I hired a doula for the births of both of my children. While I didn’t start my own doula training until after my 2nd baby was born, I would absolutely hire a doula if I were to have another. While I know birth, trust birth, and have a wealth of tools and ideas for coping with sensations during the birth process, it’s different to be the one experiencing it. I won’t be in my doula brain space when I’m in labor, and I shouldn’t be. I need to go to that sacred, foggy birthing space within. I won’t be present to sift through options the way that I am for my clients. Because of this, I know that my partner and I would have a much more satisfying experience with the support of a doula.
When I think back to my pregnancy and labor with my 2nd child, my doula’s presence and support is a fiber that’s woven through every step of that journey. Here are some of the things I remember:
1. She reassured me. She came to one of my appointments with me during my pregnancy. It was later in my pregnancy and at that appointment the midwife discovered that my baby still hadn’t turned head-down. This was devastating for me because my first child was breech, leading to a cesarean birth. In that moment, my doula’s presence with me was vital. She told me that I still had plenty of time and helped me realize that this pregnancy didn’t necessarily have to end like my first. She gave me resources and ideas to help encourage him to move. She was instrumental in helping me move past this point of fear and focus on being proactive and positive. And he eventually did turn!
2. She knew how I felt better than anybody else in my life. I specifically searched for a doula who had experienced a VBAC herself because I needed somebody who could empathize with the additional challenges of pursuing a VBAC.
3. She helped me push past uncertainty and fear. During labor, when I couldn’t decide if I should keep walking to help labor progress or if I should rest because I was so dreadfully tired, she said, “You have trusted your body this entire pregnancy and labor and it’s doing exactly what it needs to do. Keep trusting your body.” With this simple response, she gave me permission to rest for a while between contractions and gather the energy I would need for later.
4. She believed in me. It was crystal clear that she knew I could have this VBAC. Her confidence in me never wavered.
5. She supported my partner so he could support me. My labor was long and it spanned the course of an entire day and night. My doula’s presence allowed my partner to nap for a while, which I know he wouldn’t have done if she hadn’t been there. I needed him to rest so he could be alert and supportive when it was time for me to do the hardest work of pushing my baby out.
This doula support would be just as beneficial to me now, even having the training, skills, and experience that I have. It’s hard to imagine how my experience would have been different without her. I know that I would have felt more scared, uncertain, and alone. Her support has me convinced that if I ever have another child, this doula will certainly hire a doula.
What’s something your doula did for you that you’ll never forget? I’d love if it you could share some doula love in the comments!