Interviews with people about doulas, birth and new born life: 5. Mother of a four month old
1. Do you know what a doula is?
Yep. It’s a person that supports the Parents through, up to and post birth. Support in many facets practically, emotionally, even physically!
2. Have you ever hired a doula?
I hired a doula for the birth of my first child
3. How did you find the doula for your family?
I’d put the feelers out to a few people who knew Doulas or were Doulas mostly in London, where I’m originally from and asked for recommendations where we live now. I started by emailing a few people and I either didn’t quite click with them, or those that I did like were already booked out, but they recommended others. It was a route that led me and my partner to attend our local Positive Birth Meeting where we met our Doula.
4. Why did you feel you wanted a doula?
There’s a question! I’d always had it in my mind that if I ever did birth a child I would want a doula. I don’t know who planted that seed or when, but it was there.
I now live in a new county to where mine and my partner’s families are from, and most of my close friends are either still in London or scattered there abouts. So our support network for “troops on the ground” was limited. This was a primary factor. The other was I was actually planning a home birth and to have someone who “been there and done that” and could support us both in a non-medical capacity. Now the reason for the home birth... I have a pretty mean anxiety disorder as a result of childhood trauma, I need to control things in order to feel any kind of ease, so the need for me to be in my own home was really important to me and my Doula really came into her own.
I was advised due to a medical reason to not birth at home (no risk to the baby), weighing it up with the support of our doula who really helped me see it from all perspectives, not just the home birth angle, she really gave me space to make my own decision, which I knew would be much better for me psychologically. She also assisted us in writing our birth preferences, lending us books (The Positive Birth Book, AIMS am I allowed and Why Human Rights in Childbirth Matter)
5. How do you think the birth would have been different without a doula?
Well, I didn’t actually get the birth of planned for at home in my kitchen in a pool, due to meconium in my waters when they broke (meconium is where the baby poops inside you). So it was straight to Labour Ward for us. EVERYTHING I didn’t want. I could have thought well what’s the point of my Doula now? But I didn’t, I laboured naturally through the night in what was probably the complete opposite environment than I anticipated, but at this point I’d done a lot of work on myself.
Our Doula arrived in the morning and really held the space for us to have the birth we’d planned, all be it in a different environment. She was a steady feminine presence that was tangible for me as a birthing women. She supported my partner so he felt he could take a break when he needed to (labour is long) trusting I was cared for. She remained uninvolved in any decision making, as this was not her place, she did point out at one point I was huffing way too much gas and air and it was interfering with me pushing, she was right and our babe popped out right after that. Would my birth have been different without her? Yep, for sure. I would have been way more nervous, probably under prepared, unaware of my rights. And her support to my partner meant he could really be there for me during the labour. She also stayed with me post birth and scored me a private room for recovery! Her post natal visits were invaluable, as we had NO idea what we were doing and had quite a few feeding issues and she encouraged us to seek help from a Lactaction Consultant and seek out breastfeeding support groups, which she accompanied me to. I guess what I’m trying to say in all this is it’s not all about the Doula being there on the big day, for us it was really a support structure that it all hung on, she was a guiding light.
I’d definitely have a Doula present at my next birth should there be one!
Thank you so much! Great to hear about your experiences of the Positive Birth Movement group and especially about how you found having a doula.