Speaking of doulas, I'd like your input on asking a close friend. - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-28-2006, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We have a really close friend, the first of our little tribe to have a baby. She delivered in the same birth center that we're delivering in, with the same midwives, etc. She did a water birth there, too, and had a doula. She has taken classes to be a doula but isn't officially one yet, and has been at a bunch of births (my H and I used to joke a little that she always found a way to get herself in the delivery ;-).

Anyway, I've been thinking about what it would be like with my friend as our doula. There are a lot of "pros" to this. We wouldn't have any new people in the birthing room, just us, the midwife, and her. She would also be cheap or free. Bonus! We've known her a really long time - both she and her husband were in our wedding, I've known her husband since I was 14, etc. My husband and I discussed it last night and both think it's a great idea.

I'm trying to think of BAD reasons for inviting a friend to do this. I really want to cover my bases and think of everything before I ask her, but I also want to ask her (or secure a public doula) relatively early on in the pregnancy (maybe in the next two months). All I can think of is that our parents might be all, "wait, SHE gets to be in the room but we have to wait outside???" but I have plenty of other non-doula-related responses to that .

O wise mamas, please advise. Can you think of anything negative, or at least something we'd have to consider? Thank you!
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Old 09-28-2006, 06:23 PM
 
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Hi, this may not be applicable to your situation, as it sounds like you have a trusting relationship with your friend. I have a friend who's also going to be a doula, she's a bit younger than me and we're great friends, although I know that if allowed to be, she can be subtly manipulating or get a little 'too close', kwim? If I had her as my doula, I feel I would be putting her in a position of control or authority over me, and I'm not willing to do that. Birthing and coping with pregnancy is MINE and I will tell her about it and we can talk and she can offer advice, but I don't want to ever allow her to claim any responsibility or credit for anything that happens with my body, baby or birth. This sounds paranoid, but I'm willing to offer positions of trust to a professional midwife, my mother and my sister (on an even level) but not a friend. Although, maybe you have a sister-like relationship with this woman.
These are my opinionns, specific to my situation, but the only advice I would pass along is to analyze your relationship with your friend and decide if there's enough trust to allow the relationship to develop to doula-patient. Of course, you are still technically 'in control' as if would be a hiring position (even if she's doing you a favour) and you maintain control. I just wouldn't want this friend of mine 'that close', you know?
Good luck in your decision! Sounds like it's a great opportunity, though, if she's willing to 'practice' on you, and you prefer that than someone else supporting you!
A

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Old 09-28-2006, 06:46 PM
 
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I think that if you feel she would be helpful to you during your labor and that you can trust her, you should go ahead and ask her. The one thing I would make sure of is that she won't get offended if you find out while your laboring that you really want to be more private than you thought and that you might end up only wanting DH and MW there.

If she is unassuming and isn't the type of person to try to insinuate herself or assert any rights, then it'll work out.

I only had one "friend" helper-type person during my first birth and I knew that if I expressed wishes to labor without her, her feelings wouldn't be hurt and she wouldn't get angry. My second time around, I only wanted DH and my mom and MW.

It is really nice to have a sister-woman there that has been through labour that is there SOLELY for what you want. DH's are also great partners, but sometimes a woman just needs a woman to look her in the eye and say, "I know this hurts. I know you're tired. But I know that you can do this."

When it isn't you MW who is saying that, it can make a bigger difference, you know? It's easier to relate to, because your midwife is, well, your midwife and though you may be really close to her (I hope. I am with mine) another woman is great.

I am SO chatty. I need to cut back on the sugar. Good luck, mama!
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Old 09-28-2006, 07:11 PM
 
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Having two friends, only one of whom actually had any doula training but wasn't currently practicing, was one of the best things about my second childbirth experience, and I'm doing it again this time, except with different friends, none of whom have "official" doula training (one hopes to in the future though). I have described my second childbirth as FUN, because my friends were there to chat with between contractions. My husband is supportive and I relax well with him, but he's lacking the woman/mother knowledge of my friends. I think that unless a woman really feels more comfortable being alone, that she should have a woman friend with her during childbirth.

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Old 09-28-2006, 08:07 PM
 
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I was a Doula for my best friend and my cousin- both asked me back at the second births and were glad I was there. (I have apprenticed w/ a home birth mw and am now getting certified as a Doula.)
2 things to consider/talk to her about: 1)What is her birth philosophy? Does it agree w/ yours? (The important thing would be that she wants you to have the kind of birth you want, not the kind of birth she wants you to have. Because, as friend, I would love my friends to want the same kind of birth I had- but ultimately, they need the one they want and that's when they will be happy with their birth.)
And 2) She needs to feel honored that you asked. I think that is pretty key, because that means she wasn't expecting it/thus having her feelings hurt if you acquired a different Doula and will make you feel safer- and you can feel free to be yourself.

Rachel, wife to Brian, mother of 5. Lover of birth.
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Old 09-28-2006, 08:36 PM
 
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Sometimes with friends we are less patient and more honest which can be good and bad things. I do know that I have two friends in this situation right now and my pg friend is driving our doula friend nuts--whereas if they weren't friends my doula friend would be better equiped to understand our pg friend's fears and doubts. Does this make sense?

Barbara:  an always learning SAHM of Ilana (11) and Aiden (8) living in Belgium with my amazing husband.

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Old 09-29-2006, 10:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Queen of my Castle View Post
Hi, this may not be applicable to your situation, as it sounds like you have a trusting relationship with your friend. I have a friend who's also going to be a doula, she's a bit younger than me and we're great friends, although I know that if allowed to be, she can be subtly manipulating or get a little 'too close', kwim? If I had her as my doula, I feel I would be putting her in a position of control or authority over me, and I'm not willing to do that. Birthing and coping with pregnancy is MINE and I will tell her about it and we can talk and she can offer advice, but I don't want to ever allow her to claim any responsibility or credit for anything that happens with my body, baby or birth. This sounds paranoid, but I'm willing to offer positions of trust to a professional midwife, my mother and my sister (on an even level) but not a friend. Although, maybe you have a sister-like relationship with this woman.
These are my opinionns, specific to my situation, but the only advice I would pass along is to analyze your relationship with your friend and decide if there's enough trust to allow the relationship to develop to doula-patient. Of course, you are still technically 'in control' as if would be a hiring position (even if she's doing you a favour) and you maintain control. I just wouldn't want this friend of mine 'that close', you know?
Good luck in your decision! Sounds like it's a great opportunity, though, if she's willing to 'practice' on you, and you prefer that than someone else supporting you!
A
I had this experience. My dh and I asked someone that I considered a VERY close friend - practically family - to be there as labor support for me. This woman performed our wedding ceremony and was a teacher to me. It was a disaster. She corrected everything that came out of my mouth during labor. If I said, "Oh God," she would say, "No, say 'Oh Goddess.'" If I said "ow ow ow" she'd say, "no, say oh oh oh." I finally cornered dh in the bathroom and told him she was driving me crazy. He relayed the message, but she didn't exactly take the hint, and I couldn't focus enough to tell her to get the hell out, which is what I wanted to do. I did tell her to shut the f--- up eventually, which she did. Later, she referred often to the fact that she had helped during the birth, etc. We have completely cut her out of our lives ... not over this issue, but it did help me to see exactly the kind of person she was. I just wish I could have learned it BEFORE her obnoxious behavior permanently colored the memory of my daughter's birth.

If your friend is already in doula training, and you trust her in that capacity, then go for it. But if you're not SURE, then think long and hard about it first.

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