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Why Do We Need Doulas Anyway?

I am in this place of trying to figure out what a doula really does. The hoopla around the country about doulas getting certified or licensed by this or that organization has prompted my continued thinking that women can and should be in a place of Power themselves during birth. If women felt power-full, then would we even need doulas?

I proposed this to a few of the women in my mom's group yesterday and got great responses.

One woman had a preemie and his birth was very traumatic and included the loss of this baby's sibling (another third of the triplets she was originally carrying). She said that when things went crazy, she was frightened and her partner was equally unable to be the translator during the craziness. Even something as simple as putting on the cd she wanted to hear... wanted the baby to hear... as he was being born... was forgotten in the distress. A doula, she said, would have remedied that. And she is right. She said that even if she has a planned cesarean next time, she will have a doula to help keep the flow kinder and their family's thoughts clearer at a time that can be overload.

I know that I lose a lot of processing in overload. I use the word "overwhelmed" a lot lately. I utilize those around me that know and love me to play the Fill-In-The-Blank game I play too much. I lose nouns and really worry about how I project myself in the company of clients and business associates. "Can you hand me that... uh... you know, that thing that holds paper together?" "Paper clip?" "Yeah! That's it!" groan

Is that same sort of overload what happens to women in labor? Do we foster it with the mechanization of birth? Do we make birth so complicated we need a series of classes that we have to pass just to get to the birth itself? Do we make birth this way at all or is it the OBs and midwives (usually CNMs) that insist on medicalizing birth so that they are held aloft as the Fixers, the Healers, the Saviors? How can we unravel this silly string (absurd string!) and find some balance in that the doula doesn't become a necessity, but a luxury in-case-of?

What is my role in the brainwashing that women need a doula, a midwife, an OB? Is it brainwashing? Or experience? Creative fantasy? Or reality?

I am in correspondence with someone on a UC list who is having to listen to women who are so radical about UC they believe it is more important for a mother and baby to die than to seek help in pregnancy, labor, birth, or postpartum. She is distressed and cannot begin to counter their intense volume of the What Can Happens in labor. I asked if she thought my laying out a What Can Happen blogspot would be good... one for homebirth and another for hospital birth. She thought that would be good!

I will work on that later.

Reader Comments (1)

I have attended 5 births as a "doula" before being a doula was so vogue. Why? Because the women asked me to be there to be a helper so their husbands could enjoy the birth and I could both be the meany and they could be mean to me. lol. They knew I was a natural birth loving Mom and wanted to be supported through their labor and delivery. What a joy.

We have since moved, so I don't know if I will "doula" any time soon, but if the opportunity comes, I will jump at it.

June 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

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