I’ve been contemplating this post for a while as I’ve thought about my previous births. With my first five children, I didn’t have a doula. Before I began working as a doula, I had heard about what a doula does, but I hadn’t thought seriously about having one. Now with the birth of my sixth child, after all my years of training and work in the birth field, I decided I wanted a doula.
That may seem strange to some. I went into this last birth more prepared than ever before. I had a feeling like I knew and understood exactly what I needed and what my body needed. My husband had always been a great support for me. So why did I want a doula, and why did I feel it was worth it?
From the beginning, I knew exactly what I wanted. Yet, I also knew that a woman, when in labor, is often not able to articulate well what those needs are or how to go about getting those needs met. I also knew that if the unexpected happened (which it quite often does), I would need someone to help me navigate my own thoughts and emotions.
When I went into labor, I did not think about these things until my doula showed up. As she came in the room I felt an immediate emotional release knowing she would be watching out just for me and my emotional state. What an wonderfully feeling of peace that brought!
One of the first moments I felt grateful for that presence was actually how she helped my husband help me. Soon after I arrived at the birth center, I began working through some contractions that were coming on stronger. I wanted to try counter pressure to see if that would help. I requested that my doula show my husband how to do it. (I had tried to explain myself before hand, but could not explain very well while I was laboring.) She was able to help me during a few contractions while doing it, and then provided assistance while my husband tried his hand at it. Having her there to help him also was extremely helpful.
That presence also served a purpose after the birth. Soon after, my doula rubbed my legs, made sure I had food and drink, and helped me relax while I was getting to know my new little one. She also made sure that I didn’t go home without meals planned and help available. The amount of peace and emotional support that I received by having a doula to attend to me was invaluable.
(This is post is part three in a series of posts.)