'To offer one-self as a faithful companion to another woman on life's greatest journey, that into motherhood, is a conscious, considered & committed choice. It is a decision that illustrates deep respect for women, belief in the power, the beauty & the passion of birth, & recognition that the way we birth & nurture ... our children has profound effects on the whole of our lives & those of our families'. Vicki Chan
Birth Support Australia
5 Ways Your Doula is Like a Wedding Planner
Wedding planning is a big deal. We expect people to take their time, and have big plans, even for small occasions. This might include a meal, a ceremony, coordinated outfits, decorations, a bridal shower, cakes, and more. As a society we don’t say anything to a woman who chooses to use a wedding planner. She’s smart and has help. Who wouldn’t want that? So I’d like to propose that a doula is much like a wedding planner, except that it’s for the birth of your baby.
1 A doula knows the major players in town.
Just like you would count on the wedding planner to have an idea of where to look for catering and flowers, a doula will be able to help you navigate your way around the many practitioners and services in your area. She can help you find the best people to help you have the birth you want from your doctor or midwife, to the baby’s paediatrician, a lactation consultant and more. This can help reduce the amount of work you have to do finding out which practitioners do what and when.
2 A doula knows the options.
A doula has training that most pregnant women do not have when it comes to giving birth. Sure, you took a childbirth class and learned a lot but her training is typically longer and specifically focused on how to help pregnant women in labour. She has extensive knowledge, not only of ways to help alleviate pain, positions for labour and other coping techniques, but she knows about medications and procedures that are common to the birthing environment.
3 A doula helps orchestrate.
Once she has your birth plan and knows what you want, your doula will help make sure that the birth follows your plans as much as possible. She will work the behind the scenes to ensure you can focus on your job – having a baby. She will remind your partner of ways to support you, bring you ice or drinks, and help you know when to use what tools on your list.
4 A doula wants you to have the best birth for you.
A doula, like a wedding planner, isn’t reliving her birth or wedding; she’s helping you and your family have the ideal birth for your baby. During the prenatal period, your doula will sit down with you and extensively go over what your desires are for your birth. She will ask you questions and listen as you tell her what you’re looking for in the experience, both in terms of physical things as well as emotionally. Most doulas will ask you to write a birth plan to help outline what it is you’re looking for so that everyone who is assisting you at the birth will be on the same page – your page.
5 A doula can help when unexpected things happen.
A doula can help you when your plans start changing. She can quickly help you evaluate what your other options are, based on your birth plan and preferences at the time. She can help you get more information and be more informed. This can be by helping you ask the right questions or helping you get the space you need to make decisions. She will also help you remember the other parts of your birth plan that may be still viable. She can also help you change directions and cope better with the changes.
Just as not every bride uses a wedding planner, not everyone will choose a doula. However, unlike the wedding planner scenario, many doulas will reduce fees, trade for services and work out payment arrangements if needed. While doulas deserve a fair wage for their hard work, many are also doing this because they believe that women deserve respectful care.