Monday, November 28, 2016

5 Reasons People Don't Hire Doulas (And the 1 Reason Why They Shouldn't)

I have had many conversations with many women about my work as a doula. Most of the time they are seeking a listening ear for their questions or concerns. Often, these conversations end with some variation of why they can't hire a doula. Below are a few of the most common reasons. 

Doula performing a double hip squeeze
Image created using Canva

1. I can't afford a doula.

Most doulas are willing to make payment arrangements. Houston doulas charge very differently, so it is possible to find a doula to fit any budget. Some doulas will even barter. Some families include a doula on their baby registry.

2. My husband doesn't want a doula.

This usually stems from a misunderstanding of what a doula does. Doulas do not replace the partner nor take over. A woman's desire for a doula does not indicate that the partner is not good enough. Doulas support both parents in the way that they have decided beforehand. My goal as a doula is to make Dad the hero! I am an extra set of hands and ideas to help the experience become as wonderful a memory as possible. I am there for only one day, but Dad will be there forever! I want her to remember how amazing he was, so my biggest goal is to enhance what Dad can do-not replace.

3. I don't want a stranger in the room.

You will know your doula better than anyone in the room other than your partner and maybe your care provider. One of the foundations of doula support is relational support. By the time you are ready to give birth, you have likely spent several hours together. You've met and chatted at least 3 times. You have cultivated a trusting relationship together. You have shared intimate details of your life with your doula. You have shared your hopes and dreams for your upcoming birth. Your doula will be a familiar face in a sea of strangers on your birthing day. You will not know the nurses, residents, any other personnel that may be present. You may not even know your care provider should your normal care provider not be on-call that day. Your doula will not be the stranger in the room that day.

4. I want an epidural/am giving birth in the hospital/already have a midwife.

Doulas support any kind of birth. Doulas are great for women planning to have an epidural because they know techniques to help keep labor progressing. Most doulas attend births in the hospital because most women give birth there. Doulas and midwives make a great team together.

5. My care provider said I don't need one/doesn't work with doulas.

A care provider who wants to discourage a woman from seeking as much support as she can raises a red flag in my book. I get it. When I was pregnant with my first baby, I raised concerns that I wouldn't be able to have a doula. I was told I didn't need one because doulas are a luxury. I took that as an attempt to be reassuring at the time, but looking back, I wasn't given all of the information. A simple statement of, "You can find a doula to fit your budget if you really want one," could have been offered. Even adding, "But I think you are capable of giving birth without one," would have been more supportive.

Sometimes people give me these reasons because they truly believe that these are obstacles that stand in their way of having a doula. I am happy to help people find a doula if they really want one.

However, sometimes people want to tell me they aren't hiring a doula for the above reasons just to be nice. They don't want to tell me the real reason, which I believe is the ONLY reason people shouldn't hire a doula.

1. I don't want to hire a doula.

Wonderful! No one says you have to hire a doula to have a great birth. If you don't want a doula, it is perfectly acceptable not to hire a doula. If you are friends with a doula, it is ok to be direct and say you aren't interested. We are professionals and can understand. If you give us one of the other reasons, we will do our doula thing by giving options and trying to help you overcome obstacles. We will give you information about dispelling common doula myths. Because that is what we do. We will doula you until we get to the heart of the matter. And if that is simply you don't want a doula, then that is ok! You do you. Own that choice.

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