Take a doula or no? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: In my case, would you take doula to my homebirth?
Yes, absolutely. 13 92.86%
No way. 1 7.14%
Not sure. 0 0%
Other 0 0%
Voters: 14. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 5 Old 11-06-2011, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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So I'm really not sure what to do regarding homebirths and doulas. My last two births in the hospital, I had both my mother and a doula and my husband. 


For my first birth, my husband was helpful until the middle, and then he was a little too stressed out, etc... and he wasn't really able to help me after tha, so my mother provided good emotional support and the doula helped me physically. (The doula spoke a different language than my mother tongue, the language of the country I live in, so we couldn't communicate so well, but she helped physically.)


For my second birth, I planned on bringing an english speaking doula, (who is a friend) as well as my mom, because my mom was such a help at my first birth. But the doula was great help both physically and emotionally to the extent that I didn't really need my mom, and I kind of felt like I was pressured to give my mom something to do as well, so she'd feel useful and that she wasn't wasting her time... because honestly, I didn't really need my mom there. 


This time, I'm having a homebirth and the same doula as last time offered to come along to the birth, free of charge, just as a favor to me. I'm not sure whether to take her up on her offer or not. See the thing is, in my hospital births, the midwives didn't speak english, and they didn't stay there the whole entire time. At my homebirth, the midwife is english speaking, and from when I call her, she'll be there the whole time, even if my labor lasts 3 days... 

But the thing is, I don't know the midwife so well, I don't have an emotional connection to her, and while we're on the same page as each other in terms of natural childbirth, we're not necessarily 100% on the same page as each other when it comes to what I want emotionally out of childbirth (making it spiritual is important to me if possible)...


So I'm not sure whether or not to take up my doula on her offer to come to my birth. I'm afraid I'll feel pressured to "give her something to do so she feels useful". I mean, I may have a waterbirth this time, and if that's the case, I may need less physical help than I did my last two births, because water can be soothing... but I've never actually tried laboring in the tub during my previous births (they wouldnt let me in the hospital), so I don't know if it'll help me 100%... or if I'd still need the physical help of a doula. And if I have a waterbirth, it'll be in my tub, and my bathroom is small... so I dont know if there'd be room for two support people...


There's also the aspect of the fact that I'm a very private person when it comes to my body and giving birth. I stay modest the whole entire time (I plan on wearing a nightgown in the bath if I have a water birth), aside for when absolutely necessary- pushing stage- and don't like people other than the midwife seeing me down there when I push the baby out, and I know it kind of disappointed the doula and my mom last time when I asked them to please not look, even though they especially like to see babies enter the world, but I don't feel comfortable with that. So I guess I would feel a little guilty in a sense if the doula comes and i ask her to not look for the part she enjoys most... but she already knows from last time that I'm like that, so she knows that and anyhow offered to come, so I guess she doesn't mind that.


So there's this aspect as well that my midwife said that people who take doulas for their home births tend to have harder births... because while its good to have a doula to fight for you and help you in the hospital, when its at home, you don't need anyone to fight for you, and its a lot more relaxed, etc... and that people who take doulas are going with the attitude that birth is hard and they will need help physically and emotionally, so it does end up being a self fulfilling prophesy, but if someone goes into birth empowered and knowing she can do it on her own, she usually can...


So there's that aspect.


But there's also this thing... I've been reading the book Spiritual Midwifery, about a bunch of ladies who had homebirths, and they usually had groups of supportive women there, making birth fun, relaxing and enjoyable, being there for each other as only women who've experienced childbirth can do, and they made it sound so beautiful and fun and made me want to have something like that, having a group of women to laugh and enjoy the birth with... Or at least to have more than the midwife and my husband (especially since my husband is kind of not useful for the latter half of labor)....


So, what do you suggest? Take the doula or not? I'm so torn!!!


(FTR, my midwife doesn't come with an assistant midwife, its just her.)

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#2 of 5 Old 11-07-2011, 02:36 PM
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I say to get the doula. We did not have one at either previous birth, but we have hired one this time around. We were already discussing hiring her, then the midwife strongly recommended it.

The midwife will be with you the whole time, but her focus will be very different than that of the doula. The midwife will focus on safety and the doula will focus on support. Also, there are a lot more "jobs" to do when you are at home. Having extra hands to get food and drink for you and your husband will be good. A good doula will know when to make herself scarce. Talk to her ahead of time about your desires.

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#3 of 5 Old 11-15-2011, 03:52 PM
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How long/intense was your labor previously? 


My DS' labor was 5 days, a HB, and while I'm absolutely not planning on repeating that, I will be hiring a doula this time.  And if all she does is sit next to me and hold my hand, or fetch me a cold drink, or sit on the couch and knit, i don't care. 

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#4 of 5 Old 11-15-2011, 09:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, my labors fortunately were no where near 5 days!!!


They were 18 and 19 hours respectively, and both of them, from about 4 hours into the labor, had intense contractions approximately 2 minutes apart, which then lasted the rest of the labor, so I never really got a break...

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#5 of 5 Old 12-21-2011, 05:16 PM
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I voted to use the doula, but I do have a few thoughts.


1. A good doula won't make you feel like you need to give her something to do. A very good friend of mine is a doula and the biggest part of her job is figuring out how to support each individual mom. Some need a lot of hands on labor support (counter pressure, help with breathing techniques, massage, a hand to hold) and others just need her to sit back and be a calming presence or give verbal encouragement. She said that sometimes less is more and that a lot of women have told her after their birth that it was helpful just to have a supportive woman present even if they didn't need her to do a lot of hands on stuff.


2. Did the doula actually come out and say (or say something to indicate) that she was disappointed that you didn't want her to watch the birth? Anyone who made me feel guilty about not doing something that I wasn't comfortable with would most definitely NOT be invited to my next birth. You don't owe the doula the chance to look between your legs while your baby is coming out if you aren't comfortable with it. Her job is to do what you need her to do.


So while I think that doulas can provide invaluable labor support, if having her there is just going to make you feel anxious and guilty then I would say that it's probably not the right choice.

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