When I tell people “I’m a doula” I often get a confused look and have to explain what that is. That’s ok, other than Gilmore Girls I really didn’t know much about doulas either until I was pregnant. There are also a lot of myths or misconceptions about doulas so I thought I would clear some of those up!
Myth 1: Doulas replace Mom’s partner.
FALSE: This is briefly talked about over on my Doula FAQ’s page but doulas are not there to replace the partner but to work WITH the partner and medical staff making a well-rounded team to support mom. All with different roles. Doulas can also be supportive and helpful for the partner who may be scared, tired, nervous, or unsure of what to do to help mom. The partner also knows mom in a way the doula does not and has that special connection. They can make a really great team together!
Myth 2: Doulas are only needed for natural birth:
FALSE: Doulas support mom’s who wish to receive pain medication and even moms who receive a c-section. You might be wondering if mom has an epidural, what is a doula needed for? First doulas can help maintain a calm, quiet, atmosphere in the birth room allowing mom to relax and hopefully rest up for the next stage of labor- pushing. Speaking of pushing, when mom has an epidural it can make pushing a little more challenging since there is no, or little, feeling. The doula can offer encouragement to mom as well as coaching mom in pushing. The doula might offer ideas to help mom push more effectively such as holding a mirror so mom can see her progress or hold a towel for mom to pull on while pushing. There are also times when the epidural may not completely take so Mom is still feeling contractions- the doula is there to help Mom work through that as well. The list goes on and on. She still offers emotional support and can encourage Mom to advocate for herself.
Myth 3: The doula speaks FOR you.
FALSE: The doula does not speak on your behalf and doesn’t speak up for you but encourages and empowers you to speak up for yourself. Ask questions, gather information, then make an informed decision. It is YOUR birth and a doula can not and should not speak for you or make those decisions for you.
Myth 4: Doulas have their own agendas and/or won’t support my decision if I end up wanting pain medication.
FALSE: Doulas are there to support YOUR birth. We understand that what is “right” for one family may not be “right” for another. Also, you are the ones giving birth, not us. We want to support YOU on YOUR decisions for YOUR birth.
Myth 5: All doulas are female.
FALSE: There are males doulas out there! If there is one in your area don’t automatically discount them because they are male. They can still be wonderful support and may be a better fit for you than a female doula. Interviewing a few doulas is usually a good idea so you are able to find one that you really connect with and that you feel comfortable with. You may be surprised to find that the male doula is the best choice for you! Keep an open mind.
Have you heard any other myths? Or maybe you have a question about whether or not something is true or false about doulas. Comment below and I’ll start another list for Doula Myths: Part 2!