Can You Doula Yourself?
A lot of doulas believe with their core knowledge and innate wisdom surrounding birth that they do not need doula care themselves since they already know what they want, what they don’t want and how to plan for the birth. Women “train” their partner in how to provide labour support and how to do specific comfort measures and this can work beautifully in many cases.
However, any doula will tell you that after attending births over the years, women often say “not your hands, the doula’s hands”. Doulas can anticipate the right spot, the degree of pressure and they don’t take it personally if someone is short tempered during labour whereas a partner who is trying their best may get their feelings hurt.
The problem with being your own doula is that doulas provide more than information, birth planning and comfort measures. There are also certain instances where the birth plan changes late in pregnancy or during labour. You cannot always anticipate these changes or how you or your partner deal with them. Doulas help you to adapt to the new path and support you emotionally. They are also a sounding board and someone to review the birth with in the days and weeks following the big event. Sometimes unbiased care that can remain objective is the most helpful aspect of the entire birth.
We also expect a lot from the birth partner and that really is not fair to them. For one hundred different reasons, take the pressure of the partner, give them an extra set of helping hands and provide them with the emotional and physical support that they need to make this birth less stressful.
In the postpartum period, it is nice to have that village already created. If all goes well, it is nice to have someone admire your beautiful baby. If there are challenges, anticipated or unanticipated, it will be good to have someone checking on you and making appropriate suggestions and referrals beyond what your tired brain thinks of.
Does a pregnant midwife do her own prenatal visits? No. Is the pregnant midwife a pain in the ass to her primary careprovider and ask/do things that other patients would never dream of? Sure. How about the obstetrician or the labour nurse? Ultimately, when it comes down to it, they have professionals look after them. Is the doula a pain in the ass to her caregivers and doula? Probably. And that’s okay.
Do yourself a favour, consider yourself worth the investment. Give yourself the same care that you give others. Find a doula who is your perfect match and don’t even think twice about it.