It can be difficult to articulate why practically every woman needs and deserves a doula serving and supporting her during the birth of her child. I say practically every woman because there may be some exceptional husbands/partners who do everything a doula does and more. (My husband did a lot, but we both benefited immensely from having a doula on our team. Having her guidance was really what enabled him to be a fantastic partner!)
Didn’t he do great?
So if the husband can learn to do these things, wouldn’t a childbirth class which involves and teaches dads be enough? Perhaps.
But the more experience I gain the more I realize that those who take a class and hire a doula have better satisfaction. Knowing what to expect is a very important piece of the puzzle. Your doula can’t fully prepare you for your birthing day (unless she is also your childbirth educator). Your childbirth educator can’t provide the continuous comfort and guidance that’s needed on your birthing day (unless she is also your doula)!
Today, on the occasion of our first child’s 5th birthday, I remember her birth like it was yesterday. I recall many details vividly, and they’re all happy memories! But more so than the details, I recall how I was loved and cared for by my husband and our doula, and to a somewhat lesser extent, my midwife (she was also busy with other moms that night). I did love our nurses, too. They were awesome. Maybe they liked us because we brought them brownies and because I was such a calm, unmedicated mother. (Yay, Hypnobabies!)
The bottom line on the subject of whether to invest in a doula calls to mind a quote from a midwife famous for her Tennessee-based practice at The Farm, Ina May Gaskin: “Whenever and wherever you intend to give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life.”
Having a doula changed the course of my life for the better. Will it change yours?