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Love. Create. Celebrate. : To Doula or Not to Doula

Friday, October 25, 2013

To Doula or Not to Doula

... that is the question... 


28 weeks.
I'm starting to panic realize that there are only a couple months left of this pregnancy.
Only a couple months to think about births. Complications. Breastfeeding. Family. Support.
 Am I ready? I don't feel ready! I don't feel prepared at all!
I'm ok with the motherhood part, but as a first time mother, the birthing part remains a huge mystery.
Then I went to a Mommy themed trade show in Grande Prairie and found out that there are doula's that practice in Alberta, and better yet in Grande Prairie!
I knew of many women who used Doulas when I lived in Ontario, and raved about the results, but I was under the impression that they didn't exist here. Although I was correct in assuming that there are no Midwives here (AB is faaaar behind Ontario!), I was wrong about the doulas.
Thinking that this may calm my nerves, I contacted the Doula Collective in Grande Prairie and I'm on my way to meeting a few Doulas and learning if the process is right for me or not.

Why a Doula?
For me it comes down to two main reasons: 1) Knowledge and 2) Support.
Firstly, maybe it's just because I'm a first time mama, but I feel a bit lost. Am I thinking about everything? Researching the right things? Finding the right sources? Am I an informed mama? Do I know my birthing options? Choices? Do I even know what all these things mean?!?
From what I'm heard...  Doulas can and will equip you with this type of information - yay!
Secondly, I start to freak out a bit when I think about the fact that my mama doesn't live here, and my best friends don't live here, and people that I want to call and ask questions to have real lives that don't revolve around me... who do I have to support me when this baby is coming?
Enter doula. Apparently these ladies can help provide the support that I'm looking for. They support you before, during, and after birth. Comfort me the way a close friend would. Give my husband a break. Ease my anxiety by explaining new concepts, etc. to me.

So far it all sounds great!
We are still on the fence though... there is a cost involved, and the cheap/stubborn side of me thinks "Lots of other ladies did this on their own - I should be able to do it too!"

So this is where I'm stuck: to doula or not to doula.
Hopefully my meetings and my husband will point me in the right direction :)


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At October 25, 2013 at 8:45 AM , Blogger Jen Claus said...

Ooh I love this stuff! I think having a doula would be amazing. If you want to verbally process some of it I would love to chat about it!!

At October 25, 2013 at 9:47 AM , Anonymous Katie Vschaaf said...

It's so extremely personal but I'd say all of your concerns are valid reasons for wanting extra support. Don't forget, every woman in Canada is entitled to public health and a nurse will come to your house every day after birth if you feel its necessary! Here's what I did - I decided not to write a birth plan or think too much about what was coming because I KNEW I was capable and I would just go with the flow and do whatever was best and safest to help my baby arrive. I loved labor and delivery, it was the healing after that sucked. Are you going to to pre natal classes? That will help you both out alot, it was really informative for Greg and helped answer questions for him I just couldn't (he had sooo many questions) haha. I always felt really confident and Greg was really all the support I needed. But we also have a really good baby so maybe I will need more help with the next one. But you were MADE for this mama! You will be amazing no matter who you surround yourself with and you will always know whats best for your own child.

At October 25, 2013 at 6:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Lindi, I love this stuff, too!
I thought about having a doula, too, but decided against it because:
A) It was expensive and wanted to use the money for other things and
B) Most of the doula profiles I had read for doulas here in NL were crazy! Some of these people are nuts and I didn't think it was worth it to pay a crazy person lots of money to be with us through the most intense experience of our lives.
I had heard conflicting comments about whether or not any of the doulas here were helpful or not, so I didn't want to risk it and I figured that if I didn't have a doula to help me have a natural birth, then that would be ok becuase the drugs are free! lol!
I am not sure if there are "good" doulas where you are or not. But I do know for a fact that there are modwives in Alberta. A friend of mine's sister in law is one, but she lives in or near Calgary. I am not sure about GP. I would have for sure gone with a midwife, if that had been an option. A good, experienced, well trained midwife. And a hospital birth. I would not do a home birth under any circumstance (just personal opinion.. but after Zoey was born and spent time in the NICU, it really solidified my thoughts on that).
In the end, I ended up with a natural delivery anyway, without paying the extra money to have one of those crazy doulas around all the time!
I think the main thing is to be informed about all the different comfort measures and pain medications for labor and birth before hand. Do a prenatal class, read, etc. I read some information and watched some videos by Penny Simkin - a well known doula.I think she might have some clips on YouTube, even. I also made Robert watch them. (They were good, but there were some parts of it that we thought were funny and Robert kept repeating those parts during labor, which made me laugh... so if nothing else it helped take my mind off the pain with humor!). The OTHER main thing is to "go with the flow." Don't be too set on having a natural birth OR on having an epidural, etc. because you will be too disapoitned if things don't go as planned, and chances are things won't go exactly as planned. It's ok to have a plan, whether written out or not, but be flexible and willing to change the plan as you go and make the best of any situation. Oh, and try not to think and stress too much! Baby is coming one way or another - nothing you can do about that now, so don't worry! That's what I kept telling myself. That and... This is temporary...The pain would not last forever...This is temporary.. the pain won't last forever!
As for support after baby, a doula might be just the person for that! I didn't have one. I didn't have a lot of support from family, either. But I did have help from a fellow Public Health Nurse, and also went to see Lactation Consultants and had support in talking to friends. Roberts parents stayed with us a few days after we got out of the hospital, which was both helpful and frustrating to have your inlaws there ALL THE TIME :) Especially when you are tired and hormonal, which you will be!!
So to conclude, get a doula if you find one that you feel comfortable with being with you in your most intimate and vulnerable moments that has a good reputation for actually being helpful! I think a postpartum doula would be the most helpful!

Good luck with it all!! Can't wait to hear how it all goes!!


At November 4, 2013 at 2:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm posting this "Anonymous" because some doulas have chosen to not include lay midwives as being midwives. There is one midwife in Grande Prairie. She is a lay midwife. I know several woman who have used her services.
Also just so you know there are many doulas in town google and you should be able to find a few more listings as well as checking out popular advertising websites.

At November 4, 2013 at 3:14 PM , Blogger Lindi said...

Thanks for posting and sharing some information! I did hear from another person that read this post that there was a lay midwife in town as well. I was under the wrong assumption that there were no doulas, but now that I've looked into it, I have definitely found a few doula services in GP. I've hired one now and I'm very happy with my decision :)

At February 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am wondering how you went about contacting a doula and what kind of information you need etc.
Was this easy to do? Do you meet them all at once?
thank you

At February 17, 2014 at 3:37 PM , Blogger Lindi V said...

Hey! I contacted the Doula Collective of Grande Prairie at this link: http://www.gpdoulas.ca/?page_id=29

They set me up with a few people to meet with/interview. It was super easy! I met some of them at coffee shops, but they were all willing to come to my house too. I met with each person individually, and then I just contacted the one I chose afterwards. Their prices ranged based on the experience they have (more experience = more money). Let me know if you have anymore questions!

If you would like to hear about my experience afterwards, you can read the post "My Doula Experience" here: http://lindiv.blogspot.ca/2014/02/my-doula-experience.html


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