
If you have questions about how a birth or postpartum doula can support your family, please reach out. Our support looks different for every family, and we’d be happy to make a plan with you!