I’ve recently had some folks confused when I tell them my clients are having their babies in the hospital. A recent example went a little something like this:
Me: “Oh I have a client getting induced today.”
Other person: “Really? How does that work?”
Me: “Well, they go to the hospital and typically need to get their labor induced with medications.”
Other person: “Oh, so they go to the hospital?”
Me: “Yeah, that’s where they are giving birth.”
Other person: “Ohhhh, I thought you only did homebirths.”
I don’t blame my friends/acquaintances for not knowing exactly what a doula does. Unless you’ve had a doula yourself or are in this birthy world, you might have a misconception that doulas only do homebirths and believe that unmedicated births are the only way babies should come into this world.
So I’m here today to dispel that notion. Do I believe homebirths and out of hospital (aka birth center) births are great? Absolutely! I certainly think these options are great for folks who feel safe and comfortable birthing in their own homes/not in the hospital. And I fully support people who want that. I myself will likely choose this option when I have a baby (no, I’m not pregnant since I know people will wonder).
However I also think hospitals are wonderful places to have babies. And *GASP* I also think that medications and pain relief (aka epidurals and IV meds) during labor are awesome tools to have and utilize should the need arise and the birthing person want them.
I want to reiterate to all people who are curious about what a doula does, that not all of us are adamant about unmedicated, out of hospital births. And while doulas who specialize in homebirths or unmedicated births do exist, it does not mean that ALL doulas practice this way. In fact, I’m a big believer in doulas and support people remaining completely open to all possibilities of birth. Even those who wish to birth outside of the hospital could encounter a situation where transfering to the hospital is the safest route. This is why I don’t believe in birth plans – we cannot plan births!
I had a good friend and recent new mama recently tell me, “There is space for all kinds of birthdays. Like there is space for all kinds of people,” and I couldn’t love a statement more. It sums up precisely how I feel about birth. I want to encourage those who have felt judged or less-than because of their birth stories that no matter how your baby came into the world, you are a warrior. You grew and nurtured and brought a baby into this world, period. The end. No further explanation needed.
A good doula knows that there is no right way to give birth and they will support you and your choices no matter what. If you come across one who doesn’t practice this way…keep looking. Good ones are out there, I promise.