Doulas back me up
It's nice to know that someone else is also giving my students information that will support them having a normal birth. When I share the benefits of upright birth or the possible drawbacks of heading to your birth place in early labor... it definitely helps to have a doula sharing the same information. We might not all teach the exact same thing, but the doulas I know all believe that birth is normal, and mom can do it... and that means something to me.
Doulas add a different perspective
Two people can share the same information and for some reason one delivery might stick with you. Maybe the way I described vocalizations just didn't click with you, but the way your doula shared the information did. Or maybe when I was talking about positions to alleviate back labor you were daydreaming about nachos. We've all been there. You are in my class for 25 hours, you wont connect with or remember everything I say, and I'm ok with that. Fortunately your doula is there to fill in those gaps.
Doulas have first hand experiences
I have not attended dozens or hundreds of births the way a doula has. What I teach is important. A doula cannot provide the level of in depth education that my students are getting in class, but it can be really nice to have a doula to share what she has experienced in your birth place or with your provider. She knows where the ice packs are kept, which nurses are going to be most supportive, and how to get you unhooked from the monitors when you need to pee.
Doulas help you decide when head to your birth place
Though we cover this topic in class, when you are in active labor, your focus will be on labor. You probably wont remember how far apart contractions should be and you might not notice that the sounds you are making are getting louder and deeper and it's time to head out. Or maybe, even though you planned to stay home to postpone hospital interventions, those first twinges are making you nervous and without someone there to tell you that you are ok and everything is normal, you may head to your birth place too soon. A doula's expertise at that time can be invaluable. A chipper "Hey, we are headed to the hospital! Yay!" post from mom on social media always makes me nervous. I appreciate knowing a doula will help you head to your birth place at a time that supports your desired birth experience.
Doulas are there when shit gets real
At some point in labor you are probably going to look up at whoever is next to you and say "I can't do this," or at least think it. I've done it at each of my 4 births. So when that moment comes for my students, I always hope that the person they are looking at says, "you did an amazing job with that contraction, you ARE doing this," and not "want me to get the anesthesiologist?" If mom is looking at her partner, he might be able to say "you are doing great" but he doesn't have the credibility that a doula has. A doula knows what "doing great" looks like and what "we might need to change things up" looks like. Moms figure this out in labor. I wont be there to remind you that you've got this, but I can breathe easy knowing your doula will.
Doulas provide real time information
In the midst of contractions and concern for your baby you might be struggling to remember the pros and cons of cytotec vs pitocin that you learned in class. Your doula is there to remind you of that information so that you can make the right decision for you... and hopefully she will also remind you about nipple stimulation and encourage you to squat through some contractions to maybe kick things up without medications.
Doulas involve the partner
Sometimes in class partners are all "I've so got this birth thing!" and then at the birth they are all "oh shit." Even the most enthusiastic partner might freeze on birthing day, and that's ok! Having a doula means she will help make your partner feel comfortable and get him involved in ways he expressed he would like to be at your prenatal appointments with her. Your nurse has not met your partner (or you) and might not know that frozen in the hospital corner was not what he envisioned for the birth, and he just needs a little encouragement.
Doulas provide gentler breastfeeding support
The breastfeeding support mothers receive in hospitals is sometimes not patient, or gentle, and is not always accurate. Moms sometimes contact me after a hospital birth overly worried about proper latches, positions, supply, schedules and ready to give up on breastfeeding altogether... and I wish that their nurse had spent more time building mom's confidence and less time covering the cross cradle hold (seriously, who cares what it's called). Just as a doula may trust normal birth more than a medical professional, she probably trusts your ability to breastfeed more also. Many of the doulas in my area have received more training in lactation support than your average nurse. So while you will be set up for breastfeeding success when you finish my class, I still hope you will have gentle, knowledgeable support right there the first time your breastfeed.
After completing 10 weeks of childbirth education together, I am confident that my students' have all the information they need to have an amazing birth. However, even as an experienced childbirth educator, I had doulas at my 3rd and 4th births, I should have had a doula at my 1st and 2nd, and I will hire a doula for my 5th. Just having information is not enough. The environment you put yourself in and the team you surround yourself with is just as important. So this is my thank you to the doulas in my community who support Monterey county women. You are the best, thank you for the sacrifices you make, and you make this anxious educator a little less anxious.
Thank you <3
the Monterey Doula doulas