September 1, 2006

Doula or don't ya?

Doula (definition from Wikipedia): a non-medical assistant in prenatal care, childbirth and during the postpartum period

Doula (definition from Jen): calming, patient, wonderful support during birth. Support only a woman could give a woman. Helps calm your husband too. Husbands know someone else is there who knows exactly what to do.

It appears, to me, there is a misconception of why one would choose to hire a Doula. Every single time I tell people I had a Doula they say things like, 'you had your baby at your house?' or 'Oh my gosh, you didn't have any drugs?' First of all, THANK GOD FOR DRUGS! (during birth that is).... Also, not all Doula's are Mid-Wives!!!

No, my husband and I choose to invite a Doula to be part of our birth experience because I (Jen) needed her. Why? you ask...because my husband is very very uneasy in hospitals, around blood, needles etc...he has had issues with this his whole life, fainting, vomiting etc...We decided he would obviously be part of the whole labor process until major blood. After telling him to basically SUCK IT UP, I also thought to myself; if he does faint and ends up not being there for me, who will be????? I thought very hard about this and my options.

Option 1 - My Mom; Good heavens, I LOVE my mother, but do I want her holding my leg while I push out my child? Do I want her asking me mid-push, "Jenny, are you listening to your doctor, do you hear your doctor?," or "sweetie, why didn't you just put your hair up, you'd have been so much cooler right about now." Okay, right about then is when I would have slugged her....so NO

Option 2 - Alone....uh...no

Option 3 - Sister; I thought very good possibility. We are very close, but she too has a family and I really wanted someone there the entire time - all stages of laboring

Option 4 - Doula? I read about them, talked with friends that had used one

So, we interviewed a Doula our good friends used, Anne Rust of Baby Moom here in Lexington. From the moment she entered our house, I loved her. She was calming, kind, patient and totally there for me. Sure she respected my husband, but this was going to be about me...MOM!

Anne was WONDERFUL! She was on-call through out my pregnancy, taught me prenatal yoga at her studio, which I think is a MUST, and was at the hospital with me (and hubby) from the time I was admitted. She knew exactly what to do and when. If I was thirsty I didn't even have to ask, it was like she read my mind, while my husband (God love him) was not that 'in tune' with me. He was there, but like most men, not really there.....She encouraged my husband and me to write a birth plan so she would know exactly what I wanted if I could not ask for it for some reason. This was great and she WAS NOT intimidated by any nurse, doctor etc...when telling them what I wanted at the same time she respected their space and requests.

I had a phenomenal experience with a Doula and I would suggest one to all couples. They are a GREAT buffer too when you start to get pissed or tired or whatever.....I am a poster child for Doulas! HOWEVER, all couples are different. As we all know, the birthing experience is a very private and personal one. Well, actually it is what you and your husband decide to make it. So, a Doula may not fit your style, but it definitely fit ours....

From Wikipedia,"The word doula comes from Greek, and refers to a woman who personally serves another woman. In Greece, the word has some negative connotations, denoting "slave" or "servant of God," as some doulas have inadvertently discovered through their international social networks. For this reason, some women performing professional labor support choose to call themselves labor assistants. Anthropologist Dana Raphael first used this term to refer to experienced mothers who assisted new mothers in breastfeeding and newborn care in the Philippines[citation needed]. Thus the term arose initially with reference to the postpartum context, and is still used in that domain. Medical researchers Marshall Klaus and John Kennell, who conducted the first of several randomized clinical trials on the medical outcomes of doula attended births, adopted the term to refer to labor support as well as prenatal and postpartum support.

Doula Sites:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad to know someone who used a Doula. I am interested in finding out more - can I email you?

3:21 PM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Please click on the contact us link to email Jen about the Doula. I know she'd be happy to answer any questions you may have!
Best Wishes!

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you

3:50 PM  

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