Many of my clients have been moms who did not have a doula for the births of their first babies but chose to have a doula present at their subsequent births. A couple of them recently shared how having a doula the second time around (and third, fourth...) made a difference in the overall birth experience. I would love to share their words with you as I believe they serve as powerful testimonies of how having the right help can create a more positive and rewarding birth experience.
"With my first, my inexperience, lack of knowing what to expect, and fear of not making it to the hospital landed us there WAY too soon in early labor. I ended up with pitocin and an epidural that I didn’t want simply because I was so exhausted and nothing was “progressing.” My second two births came after tons of prodromal labor that looked just like my “not progressing” labor with my first, and I’m confident that if I had had a doula with my first, the birth would have looked TOTALLY different! Having a birth professional to constantly talk to and get advice and insight from during all of the prodromal and early labor was absolutely invaluable to me, and I believe crucial to the perfect natural births I was able to have!! Having a doula was seriously the best and we can’t possibly be more thankful for her and everything she’s done for our family!!"
"I did not have a doula for my first birth. I didn’t even know what a doula was! I had a scheduled c-section that was unnecessary leading to a traumatic birth experience. I knew the second time around I wanted to have a different outcome. I wanted a VBAC, I wanted to be present for the birth and I wanted to be informed! That’s when I did some research and learned about what a doula can offer. Our doula was the perfect fit. She had experienced and provided a wealth of knowledge. She walked us through all of our options, suggested supportive providers (so key) who would help me achieve my goal, and when the day came, she was by my side helping me talk through some choices I had to make and reassuring me, even down to holding a bag for me when I was sick. The resource provided for my husband was so valuable, too! When he could see my doula was calm, he was calm and felt secure. She guided him to support me. The services provided by our doula were so valuable! I got the VBAC that I so desired and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her!"
Unfortunately, in this country, birth has become "over-medicalized" and handled according to standard protocol by the majority of birth providers. C-section risks have skyrocketed. About one in three women will end up with a surgical birth. Studies have shown that having a doula can cut this risk in half. Having a doula means having an advocate who will look out for the expectant mom meaning her best interests and the best interests of her baby are considered. It means having nurturing hands and a reassuring voice to make sure a mom feels cared for. It means recognizing each birth as sacred and doing everything possible to make sure it is a positive, rewarding experience from beginning to end.