What Do I Need a Doula For, Anyways?


When the subject of my birth work comes up in conversation, it isn't uncommon for their to be a lot of confusion over what it is I do. Most people have heard the term doula, or know someone who's had one, but they don't totally 'get it'. There are a lot of misconceptions about the purpose or value of a doula. Even among maternity care providers, the explanation for how a doula benefits a mother in labor is varied and uncertain. Expectant parents wonder things like, "What does a doula do that my partner doesn’t? We like our doctor and have an open relationship, isn’t that enough?, I plan to just take things as they come; is a doula really necessary?" These are just a few questions among many (more questions are addressed in my blog, Is a Doula Like a Midwife?...And Other FAQ. 

But what’s the big deal, really? Everyone you’ve talked to has assured you that it’s a fleeting moment; that it’s going to happen how it happens; that your baby is going to be born one way or another, and a healthy baby is all the matters, so why not just get on for the ride?  

Birth can certainly be one of the wildest rides of your life, and we know that the most challenging moments of our life can also be the most empowering. We also know that exceptional support throughout labor can change your experience from being something you 'handle', to something you own. Here are a few of the ways we can help make that happen. 

A doula works with your partner; it’s better that way!

There’s a quote in the doula world that goes something like this: “You know her, we know birth.”

I’m not your intimate partner. I don’t know what makes you tick and what makes you cry. I don’t know the words to whisper when you’re at your lowest low, or how to make you laugh or smile to lift your tired spirits.

I do know about supporting partners in labor; I know to how to help them find their confidence to give you what you need. I know that birth can be exhausting, and sometimes the partner needs a break. I know when he hasn’t made a trip to the bathroom in 6 hours, and I know to ask if he’s eaten or drunk before he turns white. I know that watching you, the person they love most, in the throes of labor, can be exhilarating and frightening, all at once. I know that birth can be intimate; that sometimes my role is in the background, supporting you from the sidelines, and other times we are in the thick of it together, a circle of support.  

A doctor’s not a doula, a doula’s not a doctor.

You can have the best relationship with your midwife or doctor, but when it comes down to your birth, their number one mission is a healthy mother and a healthy baby. When everyone else’s eyes are on charts and numbers, my eyes are on you. The emotional intensity of birth can be as overwhelming as the physical. There can be surprises around each corner and I’m there to remind you of what is happening, what the choices are, and then supporting you and helping you make it around the next bend.

Plan or no plan, a doula’s a must.

We all know, “the best laid plans of mice and men, often to awry”. It’s not so much about having a plan, but knowing that there are choices for your birth. Voicing the things that matter to you most gets your birth team on the same page, and that’s important. Flexibility in your birth planning is essential too, because we know that birth is unpredictable. No plan? No problem. We will walk with you through your birth as decisions need to be made and options are given.  

Most importantly, above all else, we will tirelessly care for you and your partner every step of the way.

We will walk the halls with you, squeeze your hand, tie your hair back, and cool the sweat on your head. We will hold the popsicle to your mouth and breath with you through the hardest moments; we will remind you that you are enough, of the strength you possess, and the miracle you are bringing forth.While you pour yourself to empty, we will help fill up your cup.  

Everything we truly aspire to can be summed up in this quote by Maya Angelou:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

How you feel, matters.  Your birth, this moment, is deserving of the utmost attention and care. We are there to make sure of that.