In her syndicated “Can I Afford It?” segment, renowned personal finance guru Suze Orman was asked by a caller: “Can I afford a doula?” After reviewing the woman’s financial situation, Suze says yes and adds, “I consider doulas a ‘need.'” And you know what? So do I. And not just because I am a doula.
I “needed” a doula during my first birth when my husband and I were left to labor alone in our hospital room, scared, unsupported, and unable to cope with the pain. I “needed” a doula going into my second birth when I was sure I wanted to birth without another epidural, but upon checking in, even though I was managing well on my own, I lost my confidence and reluctantly asked for an epidural an hour before he was born. I “needed” a doula for my third birth when I knew I wanted to experience birth without an epidural but really wanted the assurance a doula could bring. And I was thankful for my doula when, after baby #3 was born, I had given birth the way I wanted since becoming pregnant for the first time.
You “need” a doula if:
- you are fearful of birth and want to increase your confidence
- you want to have a low-intervention or “natural” birth and want trained, dedicated support
- your partner is unsure of his/her ability to help you
- your partner IS sure of his/her ability and wants additional support and guidance
- you are limited to a place of birth that is not your ideal and you want to better your birth experience
- your best friend/sister/neighbor had a doula and she can’t stop talking about her awesome birth
It’s not that you can’t have a baby without a doula. You can. And many people do. But for for women who have experienced birth with a doula and birth without a doula, the difference is meaningful. Doulas are for all women and all birthing scenarios. And even if your budget doesn’t get Suze Orman’s approval, there are many ways to come by doulas for reduced fees (doulas who are in training) or in exchange for services. Check out your local birth network or DoulaMatch.net for more information.