Top 5 Doula Myths
We have an agenda.
Of course we do! But our agenda isn’t that there is one best way to birth a baby. Our agenda is: healthy, respected, honored birthing people. Period. No ifs, ands, or epidurals about it. For one person, it might be totally affirming to have an unmedicated homebirth, for another, that might be all sorts of wrong. Team Doula’s agenda is centered around the birthing person being part of all decision making. A respected, autonomous human being who is included and valued in every step along the pregnancy, birth, and parenting journey. This is what we believe makes birth transformative. Regardless of how you birth your baby, if you feel honored and respected, if your voice is an equal voice at the table, that is what truly matters.
We are medical providers.
Heck no, friends. Are we professionals? Yes. Are we knowledgeable? Yes. Do we know the difference between an amnihook and an internal monitor? Yes. But we do not handle those tools, and we do not presume to make judgement calls about when it is best to use them. Most definitely not.
Consider a doula to be part life coach, and part pocket encyclopedia. We are just a text away from answers to questions you just didn’t think of in your prenatal appointment. For example, “My doctor mentioned a test for gestational diabetes, but I totally forgot to ask…what the heck is that? What does the test entail? What if the results come back positive?” So, for those of us who need answers NOW, you text your doula. We give you links to Evidence Based Birth, we tell you what the test entails, we help you get ideas for what questions to ask at your next appointment, and so on. Most pregnant people don’t have a way to text their medical providers, and it’s nice to have some answers while you wait for your next appointment.
We replace the role of the partner.
As we often say in our prenatal interviews: doulas help a partner feel like a real rockstar. If you have never had a baby before, or maybe you have been to the birth of one or two, it’s easy to feel like you don’t know what the heck to do in order to be helpful. A doula can be both comforting coach for the birthing person, and idea generator for the partner. I consider the doula to be that angel on your shoulder giving you ideas like, “Why don’t you rest your arms on their shoulders?” or “This would be a great time for a walk, hand in hand.” The doula can be a partner’s greatest asset. No more worries about “Am I doing the right thing?” And often you find when that stress is relieved, both pregnant person AND partner have more positive feelings about the birth. Less stress is always a good thing, and doulas can give that to partners as well as pregnant people.
We are too expensive.
Obviously, the term expensive is relative. However, with more and more research showing just how helpful a doula can be to a pregnant person, it is becoming an imperative, one way or another, to have a doula assisting any pregnant person who wants one. We are so excited to see programs in New York that are funding doulas through Medicaid, so that a doula really can be possible for anyone who wants the benefits. For those that perhaps have the money, but are wondering whether or not a doula is worth the expense, consider all the items we buy for our new babies that go almost unused. That infant swing, crib, and baby bouncer alone could cost you almost $1000 or more, depending on where you buy it from. Those items may seem necessary, but often your baby just doesn’t like them, and they certainly don’t contribute to a lifetime’s worth of positive memories surrounding your baby’s birth. So, consider asking friends to share their baby gear with you when they’re done, and save that money for the doula, because we have yet to encounter a couple that regretted hiring one. Or check out Babylist, an awesome way to add money for a doula to your registry!
Doulas guarantee you the birth you want.
We wish there was some magical doula dust we could sprinkle on you and your pregnant and belly and it would make all your birthy dreams come true, but as with all things in life, nothing is guaranteed. What we CAN guarantee though is that you have us as an advocate, a coach, a cheerleader, and an all around positive presence in your pregnancy and birth journey, however that plays out for you. No matter your hopes going into your pregnancy, labor, and delivery, life sometimes (often times?) has different plans. But when you have a doula there with you, to process the hard stuff as it comes, to give you the information to help you make informed decisions, you can at least look back on the wild ride that is pregnancy and birth and say, “You know what, I did the best I could with the information I had.” And really, isn’t that all we can ask for?