Thoughts on: The Doula Book, John H. Kennell, Marshall H. Klaus, and Phyllis H. Klaus

A doula will continually be 1) noticing, 2) asking the woman, 3) doing something to make an appropriate change, 4) rechecking to see if the change is helping or not
— page 38, The Doula Book

This book is packed with information to help you decide if you would like a doula or not.

I do not say that lightly.

I am a very bad example of a client for my own profession, and something that I think about a lot is, “how would I have encouraged me to have a doula, knowing now what I know and explaining it to the me of the past?”. It is something I have answered in part (but how will I ever know for sure?!). I heard about doulas from someone I trusted and liked, someone who was going into her second birth and who suggested that I look into them. But I did a google search and left it when I saw that it would cost a chunk of money (please read Sophie Messager’s ACE blog about money here), and I guess that I did not really understand how it would help me. And the sad thing is, for me, a doula is exactly what I needed, and I get frustrated with past Ruth for not reading a damn book about doulas and understanding it. But - maybe I would not have made the choice to become one if I had not had those experiences…so ya know. Swings and poopabouts. (We actually say that in my house, I don’t really know why.)

If I had read this book I would have seen the practical applications of a doula. When my husband said “but isn’t that my job”, I could have explained the hands on, useful, helpful, knowing, availability of a doula and how having two people there to support me could never be too many. This book tells me of so many other women’s experiences with doulas, and though they are not me, I can see the value in what they have been through and apply that to my own expectations. I think the books gives an incredibly realistic view of birth. And I don’t really like using that word as I think it has been coopted to mean “worse than you can imagine, done even try you silly girl”. I want to use it to mean, just real, normal, everyday yet magical experience of birth.

I’m just glad that you are not as silly as me. If you are reading this then you have least done more research than I did.

I knew she was there and she just melted into the action, whispering in my ear, reminding me at every turn how strong I was and simply that I could do it. A new mother, speaking of her doula
— page 118, The Doula Book

I am still yet to read any Sheila Kitzinger, and from the quotes in this book - I need some of that in my life immediately.

Maddie McMahon’s “Why Doulas Matter” will always be the first book I give to a pregnant woman wondering about using a doula. If they wanted more, I think it would be this one next.