Can I afford NOT to have a doula?
Having a baby is a very costly business, there is no doubt about that. The good news for those of us in the UK, is that at least we do not have to pay for our births, we get them free on the NHS!!
Some of us may choose to pay for extra scans, or some form of alternative therapy during pregnancy, and of course there will be couples who have had to pay privately for IVF treatment, but on the whole, our view is that birth costs nothing!
Our priorities therefore might be more focussed on equipment and clothes, and for many, nothing is more important than deciding on what type of travel system to buy and who is selling it at the best price. (and that price is very hefty these days!)
So what is my point?? Well, whilst in the antenatal period every mother believes that her baby needs to be transported around in the best affordable system that your money can buy, this means nothing to the baby postnatally if its own mother is utterly devastated by her birth experience. Especially if her ability to enjoy her baby, and get out and about is inhibited by her sense of shock and distress, making the recovery period long and difficult. I wish I could put it differently and soften the wording, but for many reading this, it will be the case. Birth trauma is out there rearing it’s ugly head, day after day for both women and their partners, and if this description doesn’t relate to you, then I’m pleased about that!!
The sad news however, is that it will resonate with many, and for those women, they might have the usual words rolling round their head that say “it’s ok, because the baby is safe and well, and that’s what matters!!” But deep down, you are thinking that actually its not about the baby its about what happened to ME!! And recovering from that, is truly not easy!!
Many women tell us when they are pregnant with their second child, that during their first pregnancy, they thought of birth as romantic. They then describe, that on the day it hadn’t felt that way at all. In fact what they say is that they felt vulnerable and under prepared, not knowing what was happening or what to do at each stage, often coming out of it feeling scarred and traumatised. For those families, during their next pregnancy, they are not thinking of which buggy to buy, they are thinking about how to come out of the experience whole! They want to have a positive view of their next birth, which for most, may well be their last!
Wait a minute though, why am i highlighting this?
Well let me put it like this:- Your birth experience will last your whole life. You can never change it or take it back. Each one is special, and it will live within you for ever, so you may want to have ownership over it and never have regrets!!
So what does this have to do with Doula’s?
Well simply put, it is because they are the best gift you will ever give to yourself, your partner, and your child. A doula will help you to have the birth that you want, no matter what type of birth that is. The support they provide, will give you more confidence during your parenting journey than you can ever begin to describe to your friends and family (even if they don’t understand why you would want to hire one!).
They can also support you through the early days as a new parent, and help you to find the philosophies of parenthood that suit you most. They come with no judgement, no agenda, no pre-conceived ideas about how YOU should parent. They are unique in the way that they work, encouraging you to do what feels best for you!!
If you were to ask me what i give to each client, the answer would always be different. Ask me if i favoured one over the other, and i would have to say no! Ask me if i give to them equally, and my answer would be NO WAY!
It’s the same with my kids. They all need different things in each moment that they reach out to me. For some women, i can literally sit in a corner and do nothing. I might look away so they do not feel observed, or kneel beside them and whisper gently into their ear. For others, i am all hands, and they are getting full on eye contact with some tough love thrown in for good measure! Who knows what each women will need in each moment of her labour, but our experience counts for everything, as we read the room!
As your doulas, we spend time explaining this in detail during an antenatal session. We use our knowledge, our experience, and our instincts to guide us during the time we spend with clients, during pregnancy birth and the postnatal period.
We offer unconditional support to clients, and in return we get rewards beyond words!!
That said, we do charge a fee, meaning we do value the support we offer!
So whether this is your first baby, your second, your fifth or your seventh, the question isn’t can we afford a doula, but rather, can we afford NOT to have a doula??
Image adapted from www.evidencedbasedbirth.com