I gave birth the first time without a doula. This was unwise. I thought about hiring a doula, but we were strapped for cash, and I figured my husband could handle the coaching duties. This assumption was unwise. He, bless his heart, was absolutely useless.
And my labor didn’t exactly go as perfectly planned. When things started going awry, I became scared. I went from confident woman who had read every book on birthing to scared woman at the mercy of doctors and nurses. I really could have used a doula to remind me of what I wanted, and what my baby really needed.
So, when we decided to try for another baby, I decided to start getting prepared. I knew that this time, I wanted a doula. I started doing some research. (Well, I call it research; my hubbie calls it surfing the web to avoid doing dishes.)
But my research wasn’t limited to my laptop. I’ve also asked around. And once I started asking, I couldn’t believe how many doulas there were out there! I got recommendations from the baby boutique I frequent, a woman’s Bible study I attend, and even at the beauty salon. My midwife also had several recommendations, as I’m sure would most obstetricians.
If the grassroots method doesn’t work for you, you can always check out DONA International, the largest doula association in the world. They have a “find a doula” widget on their website. Just know that not all doulas are a part of this association.
My next step was to consider geography. We live in a rural area. And while the doulas in my neck of the woods were
more than willing to drive for hours to see me, I just didn’t feel comfortable saddling our family or a potential doula with that amount of gas consumption. I wanted someone close by, someone I could get to in a jiffy should panic arise.
My next step was the interviews. While this can be done on the phone, or even via email, I was more comfortable meeting people in person. I just felt like I could learn more about a person in less time if I met with her face to face.
I asked about training, experience, and philosophies. I asked how they felt about medication and other interventions. I shared my own birth story and closely watched their reactions. I asked them to share their favorite birth stories with me.
I was looking for a woman who would help me stick to my guns in the heat of the moment, but one who would also be willing to change gears if the situation demanded it. I was also looking for a compassionate woman who would be okay with me and all my flaws. I wasn’t looking for a fitness coach to scream at me to motivate me. I was looking for a gentle woman who would encourage me and not let me feel bad about myself. I was also looking for a woman with a sense of humor. I like to think I’m funny, and I was looking for someone who would laugh at my jokes.
And I found her. And once I did, she was not at all what I expected. She is a registered nurse who only works part-time because her real passions are her own children and helping other women bring souls into this world. She has seen both sides of the coin. She understood the story of my first birth and said she wished she could have been there. She is practical, straight forward, but unbelievably empathic. And we are a lot alike, so our values won’t clash, and she will give me that charity chuckle if I need it.
Now, my husband teases me, because we’re not even pregnant yet, and here I am building a birthing team. But, knowing that my doula is in my corner, I feel so much more prepared, and less anxious about giving it another go.
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