TO DOULAS EVERYWHERE, LET’S STOP DEFINING AND START EXPLAINING WHY BIRTH WITHOUT US IS NOT RECOMMENDED.
Recently, I realized it was necessary to update my company’s website. I looked around and researched how other doulas had their websites organized. I did market research on prices and advertising efforts while I was spending time knee deep in SEO. I made an odd discovery in the process. A good percentage of doulas still have the tab which says, “What is a Doula” or some sort of version of the same question. I wondered how many other professions feel the need to have this question as a tab on their advertising. “What is a Plumber?” I made the executive decision to leave the tab off the website.
As a profession, the doula has become more recognized in the mainstream world of labor and delivery. No longer isolated to homebirths or moms and fathers who are fighting the mainstream system of hospital birth in an effort to have an unmedicated birth, doulas have stepped into the light of mainstream acceptance. Why do we still feel the need to explain ourselves and our value?
Most clients find doulas by internet searches after a wonderful new mom friend mentions that childbirth without one would be a huge mistake. By the time they see our website, they are searching for a doula. Why not take this page and fill it with the details of why we are the doula for them?
Why? Because the generation before the expectant moms and their husbands may not be as familiar with what a doula is and what role they play during a labor. The last ten years have brought enormous growth in maternity care in the U.S. which has been mostly driven by consumer choice and desire to avoid the cascade of interventions. They have heard doulas support this well and are verified in studies as the reason why women have shorter, more positive, and better supported births. The generation before never had the option or even the knowledge of the doulas a profession. We have reached a new point as a profession and it is time to accept and own this place with confidence.
Expectant couples, birthworkers and educators should be proud of the fact that consumerism and demanding better, evidenced based care has made an impact on the choices their careproviders are making in Labor and Delivery. Nurses have lobbied for peanut balls for laboring women, expectant couples happily tote their birth balls and relaxation tapes into their birthing rooms and instead of advertising new, gleaming hardwood floors in the delivery rooms, hospitals are advertising lactation consultations, rooming-in and mobility during labor. As doulas, lets be proud as well that we are now an accepted member of the birth support team. No longer looked at as crunchy, adversarial figures, we are looked upon to help a laboring mother cope so the nurses and doctors can provide the holistic care acknowledge does stop the cascade of interventions.
So, doulas, let’s provide information about our role as a doula. What makes you the best doula out there. Let’s tell expectant couples that we are the best choice they can make for their birth. That’s right, pregnant mama, put down the extra, extravagant stroller and save the money for the five hour back massage you will truly appreciate during contractions. The helpful hand and heart of a doula will guide you and your partner through this experience with the confidence and expertise which studies show will help your stay at the hospital or your birthplace be a more positive experience, a shorter experience, and a much more manageable experience than what our mothers had to endure. Let’s save the definition of our profession for our clients to explain to their parents and focus on how important our profession in the Modern Birth has become.