These are exciting times you are living in! A new baby on the way is surely cause for celebration. Along with the pure joy of counting down the months and weeks until your bundle arrives, you may be feeling the need for a bit more support during your pregnancy and in preparation for the birth.
The birthing experience is one that is totally personal and individual. Don’t look to Karen or Jasmine as what they experienced will more than likely be totally opposite than what you are about to go through. Your birth story will be yours and yours alone. So conjuring as much support as you can fathom during this time is surely your right. At times, you may wonder if seeking outside support is necessary because you have your significant other, parents, siblings, friends, and maybe a host of other doting relatives that are super excited to be a part of your pregnancy and birth. I know you love them, and rightfully so, but know that there are people who dedicate their lives to being with women, supporting, and nurturing them during pregnancy and birth. These beautiful souls are doulas!
Yes, a doula is a welcomed addition to your birthing team! Your birthing team is comprised of individuals who each have a special role in awaiting, assisting, and witnessing the arrival of your bundle of joy. A doula is there for you. She is a professional support person knowledgeable in providing prenatal, birth, and postpartum support to mothers-to-be. Her job is to be there for you in any way necessary to help you create your ideal pregnancy and birth experience. Doulas are not midwives. While their roles can sometimes seem blurred, each is a professional in her own right.
When selecting a doula, here are 5 ways to ensure that the doula you choose is a perfect fit for you.
1. Do your research
Unknown to many is the fact that there are many types of doulas. A doula is not a one size fits all. There are preterm doulas, postpartum doulas, adoption doulas, home birth doulas, trauma doulas, and teen mother doulas to name a few. In fact, many doulas provide such personalized service that they can be several doulas in one. The point here is to do your research. Take an honest look at what support you want and need. Then ask around for recommendations of doulas that fit the bill. Interview a few before making a final decision.
2. Cultural awareness
For some, having a doula that is culturally familiar with your traditions and origins may be of importance. As doulas come in many shapes and forms, there is no shortage of doulas who can support you in upholding your specific cultural norms surrounding pregnancy and birth. Remember your doula is there for you. In every way.
3. Identify your budget
Acquiring a doula in most cases will have an associated cost. While there are free doula services in most cities for those who need it, many times your doula will have a fee for her services. Once you set forth to hire a doula you should then figure out what you can afford to pay her for her services. Doula service fees can vary greatly from state to state and city to city. Don’t let your budget stop you. The doula for you is out there.
4. Your support system
Once you have selected the doulas that you’d like to meet with, be sure that your immediate support system (team) is available to meet with her as well. While she is there for you, she will most definitely have contact with the other members of your team. You want everyone involved in supporting your birth to mesh well. It simply makes things run more smoothly.
5. Take your time
Allow yourself enough time to make a decision on who you choose to be your doula. Try not to make a rushed decision because well, rushed decisions can have negative results. You’re positive and this is a very positive time in your life. Give yourself time. After all, a doula is a welcome addition. Let her be just that.
I hope these 5 tips will help you during your doula selection. Doulas are amazing people, with an abundance of selflessness to give. Enjoy her and the warm art that she will bring to your birthing experience.