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Would you hire a doula who has never given birth?

  • yes

    Votes: 90 48.9%
  • no

    Votes: 94 51.1%
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Discussion Starter #1
Just curious. There's a lady on another forum (not Mothering.com) who is planning to become a doula, but hasn't had any children of her own. To me, it seems a bit like hiring a lactation consultant who formula fed her babies. There are things you just can't learn about in books, and childbirth would definitely fall into that category!
 

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I'm really interested in the result.<br>
Personally, I think there is a long tradition of childless women caring for women. Instead of mothering their own brood, they are the caretakers of their community.<br>
Then again, I don't have any children, and I reserve the right to change my mind. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin"><br>
I have gone to a doula class, of the 28 women there, I think 3 had children. It can be a calling for some women even before they are mothers themselves. I would be that there are areas where your only choice might be a childless woman because there are not that many others available.<br>
Respectfully-
 

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Absolutely - just depends on the person. My doula was awesome, and at the time had never had any children (last I heard from her she was trying to become pg via artificial insemination). She had tons of experience and understanding of the process (which I would consider firsthand, since she has been with so many laboring women). I'm not sure how having a child of her own could have improved the service she provided me. Perhaps whatever can't be learned though books could be gleaned by being an apprentice doula or something?<br><br>
Something else just occured to me: The midwife who attended my first birth (she was "my" midwife's new partner who just happened to be on call when I went into labor) kept leaving to pump, since she had a 7-month old. She'd come in and check on me periodically, but that was about it. Of course, the difference between CNMs and doulas comes into play here, but I'd still rather have someone who didn't have their own child care obligations who could just focus on me for as long as necessary.
 

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I would. I actually worry that when you are still relatively new at a job like that seeing things thru the filter of your own experience could be a handicap. To be honest I'm not sure experiencing childbirth makes me that much use to another birthing woman, but my childbirth classes did.
 

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I voted no.At the birth of my first dd my midwife had a gal helping her who hadn't any kids, when I was pushing she was busy telling me I was fine. I was thinking what do you know about it? you have no children! I think if she would have said your doing great or something like that it would have been ok. However when somebody who has kids says your fine and she was a pile of kids I am more inclined to believe them. The good thing about somebody who doesnt have any kids is they most likely will have more undivided time for you.
 

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Just b/c a doula hasn't had any children, doesn't mean that she doesn't know if your oaky or not, it jsut means that she doens't understand exactly what YOU are feeling.<br>
If I ddin't already have a doula for my next birth 9when ever that may be <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> ) I would hire a doula who didn't have children if she happened to be the one I connected with. I met some woman at my doula training who didn't have children adn I thought they would be wonderful doulas,a nd if they lived near me, I would defintely hire them. Being a doula or a midwife is a calling. I think it helps to ahve some suppor tfrom woamn who can understand what you are going through, but it doesn' have to be everyone in the room.. that person could be your midwife.<br><br>
I do remember in early labour when it was jut me, my partner adn my friend christina (who ahdn't had any children) and wanting SOMEONE there who would understand what I was going through and could reassure me. I had those 3 ppl later on(2 midwives and a my doula). and it did reassure me, but my firend and the midwife in training were also fantastic support people and were a BIG help.<br><br>
It was also a great experiecne for my friend who had never seen a birth before. Not only was she totally honered to experience that sacred moment, but it was also a good influence on her. SHe wants lots of children and is defitnely planning on a homebierth <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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My primary midwife for dd1 didn't have any kids at the time. She had one by the time dd2 came along. She was just as wonderful and nurturing each time. I'm not convinced it makes a difference.<br><br>
Okay, so she's not a doula, but I think the principle (principal?) is the same.
 

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I think a woman's parity has nothing to do with her potential ability to be a good doula.<br><br>
I've never comforted a laboring mom, though I've had a baby--I'd be a somewhat crappy doula if I were to do it right this instant. Practice caring for laboring women is what makes a doula experienced; not having a baby herself.<br><br>
As for the formula-feeding lactation consultant, it would depend A LOT on the reason why she ff...because she thinks bm is crap? Or because she lost her breasts to cancer? Things may not always be what they seem.....
 

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I personally would not hire a doula who didn't have children although I know many wonderful doula's with no kids. The reason is that I have my husband there already loving me, but not knowing what I am going through. I know he knows it's painful but he can never really know firsthand. When I tell a mom that I know that it hurts, but that she can do it, she knows that I do from firsthand experience. That it what I wanted from my doula. Affimation and knowing that I wasn't the only one who had gone through it before. But that is just me, every women's needs are so different. And there are a lot of great doulas with no children. It is a personal preference. One of many.
 

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Not only would I not hire a doula who had never had a child, I would not hire a doula who has never given birth naturally, without drugs... because unless they had experienced what I was going through, I would have no respect for anything that came out of their mouth. I feel the same about docs/MW's as well. If I was having a c-sec, I would find a doula who had also had a c-sec as well...<br><br>
But that is just me, and everyone has their own criteria for what they need in a support person.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks, Sarah, that's exactly how I feel.<br>
I realize how petty my original post makes me sound, but I have DH for regular support. I'd have trouble respecting my doula's advice if she had never gone through natural childbirth herself, at least once. And, since my first was born via emergency c-section, I would want one who has gone through vbac as well. And, then there's the lady in question, whom you all don't know.<br><br>
Irishmommy, it's totally different! Insurance pays for an ob or midwife, not for a doula. So, on top of my regular copay, I'd be dishing out at least another $600 to have a doula there with me.
 

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A doula is there for support, not giving birth. So, IMO as long as she is 'supportive', I wouldn't care if she never gave birth. In fact, it might help her be more supportive because she would not have her own experience to place over yours.
 

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When I gave birth, the two midwives who attended me did not have babies of their own (it was a large practice, luck of the draw). I had a wonderful birth experience. However, I think knowing that my doula had experienced birth was comforting to me. My doula was very calm and supportive. I think it is a good thing if at least one person on the birthing team experienced birth.<br><br>
~Laura
 

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My instinct is to say "no" - I wouldn't hire a doula who had never had a child. But there are two problems with that statement - one, I am not a doula gal. I choose a midwife whom I totally trust and connect with and my dh is wonderful - no one else is needed (for me - I know MANY women ADORE their doulas). More on topic here, two, the midwife who assisted us at the birth of dd2 had not had kids. And I trusted her completely to assist us. So I guess I am contradicting myself - voting no but IRL yes.<br>
Kirsten<br>
Oh, just thought of male childbirth providers (probably mostly OBs) - they have never given birth and millions of women trust them to assist. Intersting question.
 

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I don't have any children, but 1.5 years ago a friend asked if I wanted to be at her birth. Thrilled with the invitation, I accepted. I knew so very very little about childbirth at the time, but she said I was wonderful and I really helped her relax when things got tough. As for me, I was hooked. Birth is AMAZING. I've read more birth books in the last year than most people do in their entire lives! I have a job that I really love, but I'm seriously considering taking doula training because I'm so eager to be a part of that magic again. I have thought about whether or not I'd be "eligible" since I don't have children. But at the same time, I think I'd have the benefit of not imposing my own experience on the laboring woman, I'm told that I'm a very supportive person in general, and I have more free time than most mamas. It probably won't be an issue because we're TTC and by the time I have free time to do the training, I'll probably be pregnant or a mama! But this has been an interesting thread for me to read since the very idea has been rolling around in my head a lot recently! Thanks for posting so many different opinions!
 

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my doula had given birth naturally to a daughter who was 15 months old when she attended my birth. it was love at first phone conversation- i knew she was the doula for us. it became important to me later that she had *also* battled the system and given birth naturally in the hospital, like i had to.<br><br>
my doula was also a massage therapist, and that came in handy during labor. but the fact that she had not just given birth but done it in the hospital gave me confidence that she would stick up for me and Karl if needed- and it was! she was there to fend off the crazy ob nurse who kept saying to my midwife "i think she needs something for the pain!" and to assure me that *she* did it, and i could, too.<br><br>
in my birthing classes, along with several other pregnant couples, there were 2 training doulas who were both childless. I was very opposed to having them at my birth, even though their services were free! they both offered themselves to me as a doula- and i couldn't imagine having them there. i needed someone to know what birth was like.<br><br>
now, after having given birth, i know that no one who has not done it naturally could *know* the <span style="font-size:large;">immensity</span> of a laboring woman's needs.<br><br>
(and btw, i wouldn't hire a LC who had just formula fed, whether she did it out of ignorance or neccesity- it doesn't matter! i want the real deal, someone who has actually nursed! but that's just me)
 

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A year ago, I would have said no. Since then, I had a beautiful birth where my midwife's two apprentices were doulas who had not given birth. They had a reverence toward birth that was far more important to me than an actual recollection of giving birth would be.<br><br>
In my doula training, about half of the students had not had children, and one student was even a male chiropractor. I think it's great that these doulas were drawn to this work for whatever reason, but I also realize that clients will have the right to choose whether they need that empathy and personal experience from their doula...and I believe a lot of them feel that they do.
 

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It depends on what I expected of her and how I felt about her after having met her.<br><br>
As far as the LC thing, I've heard of MALE lactation consultants. If they know their stuff and are willing to help you, then who cares if they've ever nursed before?!
 

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considering both my doula(also my sister) and my midwife have never given birth...some here would say I am in big trouble... I dont really think so though..... I think it is so horrible for them to be judged just on the fact that they dont have kids yet.... I mean its the same with students from any other field ..like nursing for instance... I remember when I was in school and lots of people didnt want a student near them.... how the heck is anyone ever supposed to get experience or learn that way?? I know its everyones own choice....but I know how I felt in the past... and I am happy to have a student midwife at my birth as well..and she has no kids either<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/jaw.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="dropjaw"><br><br><br><br><br><br>
Interesting poll!!
 

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I didn't vote, because I'm thinking my answer would be more like 'maybe' or 'depends'... I had a midwife who has never given birth, and in her case I think it was a handicap. I didn't realize it until the birth itself, when she supported me in some ways that felt bad. Shaming, even. (quick example: I was in labor for 24 hours. Had a meltdown at transition and begged to go to the hospital. What I needed to hear was something like, "I hear that you are so tired, and you have been in a lot of pain, and you're scared right now. But, I have seen you be so strong today. I know you can do it, Tara. This is a particularly hard part, but it is typically short. I know you can do it - can we try 30 more minutes and then re-evaluate?" What she said was, "Well, if you want to go to the hospital and deal with the interventions that happen there, we can go. But, I don't think you really want that." Um, hello?? I'm begging - what makes you think I don't really want that??). So, after the fact when I processed my birth, I started thinking that she wouldn't have supported me that way if she had ever been in transition herself. At the same time, I think that there are some people who are naturally empathetic, who could 'get inside' the experience without having first hand knowledge. I think there are some people who are natural 'supporters', who can use a blend of intuition and knowledge of their client to support her in the way she needs. So, I would not necessarily let a doula's (or midwife's) lack of birthing experience disqualify her, but I would be asking her a lot of questions (not sure what kind of questions, exactly, though...) to find out if we were a good match.
 
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