Okay, I know I have a lot of doula friends, so I don't want this to come out as offensive at all. That is not the intent in any way, shape or form. But, I just have a few questions on why people have doulas.
Many of my friends tell me they have one to offer them the support during labor, etc. I mentioned this to my adorable Sammeriffic a few babies back and asked if he would want one and honestly, it hurt his feelings. His perspective is that HE is my support and HE wants to be the one who is there for me. He feels like a doula would be replacing him at worst and getting underfoot at the very least and that bothers him. I hadn't seen it from that perspective, but once he expressed that to me I totally got it.
Also, we are both rather private about certain things and I don't know that either one of us want another person hanging out with use while my lady bits are getting pummeled and honestly, I would be one who would be very uncomfortable with a doula announcing labor and delivery online with pictures are all that. (I see this all the time on facebook and honestly, I just cringe each time. I know this is probably not just a way to celebrate a baby but also a great way to promote business, but I still wouldn't want someone posting that before I could.)
I don't really know what the privacy standard is on such a thing, but for us we have concerns about this, mostly based on Sambo's job (smart cops never tell the criminals when they'll be super distracted and possibly unarmed if they can help it) and also because we don't even tell half our family when we have a baby until it has been a few days so if someone else blows the secret it would be frustrating. I also wouldn't enjoy hearing my birth story being retold to a crowd or even to one person by someone who isn't me or Sam. I can't explain why, I just feel that way.
I think I understand what a doula also offers besides what I mentioned above: advocacy for a mother and father during and right after labor, an extra set of hands and coaching and know how on all sorts of topics. I think that benefits a lot of families.
For us however, we are really good at advocating for ourselves and Sambo has been amazing at knowing when to take point during labor so I could just focus on birthing a baby and we tend to be very prepared ahead of time so we don't really need any extra hands during labor (Sam knows just when to make the fast food run, heh heh) and I know that when it comes to my particulars in pregnancy that we know them inside and out.
I think doulas also help at home (or maybe that is a separate service), but again, we have always happily handled that on our own too. I cook freezer meals in advance (and with the dietary restrictions around here that is the best way to do things), my mommy handles the kids while I'm in labor and then Sammy heads home and I enjoy being alone with a newborn until he picks me up to go home (I love that day of quiet, it helps me prepare to be home with the herd again). We've never had people stay with us to help and hubs has always had to return to work within 3 days (and we don't expect much different this time) and honestly, I'd rather just get back in the game. I do have a little help with piano lessons from my mom, but that is really about it and I don't know what I would do if I had another person in my house that I had to entertain. It just sounds rather stressful to me.
So, for a person who has an incredible support person during labor, is prepared for everything during and after, doesn't need help sorting out feeding and diapering a baby and who won't need food made, what would a doula offer? It is okay if the answer is, "Nothing, you don't need a doula." I suspect that is the answer and I'm really okay with that. I just want to see if I'm missing something.
On the other side, for the person who maybe had a partner who would value an extra set of hands, someone to advocate for whatever labor wishes they have, who knows some great tips and tricks on newborns and who could use the assistance after baby arrives, please, tell me more about how a typical doula job goes. I'm sure I know others who are curious and sometimes it seems so mystical and undefined. I like definitions and black and white a lot so I'd love to have that information to share with others.
Now, I'll be honest, I'm not looking for a reason to hire a doula. I've had many babies so far without one and I really think it would be more stressful than beneficial to add a new element to the entire experience, but I want to make sure I've looked at every angle and I'm not missing something critical in this decision. Also, I like to refer doulas to those who want one, but because I've never actually had one I'm not really sure what makes a doula a GREAT doula. I would like to know this.
I think doulas are very very useful to many people, I'm just not fully sure I understand the job and I am pretty sure even the very best doula would not have much to do in my specific case. Does that makes sense?
Thanks for humoring me and again, everyone know I'm not intending to offend, so if I have at all, know it is accidental and just me stumbling over my words. Thanks for any insight you can give me.