Today most women are isolated from the tribe; many have never seen a birth or seen a woman care for a newborn. Moms make the best doulas when and if they feel up to it, are around, and have the expertise to navigate hospitals. Unfortunately, up until recently most women have given birth in hospitals heavily sedated, and they were discouraged from breastfeeding. Other’s were misguided by ‘experts’ who told them to let the baby cry and to feed only on schedule. Their ideas about birth and baby care might differ a great deal from what you want for yourself. Staying with our commitment to respect other people’s right to act, we must make sure that who we ask, if not a professional, feels like helping not from a sense of guilt but from a place of confidence. Furthermore, some of us have a lot of ’emotional baggage’ with our mothers and a neutral third party might be just the ticket for our labor, delivery, and postnatal help. Even back in the days were we all lived in the village, it was often a neighbor or a cousin who helped women through this life-changing event.
Doulas work hard and for the most part this job is a vocation that comes directly from the heart. Doulas lose night so that you can rest, massage your back for hours while you are managing contractions, spoon feed you, wash you, whisper words of encouragement in your ears, help you remember your innate ability to give birth naturally and care for your postpartum recovery after giving birth with you and bring you good cheer.
Ok, maybe I was preaching a bit, but I wanted her to understand the depth of the profession. Responding to the original question I asked her, Think of how much you have spent on your wedding dress, honeymoon or the wedding reception. The investment was well worth the importance of the day. Now it’s time to invest in another important time of your life: your labor, birth and the first weeks of your baby’s life. You’ve had your honeymoon, now have your baby moon. A doula brings the village back to where it belongs.