“Oh I had a natural birth!” friends reply enthusiastically when I tell them I’m a doula. As exciting as it is to hear their birth story, I can’t help but cringe just a little because I know that they haven’t been taught the truth about doulas.
Doulas only support natural labor. This untruth about doulas is just that, a myth. I can’t picture an unnatural birth, can you? I can certainly tell the difference between a cesarean and vaginal birth, or a medicated and non-medicated birth. But in my professional opinion- anytime that you create a baby inside of you, and deliver that baby it was a natural process. Let me repeat that, the process of creating and delivery a baby is a natural one. We have done it for millions of years. There are certainly some fabulous interventions that have improved birth over the years, but it hasn’t made the process unnatural.
I think non medicated birth is fantastic. Thank goodness that the epidural is there for women who need it. Sometimes having an epidural allows you to relax, and for baby to drop down and be born. And isn’t it fantastic that if there is a problem, instead of mother and/or baby dying, you can have a cesarean birth and both live? I think it’s pretty great.
Doulas don’t, or shouldn’t, have any secret agenda. My job is not to ‘fix’ birth, my job is to support YOUR birth. This means working with your friends, family, nurses, doctor/midwife, not against them. If we sit down at your prenatal appointment, and you tell me you want to get an epidural as soon as possible, I will support you through that. If you start labor and realize that you want to do with without the epidural, I will support you through that change. My goal is to support you during your birth, whatever that birth may look like.
Please, if you want to, share your birth story with me! I love hearing it, and I love your joy or excitement when you do. If your birth was medicated, non-medicated, planned cesarean, or a surprise home birth, it’s the story of your baby’s birth. Your story counts, matters, and I love when you share it with me.