What the heck is a doula? That was my question too when my midwife mentioned it to me during my first pregnancy. I have only recently learned about doulas myself and want to do what I can to help other families know that this option is out there!
Doula is a greek word that means woman servant. Practically, a doula provides non-medical personal support and encouragement for women in labor. She’s like a birth companion. A cornerstone that never leaves your side. Our doula was Tara Gomez. We used Tara for both our first labor (Ella) and our second labor (Avery). You pay a small fee and her services included 2 prenatal appointments, support for the entire labor and delivery process, and one postnatal appointment. It is so worth it! Click here to visit Tara’s website.
Here is a list of my reasons for always planning to deliver with a doula!
- She is an awesome resource as you prepare for your labor and delivery! In the prenatal appointments (especially our first time around) Tara answered our questions about EVERYTHING under the sun, and it was so nice to have access to someone knowledgeable and experienced. She provided information on how to prepare well, what to expect in labor, and how we can work together as a couple.
- She can help you develop your birth plan. Not to mention figure out what in the world you want ON your birth plan! Here’s a pdf of ours: Hibiske Birth Plan #2. Use it as a resource if its helpful to you! Tara helped us with almost all the language used and what to include. We gave it to our midwife ahead of time and brought it with us to show the nurses when we arrived at the hospital.
- She can come to your house when you are ready, to help coach and support you in early labor. During labor Tara was able to help me find positions to rest in the beginning and to make the contractions more effective throughout.
- She will help you know when its time to go to the hospital, and help you labor at home as long as possible if that is what you prefer. Who wants to arrive at the hospital way too early?
- She is a huge support for husbands. My first labor was so long that there were times David needed to go eat, or to the bathroom, or to step out for a breather. She was there with me. She didn’t take over David’s role but encouraged him in leading me through the process.
- She will help you understand what is happening during your labor. Often moms have to make decisions or are urged to make decisions they don’t fully understand during labor. Your doula is there to help you interpret what is happening and make your own decision about what to do.
- She is available for a postnatal appointment. She can answer questions, including help with breastfeeding (which was very challenging for me the first time!) and adjusting to life with a newborn. She is also able to debrief the labor with you from a knowledgeable perspective, which is something I found extremely helpful for both of my labors.
Our decision to hire a doula is one of the biggest reasons why both our labors (though very challenging) were such pleasant experiences. Labor and delivery aren’t just about the physical experience of birthing a baby. These memories are part of your family and will go with you. I would not hesitate to encourage you to do what you can to have the support you need. We do not ultimately have control and things may not go as anticipated, but having a doula make it more likely that you will have the birth experience that you want.
People have babies all the time without a doula. But for me, now that I’ve done it twice with one, I see such a huge benefit with a relatively low cost that I will never have another baby without one. It is so worth it! I’ll say it again. We are talking about your family expanding and bringing life into the world. It is so worth it! What better to spend your money on?
Here are a few pics of Tara in action. This is the real deal folks 🙂 Don’t worry, I censored them first!