Taking a childbirth class and hiring a doula are not interchangeable, but go hand in hand.Taking a good childbirth class (I think mine is of course the best!) provides solid education to help you understand the processes of labor and birth and how to recognize where you are in labor and more. In class we spend time talking about partners role, about postpartum, about dealing with family and friends, about becoming parents.
Then as your doula I work with you individually to come up with your plans, to prepare both you and your partner for your labor, birth and postpartum time. The birthing persons partner is the person that knows them best and is their closet and best support. But it can be very hard for them as they are watching one of the people they love most in the world through something really trying and sometimes difficult. Childbirth class gives them skills and tools to use and an understanding of what’s happening. A doula gives the partner the support and confidence to feel connected to and to help birthing partner. And the comfort of not having to be the end-all be-all. To be able to take a break to go to the bathroom, get something to eat and know that the doula is there with her. Your doula is the person who you know and feel comfortable with in the hospital of people you don’t know.
A doula is there to provide support to both if labor is long and slow, if labor is fast, when one of you feels like they are reaching the end of their rope and feels like they can’t do it anymore they can turn to the doula to reassure and encourage them. To help find the energy to carry-on to birth her baby. If questions come up during birth and they don’t have the answer they know that they can ask the care provider questions as they learned in class and then ask them to step away for a minute so the two of them can consult with their doula, can share their concerns, she can remind them of the information they learned in their childbirth classes and the things that were important to them that they discussed in their private prenatal meetings.
Once the baby is born the doulas role is not over. I work to make sure that the parents are able to implement the postpartum plan they worked out in prenatal meetings so that they both can get the rest they need without partner having to do everything. I am talking to them both, watching and listening for signs of postpartum depression/anxiety, stress and feelings of being overwhelmed. it’s not just the birthing person who suffer from this the partner goes through some tremendous changes too and often feels the burden of everything, I am checking in to see how breastfeeding is going, how baby is doing. I do a home visit a week after baby’s birth. I continue checking in periodically the next month or so. I am always available for any questions or concerns that come up.
Clients who take my class and hire me as their doula express the highest level of satisfaction and felt the most prepared.
In finding a family member to attend their part is not the same thing as a Doula even if that family member has had numerous babies they don’t understand birth from the other side from the support person side. Doulas have hours of education and training learning how to best support clients in every birth experience possible family members just don’t have that and it’s a different role having a Doula allows the partner to be there for that person and not have to worry about anything else because they know the Doula has their back.