I’m not giving birth. Why would I need a doula?
It’s finally here. The day your baby is being born. You’ve been working toward this day for years! You’re so excited and yet still very nervous. You want to be there for the birth but also want to be very respectful of the one who has been carrying this baby for you. But this is still the birth of your baby. You’re going to be in a highly emotional state. The medical providers are there to support the GC in making sure baby and the birthing person are okay. If the GC has a doula, that professional is there to focus on the emotional and physical support of the GC. To every professional in that room, you are secondary. Unless you have a doula for you.
Most people think of doulas as support for the person who is giving birth. But there are many kinds of doulas. Antepartum doulas, postpartum doulas, sibling doulas, bereavement doulas and abortion doulas.
There are 3 ways a doula can help you as Intended Parents.
1. Preparing for the Birth
There are many things you will have no control over. But you may be surprised what you can be a part of and the many ways to make this birth your own. A doula can discuss with you and your gestational carrier what the options are and what everyone is comfortable with.
You may have talked about general concepts in the legal process but you will want to plan for the specifics. A doula can help you navigate that conversation to make sure you and the GC have your needs and desires heard through these discussions and decisions.
A few things you will want to discuss:
When and where will you join the GC during labor?
How often will you be updated if you’re not there (and who will be doing the updating!)?
Will you be an observer or have a more hands on role?
If medical issues arise how will information be shared and discussed?
If there is a c-section who will be in the operating room?
Who will hold baby first?
Who will cut the umbilical cord?
Who will do the first feeding and how will it be done?
What newborn procedures do you want done or delayed?
2. Support during Labor and Delivery
One of the main benefits of a doula is their knowledge of the process you’re going through. Studies have shown that just having a doula present in the room during a birth improves the birth outcome. That is pretty astonishing.
A doula who is there for you, the Intended Parents, will make sure you understand what is happening in the birth. They will help you know what’s normal. They will help you with timelines. When it’s a good time to rest or eat and when it’s time to stay close because baby will arrive soon.
Doulas are there as your guide. Having a doula there for you during labor and delivery allows you to be present in your experience without needing to worry if what you’re doing is right or wrong.
3. Postpartum Transitions
Once the baby is here, you will be learning to care for your baby. Newborns really are different from every other stage of childhood and require a completely different set of skills. On top of that, you are learning who you are as a parent. A postpartum doula can help you understand your new baby’s needs and make sure you are getting the care you need during this time of transition as well. This is especially important in the first weeks when everything is so new and intense. With a newborn it can be very difficult to find time to eat a meal or take a shower. A postpartum doula is there to cook a meal, hold the baby so you can rest or just to answer questions about soothing and settling baby down.
You’ve been wanting this baby and to grow your family for a long time. The dream and the reality of a new baby can often look very different from each other, and a doula can help. A doula is there to help you navigate this important time in your life. Most of us hire experts to guide us though important undertakings like buying a house or doing our taxes. Make sure you have birth and newborn professional by your side though this once in a lifetime experience.