Having a baby can be both, scary and beautiful! For first-time mothers, probably scary and exciting. While there are already many people in the room that are supposed to do things with the best interest of the mother and child in mind, sometimes that doesn’t happen. So, I am considering the benefits of a doula.

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I am definitely a person that has heard of them and know a little about what their purpose is, but I don’t know much else. I know that they help an expectant mother by providing emotional support and they ensure mom’s wishes for her impending birth are met. Story here.

However, I think there’s more to them than that. According to the article, “Our work is in caring for the practical and emotional needs of laboring women and their partners. We signpost to information. We advocate. We make nourishing food. We listen. We fill a role that women have filled for each other for millennia.”

Of course, this is important for an expectant mom b/c while she concentrates on bringing new life into this world, there’s someone by her side to ensure that everything goes smoothly or hold her hand if there’s a turn of events. Like, a checks and balances system for her, which is helpful when her partner is unfamiliar with the process or her needs.

Women of Color:

I have already written a long post about the many, many tragedies that we face when it comes to pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. Post here.

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I won’t go into another diatribe b/c it’s very obvious that we can benefit from the extra pair of eyes, support, and advocacy. However, I will say that I think doulas are necessary and I am glad they exist.

According to the HuffPost, “The U.S. has the worst rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, especially for black women. But having doulas during delivery makes a drastic difference.” This was enough for me. The last thing that I want to happen is to have a baby, but not be there to watch him/her grow up. So, if there is anything I can do to help prevent that on the front end, then I will do it. 

Postpartum

I think doulas are needed the most… after the birth of a baby. Here is where a lot of moms seem to fall through the cracks. This is where that bout of “baby blues” hits or the more severe, postpartum depression can rear its ugly head. Story here.

All moms, regardless of race, are at risk for developing postpartum depression. Here is where I believe doulas come in b/c they know what to look for, as this is a part of needing emotional support. 

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According to the 1st article, “[A doula] will answer the phone when you call at 4 a.m., the sound of a newborn wailing in the background, and she will listen without judgment as you say you are worried you made a terrible mistake with this whole motherhood thing… A doula spots your moment of fear and reassures you in a way that is meaningful to you because she knows you — and you believe her because you know her.” 

I know that becoming a mom, whether for the first time or the 5th time, isn’t easy. There’s always an adjustment to be made b/c things will surely change. Having this kind of emotional support only makes it easier for you, as the mom, especially if you don’t already have one in place. Hell, even if you do, the extra help couldn’t hurt.

Costs

After doing the research for this article, I’m definitely thinking about hiring a doula specifically for the birth and during postpartum. I know that they help in many ways and… let’s be clear, it isn’t free and I know they aren’t covered by insurance. 

The cost of a doula, in my opinion, doesn’t outweigh the benefits that they provide. The last quote I heard for a doula was $800 and it was compared to $3,000-6,000 for a midwife. Altho they have two completely different purposes, one emotional health & one medical health, it really comes down to what you’re looking for and what means the most to you during the process.

In closing

download (1)Listen, I know that women have made it through their pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum without the help of a doula. It’s possible and women do it every day. I’m simply saying that the help is there, if you need it b/c there’s nothing wrong with an extra set of eyes, ears, and support.

Remember to do your own research! 

Finding a doula and vetting them is equally as important as finding and vetting a pediatrician, therapist, nanny, or daycare. You have to find the one that is right for you. She must speak to your culture, adhere to your wishes, and you should have an “inner knowing” that she’s right for you. That connection is too important! 

As a woman of color, it would be riskier if I didn’t have one b/c the odds are stacked against us from the beginning anyway when it comes to maternal health. While I have a great support system in place, I still think an extra person looking out for my emotional health during and after the birth will always be worth it. 😉