Wall Street Journal article about doulas - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-24-2004, 03:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone see the article about doula's on the front page of the Wall Street Journal recently? Sad.

It was very negative, and I thought condescending to doulas. Made it sound like they are the doctor's arch enemies and convince women to make unsafe, against-doctors-orders decisions. A menace to safe birthing practices here in the U.S., is the feeling that came across. I mean, practically every sentence said something negative, or put things in a negative light.

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Old 01-27-2004, 03:27 AM
 
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My dad cut it out for me, he thought it was "a fair and balanced piece" (what is he, Fox News?) But I pointed out that the heading was negative and the opening anecdote which took up the front page (and establishes the article for anyone happening to glance at it) was obviously putting doulas in a bad light.

The only positive things said were through the perspective of, "a quaint idea, for posh upper middle class people weird enough to care about their childbirth experiences" (my take)

But the article did indirectly bring out some issues I've thought about: My own protocol in the hospital scene is, talk to the doctor as little as possible, talk to the mother instead. But do not make decisions for her; that's not my place, even if I think the decision is crucial to her birth experience. I explain to clients ahead of time that I do not go to births to fight doctors and nurses in their stead; that they should be informed ahead of time and ready to make their own stand. Because I have found some clients want you to be the one who argues with the doctor, and "protects" them from conflict and having to make the choices. If the negative doula stories are true, I wonder which ones had clients who felt that way.
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Old 01-27-2004, 08:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's interesting that your dad said that, because my mom said something similar when she told me about the article. And she just so happened to start asking me that same evening whether my sister "really" needs a doula for her upcoming birth, and why, etc. Even though I had a doula for the birth of my two ds's and she seemed to be really on board with that. Just goes to show how much weight ideas carry in print, especially in a publication like the Wall Street Journal. :
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Old 01-28-2004, 01:27 AM
 
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There was another thread recently about this very same article...

One of the doulas I interviewed recently did seem like she would fit the stereotype in the article (sorry, but she was aggressively advocating in the interview for me to make major changes in my prenatal care/birth plans, changes which I think are unwarranted and unwelcome).

However, if they wanted to provide a real picture about doulas, why didn't they cite the statistics? (Seriously, *good* numbers are very helpful and aren't biased.)

One of my friends was quizzing me about how much doulas cost and whether insurance covered it. I explained to him that even though yes, we'd have to pay for it out of pocket, we'd probably recoup the money if we can avoid another cesarean and/or an epidural (because the copays for these are not small), and I went on to explain that women who used doulas had lower rates of intervention. You'd think that that argument (the money side) would interest the WSJ...

My mom has been very curious about us looking for a doula. I explained that now my focus is to find one who's also a massage therapist. She paused a minute on the phone... and then basically she told me that labor would be the best ever place to have access to a MT and boy, she wishes *she* had had something like that way back when.
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Old 01-28-2004, 02:29 PM
 
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ugh. I read that article and was a bit irritated at the unbalanced qualities, mostly that the article failed to illustrate clearly that the reason there is demand for doulas is that the supply of hospital staff who CARES and listens to a laboring mom's needs are in short supply.

And KKmama, in Minnesota, there is quite a successul push to get doula services reimbursed by insurance--many people have succeeded privately, and there are hopes to create legislation to guarantee it for all (because YES, the data support the fact that doula-attended births ARE CHEAPER, even after you pay the doula!)

And I just want to say the following...

When it comes to the unwashed masses ( ) I like to use this analogy:

A bride has a personal attendant, a laboring woman has a doula.

Then people get a whole lot less confused, i.e., people undserstand that a personal attendant is there to do what the bride wants, she is not going to take the place of the marriage officiant, and she is there to assure smooth sailing because THE BRIDE IS BUSY, just like a laboring mother is a bit pre-occupied.
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Old 01-28-2004, 02:37 PM
 
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Oh, I agree that when you look at stafffing ratios in hospitals, everyone should be thinking about who they're going to bring with them to take care of them. I swear that if I didn't have dh and my best friend with my after my cesarean, I never would have gotten any pain medication (I'm not joking)...

And I will be calling the insurance company to ask about doula reimbursement (just like I called last time about that and childbirth classes). I don't expect a yes, but the call is free.
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Old 01-28-2004, 03:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by KKmama
Oh, I agree that when you look at stafffing ratios in hospitals, everyone should be thinking about who they're going to bring with them to take care of them. I swear that if I didn't have dh and my best friend with my after my cesarean, I never would have gotten any pain medication (I'm not joking)...
This is why my elderly grandfather (and his son, my father) hired a "Patient Advocate", a former RN, just to ensure smooth sailing with all things medical at the old folks' home.

...I just mention this because this hosptial nonsense is epidemic and thorogh; it's not just laboring mamas and babies who need to bring in their own help.
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