When deciding whether or not to hire a doula, some couples question, “Will the specialness of welcoming our baby be, in any way, diminshed by having a doula? Is it better to be ‘just us’?” It is a great question, and a common concern.
Let me just say, I love being the ‘third wheel’. My goal, as a doula, is to have your remember the details of the day in all their wonder, joy, their challenges that you met head-on, with the support of your birth team, which often includes a spouse or partner, sometimes also relatives or other close friends.
With suggestions and guidance from me, I work with the birth partner(s) so they can participate to their comfort level. For some spouses or birth partners, this is very hands-on, knowledgeable help and assistance. For others, who have not witnessed a birth before, my guidance can really help them to ramp up their support.
In most cases, we do truly function as a team. As a doula, I have been to many births, and have extensive knowledge on childbirth, procedures, positions, and more. I want to reassure you and help you understand what’s happening now, and where you’re going.
My husband, who is decidedly pro-doula, and I were trying to come up with a good metaphor to explain the doulas role. We think we hit upon a good one.
A doula is like a trail guide.
She doesn’t walk the trail for you, but she’s walked this trail before — many times, in fact. So, she knows the large tree roots you want to avoid tripping over. She knows that, if the condition of the trail deteriorates in any way at a certain point, there are detours that can be safely taken. She knows the best places to rest, and when its time to forge ahead through a difficult part. She is just as comfortable walking ahead at certain points, but also trusts that you are a born hiker, and she trusts that you’re prepared for this journey.
When you get done with an amazing hike, you remember the hike – you don’t necessarily remember the guide. You rely on the guide’s support and advice, but the journey is what you truly remember forever. At the end of the trail, you might see a beautiful view, sunset, or other point of interest.
At the end of labor, however, you hold your baby in your arms; truly, the best reward…
Why hire a doula? Whether you’ve ‘hiked’ this trail before, or its your first time, a guide can provide valuable insight, advice, and reassurance. The guide, your doula, has gone down this road many times before, and knows just what to do when the going gets rough. A doula can help you arrive at your destination feeling empowered and awesome – and your birth partner can feel this way, too.
So, rather than asking, “Will the doula be kind of a third-wheel to this event?” I encourage you to ask, “How can this amazing journey be enhanced by a guide who has been there before us?”
I trust that you know how to give birth to your baby. I want to be a guide when you need a helping hand, and to be there for each member of your birth team, to have an amazing journey on the day of your child’s birth.