Expecting a baby? Congratulations! Or maybe you're not currently pregnant, but know it's something you desire in the future; congratulations to you, too!
Being a woman is awesome. Better than awesome. And having the power to build and nourish a life with your body [physically, emotionally, spiritually] is crazy miraculous and way too special to be overlooked. So congratulations to all you mama's out there [present + future]. This post is for you. You're creating, building, and nourishing this earth one breath at a time. That's reason enough to get a little praise.
Are you ready? Okay. Let's talk about doulas and why I believe they are one of the most important investments you can make throughout your lifetime.
Photography by Elli Hodge
If you don't know already, "doula" is a just a fancy way of saying "woman who serves"; and is used to describe a trained professional who provides emotional, physical, educational, and spiritual support to the birthing woman during her childbearing year. (That's us at Eden House!) Doulas have been serving the families of this world for thousands of centuries. Yep, you read that right. They've been playing a vital role in the development of communities and families since before you and I were even thought of. And I'm sure that if you went through your ancestry, you'd find there were quite a few doulas in your lineage. Cool, right? I think so.
Now, let's fast forward to 2018. A lot has changed since your great great great grammy's day. Like how it's now totally normal to spend hundreds of dollars a month on a data plan. (Help!)
Anyways, perhaps you're on the edge of really believing in a doulas value in the world of 2018? Like of course, you'd want a doula if you were born in a prehistoric era and your man was on a forever-long bison hunt, leaving you to birth that baby alone, in the middle of the elements. Yeah, you probably couldn't sign up fast enough! You and me both! Bring on the doula, we'd need all the empowerment we could get!
But what about today? What's the value of a doula in 2018? And why should you invest in one?
Let's go back to that $100+ data plan. Why is everyone except grandpa Joe spending so flipping much on phones? I'll tell you. Because we value all the things it gives us. Connection. Direction. Application. Knowledge at the tip of your fingers. You name it and there's an app for it. We're sold.
Now, let me ask you. How much do you value your experience of birth? That little life you created and built, making his or her journey earth-side in the most astounding way ever imagined. What's that experience worth to you? I bet I already know the answer.
It's worth everything. And it's value is unexplainable.
If you're like the majority of the women I work with, the day you give birth to a child is the most significant day of your life. With the day you got married coming in a close second (sorry folks!). However, there is quite a contrast with what people are willing to invest (monetarily) in these two life-altering events. Let's talk weddings. The dress, the flowers, the food, the venue, the invites, the music, the photography. My hands literally still get sweaty when I think about what I spent on wedding photography. (Let's just say it was enough to pay for lots and lots of doula services. Probably the first 20+ people reading this - I could've covered your doula costs. You get a doula! Everybody gets a doula!) What was I thinking spending that much? Oh, right. I was thinking this is worth it. I want this day captured perfectly. I want the best of the best in every aspect of this day because I value this experience. Was it a lot of money? Yes. But was it worth it? You better believe it.
I know I'm not the only one who has dropped a pretty penny for a wedding day. But let's move on. Let's talk about the birth day. All of the sudden, it's a stretch to think about investing in help, direction, or support for that experience. You mean it cost how much for a doula? No thanks, I think I can handle it myself. Or, can't my partner just be my doula? Like, that's free. Wait, what? Imagine if that concept played out on your wedding day? You mean it cost how much for catering? No thanks, we'll handle it ourselves...we've got a nice industrial grill and boy, we can whip up some good ole burgers for everybody...save some money....boppity bing bang...we're good. Can you even imagine? That day arrives and instead of both of you being present in the moment, soaking up all the magic of that glorious day, you're grilling burgers. Grease gets on your dress, and the rest is history. I'm kidding. And obviously being a little extreme, but hopefully you get my point.
When you value something. You're willing to invest in it.
I know you already value your birth experience. You'd be crazy not to. So why is a doula, one of the best ways to invest in that experience? I know you're dying to know. So here are:
5 Reasons Why Investing in a Doula is Totally Worth It!
1. Doulas know birth.
When you hire a doula, you're hiring an birth professional. Someone who has been through a comprehensive training program specializing in pregnancy, labor, and birth. Now, I know you feel like that close female family member, who has that tear-jerking birth story, with a "been there, done that" attitude, is a pro when it comes to birth. But truth is, she is a PRO when it comes to HER births; and unless she has worked as a doula, or in any field of the birth world, she probably does not know how to best support YOUR BIRTH. A doula understands that no two birth experiences are the same and they are full of researched evidence-based information to help guide you through your childbearing year. A doula knows the ropes of birth and can anticipate what is coming next. A doula can effortlessly guide you through the process, and prepare you for each step, invoking confidence and assurance along the way! Doula's are constantly immersed in the activity and experience of birth, so their knowledge and skill is always being built upon. A doula approaches birth with an open mind and heart and has likely worked in a variety of birth settings (home+hospital+birth center). A doula is prepared to educate and empower you no matter what comes.
2) Your partner gets to be your partner.
Remember the burger story from earlier. You most likely didn't have your partner perform as the caterer at your wedding. You wanted them present. Hiring a doula for your birth is like hiring a caterer for your wedding. Take the pressure off your partner, (or whoever else you have there with you.) Let them simply be there with you. Let them experience the birth of the child without the angst of making sure everything runs smoothly. Let your doula take the wheel and guide both of you into a more positive experience. It can be a bit overwhelming for a partner to be the one massaging you, suggesting the best positions for you and baby, running the water for the tub/shower, working with the rebozo during contractions, getting you food and drink, affirming your strength and power, communicating with the birthing staff, and become a parent all at the same time! Of course, if you want your partner to do those things, a doula can help them get it done correctly and efficiently. A doula is there to serve the experience for both you and your partner, bringing you together and creating optimum comfort and peace for both. Allowing both of you to be present in the miracle that is unfolding!
3) Yep! There's science to back it up.
For all of you like the numbers and the evidence, this one's for you. According to an updated Cochrane Database Systematic Review (2017), like the LARGEST systematic review of continuous labor support, “continuous support during labor has clinically meaningful benefits for women and infants and no known harm.” The review summarizes the experiences of 15,858 women who participated in 26 randomized controlled trials (a rigorous type of study). The study found that in comparison with women receiving no continuous labor support, women with doula role support were an impressive:
31% decrease in the use of Pitocin
35% decrease in the risk of Cesarean
15% increase in the likelihood of a spontaneous vaginal birth
9% decrease in the use of any medications for pain relief
14% decrease in the risk of newborns being admitted to a special care nursery
35% decrease in the risk of being dissatisfied with the birth experience
If that's not enough to convince you, you can read more statistics and cool facts here.
4) Access to doula birth perks.
This is different depending on the doula you hire. But I'll share ours with you. When you hire an Eden House doula - you get access to not only continuous labor support but also:
Prenatal visits. (These help us get to know each other and give us an opportunity to gauge how we can best serve you. These are also when we would educate you in specific areas of child birth providing evidence-based information & resources on pregnancy, birth, & postpartum.)
Private prenatal yoga sessions. (Yes, you will get the opportunity to learn explore the benefits of yoga in pregnancy and with learn how to apply them directly into your routine.)
A doula library & birth tools. (Books, rebozo, herbal goods.)
A plan for immediate postpartum. (This would include breastfeeding education and support, postpartum depression education and support, one postnatal visit at your home, + much more)
Placenta services. (Helping you honor your placenta through whatever means you decide.)
5)Having a doula leads to a more positive birth experience.
I could go into more science based information. Because really, it's been scientifically proven that a doula leads to a more positive birth experience for you and your baby. But let me talk to you heart to heart for this last one. Your birth experience is something you will carry with you for the rest of your life. It's a pivotal day in which your family either begins or is built upon. It's the day a new legacy begins. It's pure everyday magic, really. Having the support a doula provides can change everything. As a doula, I'm in tune with not just the physical aspects of your childbearing; but I'm seeking to serve you, a whole woman. A woman with a body, soul, and spirit. I'm there to nourish your emotions, wash you with strength, push you into Truth, and help you find your peace as you walk through it all. I'm there to pray, to hold a mirror in front of you that shows you just how strong and capable you really are. You're not just a number, and this isn't just another day at the hospital for me. I don't have 8 other patients at one time. (Not to say, hospital birthing staffs aren't amazing; the care is just different.) I eat, sleep, and breathe serving you and your experience. And nothing is more precious to me than knowing you are championed with unconditional love and support and that all of your desires are empowered and respected.
So there you have it.
My favorite reasons on why investing in a doula is totally worth it. Of course, there are more than 5 reasons to invest in a doula and I look forward to sharing them with you in the future. But for now, take some time to look inward and see if any of these reasons resonated with you!
If you value your birth day, (and I know you do), consider making an investment in a doula. I promise you won't regret it!
Maybe even head on over to Eden House Birth Services.
Who know's? Maybe it's the perfect fit for you :)