Expecting a baby can be exciting, and daunting. When you’re a military family, there are several things which can make the delivery process a little more stressful. Doulas are a great way for you – as the expecting mom – to have some support. If your family is far away or your spouse is deployed, using a doula can help make the process more comfortable.
A doula is a support system and a coach; a sounding board for your fears and concerns. Doulas are trained professionals that have an immense amount of knowledge about childbirth. When deciding to use a doula’s support services for your birth you should first decide with your partner what your ideal birth looks like. Doula’s serve many purposes, especially in the military community. Deciding what kind of birth you would like is the first step. The majority of couples hiring doulas are attempting natural childbirth meaning a drug-free, vaginal childbirth. A couple may hire a doula in this situation as a natural birth coach, natural pain relief specialist, or natural birth advocate (if they are in a non-supportive environment).
Doulas are all trained in natural pain relief techniques and as third-party advocates who view situations with fresh eyes. A doula is also trained to see a situation for what it is. It is very difficult to see how something is not going the way you intended while giving birth. A doula can help you reassess a situation and re-evaluate goals as information changes.
Deployed Spouses and Doulas
In the military community, it is very common for a spouse to hire a doula to replace their service member’s presence in the delivery room during. This is a wonderful concept, even if you have no intentions of attempting natural childbirth. Doulas are trained to care for you and make way for baby. They can also help facilitate conversation between you and your absent spouse. Doulas have been known to have contact with the partners in order to prepare them with the right vocabulary and expectations for births as well.
Doulas are not in the delivery room to take the service member’s job away. The service member will hopefully, still play a very active role in the delivery room, but with a doula on board, there is a significant sense of relief for all involved. If possible, the doula should have at least one conversation with the deployed partner to discuss roles and expectations.
The Cost of Delivering with a Doula
The cost of doula services varies drastically from state to state and region to region. Doulas have been known to offer their services for as low as $300 to upwards of $1000. The services offered should be similar regardless of the price tag. The majority of families will ask grandparents to go in on the cost as a gift. This is a beautiful idea. A doula that costs a small fortune is not necessarily better than a more affordable doula. Interview. Interview. Interview. Doulas are on call from 37 weeks onward, no matter the time of day, or inconvenience.
But Doulas are Strangers!
When you hire a doula to attend your birth, you should see that individual a minimum of 2-3 times before delivery day. There are many reasons for this (i.e. paperwork, health history, etc) but the biggest reason is to get to know you and your desires better. As a doula, getting close to clients is the best case scenario, but it does not always happen. Part of the process of hiring a doula should include an interview. This interview goes both ways. You or the doula may decide that the personalities do not fit. THIS IS PERFECTLY FINE! You are not going to offend a seasoned doula, by going with someone else. This person is going to be at one of the biggest moments of your life, it is ok to be picky.
In these pre-delivery meetings, it is also very important to discuss comfort levels. If you hate to be touched this is a good time to bring this up. If you think you may want prayer or meditative music involved in your delivery, bring it up. Every single mother is different. As a doula, it is their job to supply these questions for the client, but feel free to share all of the details about yourself that you feel are important.
People hate to discuss “worst-case scenarios” but your doula may bring it up. It is very important to understand the progress, or lack of it, prior to giving birth. If you are a first-time mother, ask all of the questions you need to understand. There should not be any surprises in the delivery space. Your doula will be giving you play by plays as situations change. You need to understand what is being said to you.
The Details of Delivering with a Doula
The detail of payment is expected in full by 37 weeks gestation in most situations. Do not wait until 36 weeks to find a doula. If you have no other choice then it is likely you will be able to find one, but it is better to begin interviewing doulas in the second trimester. Doulas can never plan out too far, so there is no shame in contacting a doula at 10 weeks. The earlier you choose a doula the more time you have to get to know each other.
After delivery, many doulas are with their client for 2-3 hours after the birth. During this time the doula may be helping you to learn to breastfeed. A doula may be playing referee between family members but most importantly the doula is meeting all of the new mom’s needs. A doula should always offer home visits after delivery. Typically, a doula will check on mom and baby once during the first week they are home and a second time in the first month. USE YOUR DOULA AS A GOLDEN TICKET FOR RESOURCES! Once the “birth cocktail” wears off you may run into obstacles with your new little love. Anything ranging from cradle cap, weird belly buttons, cracked nipples, and tongue ties. Your doula will be in the know about local resources and recommendations to help you and your newborn get the hang of this new daily life.
Destined to Deliver with a Doula
As females, we were destined to perform some of life’s most primitive and divine acts surrounded by sisters. Subconsciously, we all want the support of other women in our lives. By hiring a doula you are surrounding yourself with a very specific kind of tribe. If you see the beauty in the camaraderie of Girl Scouts and Sororities then you should see the beauty in inviting a doula into your space. Women need each other’s knowledge, especially when it comes to something as special as childbirth. Open your hearts and minds to the benefits of Birth Workers and learn from each other to create the best experience possible.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Living Like a Local: Birthing Options for Military Families around San Diego