If we have met, then you know that I'm capable of doing almost anything. If you've seen my resume, you know I've tried quite an exhaustive list of things. My list of insurmountable tasks to date includes:
- Play the guitar
- Run and dribble a basketball at the same time
- Drive a stick-shift car forwards while obeying traffic laws
- Enjoy sushi
Regardless of lessons, support, strict threats of embarrassment and social awkwardness, I have been completely unsuccessful in these aspects of my life. Now that I have lived for more than three decades, I'm comfortable enough in my own limitations that I no longer try to do any of these things, nor do I care when others tell me I should.
Of course, there are things I'm great at, which include:
- Retaining medical knowledge like I'm prepping for Medical Jeopardy
- Fitting anything into anything, like camping equipment into a car or six more dishes into the dishwasher
- Eating an entire watermelon in one sitting
- Making an audience laugh (in person... so don't hold your breath)
If you've given birth before, you may think you have a sense of how your next birth will be, but you will likely be wrong. Every pregnancy is different, and even Michelle Duggar has been surprised a few times. It is safe to say that for most people, birth falls squarely into neither of these categories.
Giving birth is like riding a bicycle. You may have seen people do it, but you're not sure exactly what it will be like. You will need to find your own rhythm as you go along. The trick with birth is that the size/shape/condition of the bicycle is always a surprise as is the terrain. Maybe your path will paved and flat with some gentle, rolling hills and an occasional breeze. Maybe your path will be mostly uphill and pretty gravely, with a few thorns and a light drizzle. And maybe a bridge will be out on your path and you'll need some magic to get to the other side.
This is where a doula can make all the difference. While you may not know what path to expect, or how to change a metaphorical tire if you get a flat, your doula has a sense of where to go, tips for navigating shallow water crossings, and expertise that help YOU ride that bicycle to the finish line.
How to Know if You Might Want a Doula
1. You don't have a lot of experience with birth and would like to make sure you have an advocate on your side to help explain some of what is happening, or make suggestions about strategies that will help make the ride a bit easier.
2. You are the kind of person who can accomplish most things with good coaching. If you call people when you're driving home late at night because you know it will be easier for you to stay awake, you are the kind of person who is accustomed to asking for the right kind of help and you're open to accepting it.
3. When you think of your close family and friends you realize that you want none of them to be with you while giving birth. This is for any reason, including strange agendas, unfamiliarity with birth, or a truly epic case of halitosis.
4. You're not sure if you want a doula. If it is within your means to hire a doula and you aren't categorically opposed to doing so, my recommendation is to find one. While it is rare that you would want to do so, you can always ask them to leave, but it is too late to find one once your labor has started.
I know some things I can do and some I can't, but I've never given birth. I know that I'd feel much more confident with a knowledgable ally by my side. How about you?
Interested in how a Postpartum Doula will Save Your Life?
I'm one of those people who loves making your life easier (and I believe in you). I am an experienced registered prenatal yoga teacher and a lactation educator.
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