After “I don’t need a doula because I have my partner” this is the second biggest myth about doulas
I have lost count of how many times I’ve been asked “can I have a doula if I am planning to birth in the hospital”, so this myth is very real indeed.
Let me set the record straight.
Doulas aren’t crunchy, lentil knitting yogurt weaving tie dye wearing hippies who want you to freebirth in a yurt in the woods surrounded by unicorns (though if this what you want we’d be more than happy to support you-more on that later).
Yes we are advocates of physiological births, but first and foremost we are advocates of informed choices and of women feeling supported in those choices.
That’s the essence of it, really.
We doulas are there to support you in your choices, the ones that make you feel strong and empowered, whatever those choices might be.
To give you an idea about how varied doula birth support can be, this year (and this is pretty much reflective of all my years as a doula), I have supported women having an elective caesarean, giving birth in the obstetric unit (and that included transfer from home and from the birth centre during labour), having birth centre births and homebirths.
I was as fiercely passionate defending the rights of a woman wanting to give birth at home as those of a woman wanting an elective caesarean birth, because, and this is the key message here, this was the right choice for her.
One of the things I love most about being a doula is how much it has opened my mind. When I worked as a scientist, I mostly hung out with scientists, and whilst they were all different people, there was a certain mindset similarity between them. Since becoming a doula I have met lots of fascinating people with so many different personalities and so many unique quirks and paradoxical ways of thinking. It’s never boring. It never stop stretching my mind, I never stop learning. I love it.
But what I have learnt above all is that there is no one size fits all (I wrote another post about it here).
So as a doula I always try to approach my clients with a completely open mind. Without a preconceived idea of what is right for them. They know what is right for them. I don’t. My job is to help them find out, amongst the sea of options available, what options make them feel safe, strong and empowered.
Some women feel safer giving birth at home, some in the birth centre, some in the obstetric unit.
Some women need a lot of physical support during labour (like massage and touch), some labour best if left to their own devices, and some cannot bear to be touched. Some women like music, or aromatherapy oils in the background, some don’t. Some like to labour in water, some prefer to be on dry land. etc.
And things can change to, during labour, sometimes women change their mind (like deciding to stay at home after planning a hospital birth, or the opposite). And this is totally ok with us too. We have no set ways, no preconceived ideas. We want to get to know you and find out how best we can support you.
As doula trainer Maddie McMahon says, doulas are the chameleons of the birth world. We are constantly adapting and responding to the circumstances and the environment.
So yes, some women prefer to give birth in a low key environment, but doulas aren’t just for women giving birth at home.
If you are a birthworker and this resonates with you- look here.
If you are pregnant and feel drawn to work with me, head over here