Why I Hired a Doula
Hi, I'm Ashley, and I'm a doula, so of course I'm going to tell you that doulas are awesome and everyone should have one (cue Oprah: “you get a doula, and you get a doula, and you get a doula, everyone gets a doula!”). There are a ton of articles on why doulas are worth their weight in gold (just do a quick google search for "should I hire a doula?"), so let's shake things up a bit and let me tell you why I, as a doula, chose to hire a doula for my own birth:
Doulas support the birth partner, too
In my case, that would be my husband. I know birth. I've been around birth, I'm comfortable with birth, and even before having children of my own or supporting others in their births I was pretty educated on all things birthy. My husband, on the other hand, is not (understatement of the year, by the way). And it can be hard to watch someone you love be in pain, and not necessarily know how to comfort them, or support them, or to know what's normal and what's not. A doula can fill in the gaps, and support the birth partner while they support you. They can reassure both you AND your partner, and provide encouragement and love where needed. A doula is not just your birth bestie, but also your partner's.
Another reason I chose to hire a doula:
I know how having continuous birth support can positively affect outcomes
…and this was important to me. I know what kind of birth I wanted to have, and I knew that having a doula - even though I am one myself - gave me the best chance at having my birth preferences fulfilled. I want to stress that my birth preferences were nothing outlandish, but as you'll see from the infographic below, doulas can positively impact all aspects of birth outcomes. How can you argue with these statistics (that are backed up by science!?)
These were the two biggies for my own decision to hire a doula, but let me throw a few more things out there for consideration if you're still on the fence:
Doulas are a walking encyclopedia of pregnancy and birth knowledge.
I hear questions that begin with "is this normal?" a lot from pregnant people. Hell, I've asked this question to myself during my own pregnancy. Your doula will meet with you and your partner before birth to discuss different options you have, questions you have that are relevant to your unique circumstances, go over language you may hear in the birth room so you know what to expect, and talk about different comfort measures available. More than that though, we're available to answer questions before and after these meetings. So if something comes up, shoot me a text, and if I don't have the immediate answer I can guarantee that I know where to find the evidence-based information you need to make an informed decision.
Doulas are also like walking birth plans
Don't want to write a formal plan for your team? No problem. We discuss your options before birth, and if anything comes up during your birth I'm there to help you weigh out the benefits, risks, and alternatives so you can feel empowered in your decisions.
Doulas work for you
We provide unbiased, non-judgemental support, no matter what your preferences or choices are. My only agenda when walking into a birth is to help you in whatever way I can to get the best possible birth experience according to your wants and desires, whatever those may look like.
Doulas will support you after your birth, too
By far one of the scariest things I've ever done is bring my newborn home and be solely responsible for keeping them alive. Once the dust has settled after birth it's not unusual to feel a sense of "oh shit, what have I done?" once you realize you're the adult now. Doulas can help with the transition to parenthood by offering resources, support, breastfeeding help (if that's your thing), or just an ear if you need to get something off your chest. And I'm not just talking about postpartum doulas, who can help over an extended postpartum period. As your birth doula I visit you and your new baby within the first week of birth to see how things are going, but I'm also available by phone, email, or text for well after that, so if you need something you know that you have someone you can turn to for advice, resources, or just to be reminded that you're doing awesome at this new parenting thing (even if it's not your first time around!)
If you're interested in learning more about how I may be able to help you during your pregnancy and birth, contact me - I'd love to hear from you!