How to Find the Doula That’s Right for Your Coming Birth

“Giving birth to a baby is easier than worrying about it.” –Japanese proverb.

Congratulations! You are about to engage the full power of your female reproductive organs in the mighty act of giving birth! For reference, this is a beautiful digital animation of what you and your new infant are about to do together: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xath6kOf0NE

 

Yes, you’re right. It’s miracle, and now that you are ripening like a peach, you cannot believe you are about to attempt something quite this miraculous. If you aren’t having crazy dreams then it’s likely – at the very least, that you have some passing anxiety about this inevitable prospect.

If this is not your first child, you may be well acquainted with the process of assembling your support team, but if this is your first time having a baby, you are going to want to tune in. Choosing the people you want to share this with during your labor is a pretty big decision and it’s important to understand that whether you have an obstetrician or a midwife, those professionals will be focused on the baby. A doula’s sole purpose is to support you and your partner, and this role is instrumental in having a successful birth.

What does a successful birth mean, you might ask? It means that you are mentally and physically prepared for your baby to enter the world, that you are in a space of your choosing where you can relax and concentrate, and that you have experienced support who can talk you through the pain, help you make decisions, and interface with the doctors and nurses on your behalf.

Let’s discuss what makes a good doula and how you can go about finding one that is the right fit for you and your partner. Most doula relationships begin with an interview or initial consult. You get to know her (doulas are almost exclusively women) in person and ask her questions. Here are a few quick points that parents might want to consider.

  • Training
  • Certification status
  • Experience
  • Availability
  • Her definition of responsibilities
  • Conversational compatibility
  • Fees

Connection and communication are paramount in building a dynamic of security with your doula. She should get your jokes and you should get her’s because, you will need the occasional laugh though this. She’ll be witness to your most vulnerable state. Listen to your intuition and choose a doula with whom you have good rapport.

Look for a doula who is flexible and responsive rather than scripted in her methods. That may mean a doula who gives you an extra prenatal meeting, works on a sliding scale, and gets back to you quickly. From the beginning, she’s there to respond to your needs and with birth, you really are the one in change.

Some women have tremendously big hearts and that is why they gravitate to this job. But sometimes, they overextend themselves trying to support too many clients at a time. An experienced doula should know how many moms she can take on and even then, sometimes fate makes it so that two babies decide to enter the world at the same time. So it’s important to ask: how many births have you missed?

Ask your doula for references and talk to past clients about their experience with her. Keep in mind that a doula doesn’t determine the outcome of a birth – she just influences the mother in a beneficial way. But you might want to ask her if she’s had any losses or complications and how she handled those situations.

You need full agency over your birth, and so look for that flexible open-minded characteristic. At a certain point deep into the labor, your won’t be able to make (sane) decisions or even speak. The doula acts as an envoy, when you suddenly decide you want drugs, she’s going to remind you gently about your birth plan and assure you that things are going normally. She’s going to know how to communicate with the doctors if, for example, your baby decides to lead with an elbow. Her first commitment is to be an advocate for your preferences, that means knowing your birth plan and capitulating to it.

Both you and your partner need to have a sense of trust for this person, so definitely introduce your partner into the discussions. Sometimes our partner becomes so wrapped up in empathizing with the laboring mom that they cannot manage anything beyond staying close and coaching. But a doula can help your partner too, because she is there in the caretaker capacity.

Here’s what you don’t want to make your determination on:

  • Her own birth experience
  • Her prices
  • Your previous friendship or association (just because you knew her before doesn’t make her an ideal birth partner)

 

Let all this sink in for a while and really take your time meeting with lots of people, giving yourself and your partner enough information. Ultimately, it’s a gut decision, and by going with your gut (no pun intended) you can find the ideal doula to assist you as your bring your new baby into the waiting world.

 

 

References:

  1. http://www.puramama.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-doula-an-insiders-list/

About Susie Almaneih

Susie Almaneih spent several years during her young adulthood teaching children dance at her church group, as well as other cultural-based activities. Susie now spends as much time as she can giving back to the families in her community. Over the years, this love for community has evolved into a deeper love for delivering positive and creative content and awareness to families of all ages.

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