Do all pregnant people NEED a doula? (Hint: my answer might shock you)
Not all birthing people NEED a doula.
I feel strongly about this statement and this is an unpopular opinion to many doulas in the doula community, but I stand by it.
Before I go there, let me clarify that I do believe that all birthing people DESERVE support. No one should be forced to birth alone or without someone that cares about the outcome. Since the beginning of time women have been doula’ing each other throughout the labor and delivery process. When labor would begin for someone, all of the village women would gather around the birthing person offering support in many different ways. With experience came better support and better outcomes. This is how the traditional midwife came about.
But do we NEED doulas in the birth space? Did our ancestors NEED someone to hold their hand, wipe their brow or tell them to push? No, they did not. And we do not either. A birthing person does not NEED me to hold their hand. They do not NEED me to tell them that everything that is happening to them is normal. They do not NEED me to speak for them or advocate for them. A doula is not NEEDED in order for a baby to make its way into the world. A doula is not NEEDED in order for a family to have a satisfying experience. Believe it or not, there are people out there that WANT to birth alone. These people feel as if birth is intimate, private and they do not want to share it with anyone else. I SUPPORT THAT!
As of today, doula support is a luxury. It is an expense. It is an investment. It is an investment that not everyone is willing to make, and I support that. A doula is someone that you hire with the intention of enhancing your experience. If you have anxiety about labor and you find a doula that makes you feel calm by the way they speak to you and the way they listen to you, and that doula follows up with you with useful information that is relevant to your situation, then THAT. IS. WONDERFUL. That is the kind of support everyone deserves.
Maybe you have had a baby before, and you had a bad birthing experience. Or maybe something traumatic happened that you are trying to avoid this time around. Maybe you are trying to do everything in your power to not let those bad experiences repeat themselves. Then yes, you should absolutely seek out a doula. If you know you want extra support so that you can help ensure that you have a fulfilling experience then YES, go seek out a professional doula. I support that choice and I will never pressure someone into feeling as if they NEED me in order to birth their baby. If you want to birth alone in the woods, I will sit in my recliner and cheer you on from afar, mother to mother. If you want a room full of people singing happy birthday to your baby the moment it arrives, I will cue the music. There are a million reasons that I could give you for why someone would want to hire a doula. I support all of those reasons but, more importantly, I support that you have a choice.