One of my favorite places to hang out on the web is Offbeat Mama, a community for parents doing things in a non-traditional way. It's the kind of place where you can talk about things like ingesting your placenta or throwing a punk-themed birthday party for your son without anyone looking askance. It's also a place where doulas are much beloved. As a savvy auntie and birthworker, I love reading the insightful posts, questions, and comments from readers, and I was delighted to see two great posts about doulas over on Offbeat Mama recently.
One post discusses the role doulas play at hospital births—medicated or not. Sarah Day, doula and Offbeat Tribe moderator had this to say:
The skills and mindset your average doula brings to a birth are going to be useful regardless of where you end up delivering. A doula can provide emotional support, be an extra pair of hands, or just be a listening ear during the rigors of labor. I understand your concerns about hiring a professional from a fairly crunchy field for your medicalized birth, and here's the thing:
Many doulas, myself included, have opinions about the benefits and risks of medical and non-medical birth. Some of them may have opinions about your choice to deliver in a hospital. And you know what? It's really not their place to judge how you choose to experience your birth, because it's your birth.
You don't need to defend your choices to anyone. A good doula will want to empower you to make healthy, well-educated decisions with which you're comfortable, period. Her entire job is to support you through your birth experience. It shouldn't matter where that experience takes place or what interventions are involved.
So many people are under the impression that a doula is just for hippies having a homebirth (and I do love working with self-identified hippies and homebirths) BUT it's not true that our only clients are those birthing at home. While I would choose a homebirth for myself, the vast majority of my clients have been in hospitals and some have even had epidurals. There are so many ways I can help you if that's the route you go.
Another post on Offbeat Mama was a question from a reader from a pregnant mama whose husband is resistant to the idea of a doula. In the 84 comments, readers chimed in with a rousing chorus advocating for doulas and asserting the fact that
Doulas are there for the pregnant person AND their partner!
This is such an important thing to remember, and if you want more opinions on how doulas can help dads/partners, just read those comments! So many wonderful stories of the ways doulas have helped moms and dads/partners connect deeply during a birth.
Thanks, Offbeat Mama, for being such a friend to doulas!