Doulas, and especially doulas in Edmonton, are notorious for being misunderstood. And when I say this, I don’t mean by our clients but more by the general public. I even find myself when teaching childbirth classes in Edmonton educating my students on what a doula actually does. Or let’s not forget about the countless number of times us Edmonton doulas are met with the response from hearing our profession, “oh, so like a midwife?” or “wow you deliver babies?!” and so on. As funny as some responses can be and as much as we reason with the public not knowing what we do (doulas only recently rose in popularity), us birth doulas really need to do our part in clearing up some myths and fog when it comes to our work. So today, I’m going to explore some common misconceptions that this doula in Edmonton has heard many a time!
#1: Every woman who is having a baby needs a doula
So some Edmonton doulas will disagree with me on this one, but in all reality a woman, or couple, does not need a doula to birth a baby. Babies are born everyday without us! While many feel that all women deserve a doula, and I do believe this is true, all doulas deserve to earn a fair wage and this is often a barrier between us an potential clients. However, doulas are a luxury, and one that is worth the money you spend on it. We really do enhance the couple’s birth experience, and this has been proven through various studies (this Evidence Based Birth article sums it up really well).
#2: If you have a midwife, you don’t need a doula
Midwives and doulas have very different roles at a birth. Midwives are primary care providers and perform any and all necessary medical tasks of a low-risk pregnancy and birth. Doulas are not medically trained, we help moms through education, advocacy and emotional/physical comfort. Read here for more information on the role difference between an Edmonton midwife and an Edmonton doula.
#3: If you have a doula, your partner doesn’t need to do any work
No one can replace the role of your partner in a birth. The birth partner is key because they know you best and what calms you/fires you up. A good birth doula will know how to contribute ways for the two of you to feel more connected, and help with comfort strategies when everyone is out of ideas. Plus, the partner is put on the spot to remember everything from their prenatal class! Read here for more information about the roles of a doula and the birth partner.
#4: Doulas are only for natural births or home births
This myth probably ranks number one in the amount of times I’ve heard it. Too many times doulas are passed up because the couple think we’re “hippy dippy” or don’t go to births in hospitals or will judge a mom for opting in for the epidural. While we do have personality and philosophy differences (spoiler alert – I’ll elaborate on this next), a good doula understands that it’s just as important that we support and help the mom advocate for what she wants in the birth experience. It’s very important that all decisions come from a place of education, and we will provide that… from there you decide the path that you want to take in your birth journey and we support you 100%.
#5: All doulas are the same
Like every other professional support person in this world, not all of us are made equal! Many may think that hiring a doula based on level of experience is the way to go, and perhaps that could be an important requirement for you but not for everyone, as in certain ways a doula with little experience could have a personality trait or a philosophy that just works really well with you. Also, when you book a consult with a doula, that interview is for us just as much as it is for you, because it is imperative that we are a good fit. For this reason, many of us will turn down a couple after an interview that leads to a hire. It’s no beef with you as a person, we just don’t vibe that well! You’ll never be able to open up as much as you can or feel truly comforted if you genuinely don’t mesh well with your doula’s personality. Birth is an incredibly raw and vulnerable time in both the birthing mother and the birth partner’s life – you’ll definitely want everyone who is in that room with you to fit into your team nicely.
What did you not know about doulas that you now know? Have you heard any of these myths before? Leave your comments below!