That IS the question.
What is a labor doula?
You may be wondering what having a doula looks like and/or what the benefits could be. Keep going if you’d like to read an interview of a recent client’s experience with having a labor doula!
Lina: Before our first meeting, what was your understanding of a doula?
Konesha D: I just thought they showed up on delivery day or at a home water birth. I didn’t know about the educational component.
Lina: Why did you want a doula?
Konesha D: I wanted the advocate part of it. I was told often that they don’t listen to African American women while they’re delivering and I wanted someone to be supportive of and advocate for me.
Lina: How did you envision your birth to be?
Konesha D: I wanted a home water birth, but I was scared. Then, I thought maybe I’ll go to a hospital, but still have a natural delivery.
Lina: How did you feel about everything before our first meeting?
Konesha D: Scared. I often felt so afraid of the unknown, especially since I’m a first time mother and have read and heard so many horror stories about pregnancy and delivery. There was also a lot of info to think about. I felt very overwhelmed and uneducated about a lot before meeting with you.
Lina: How did you feel after our first meeting?
Konesha D: I felt a lot more relaxed and relieved. I was still overwhelmed a little, but much less stressed and worried. I know how loved ones can be, so I wanted someone who was unbiased and not emotionally attached to me. It helped that you are a mom and had an idea of what to expect, even though you never know what to expect; it’s still nice to have someone who has been through it. It was also helpful to see the different laboring positions beforehand so I had an idea of what I liked and didn’t like. I felt very informed after, especially about my rights and your role. You mentioned a lot of small and big things I never thought about, like which entrance to go to when in labor?! I knew I would have support and care before, during, and after labor.
Lina: How did it feel to have unlimited phone support up until labor actually started?
Konesha D: It was very nice, especially later in the day. It was beneficial being able to have someone to call with concerns after business hours. I feel like when you call the doctor or hospital, they say you’re fine, to only call for emergency situations or they want you to go to the emergency room when that may not be necessary. I felt like you cared more, not saying they didn’t, but it’s a different kind of care- much more personal and empathetic.
Lina: Some people wonder, do I need a doula if I have a partner or family member in the room with me? What role was I for you in your experience? Did you ever feel like I took anything away from your mom or husband?
Konesha D: Oh no, I never felt that way at at all. Everyone was actually happy and more relaxed because you were there. I actually felt you moreso added to the experience. I felt like if I would’ve asked for medications with my husband/mom there, they would’ve gotten it for me because I was in pain and asked for it. Even though I would have asked for it, I really didn’t want it; what it really meant was what I was doing wasn’t working and I wanted to try something else. You helped me with my breathing, different laboring positions, and just being comforting. I wanted to go natural, but didn’t know about the amount of pain it really was. I don’t know if I would’ve done it without meds without you, but I felt more relaxed and comfortable to go without meds with you there. When one thing didn’t work, you would find something else that might help.
Lina: How did having a doula in labor make you feel?
Konesha D: It made me feel good, important, and valued. Doctors aren’t really personable. I felt like you cared. You asked what I needed and were openly willing to help before, during, and after labor. I really appreciated it. You helped me map out a delivery plan to help when the big day arrived. I woke up and knew it was time, but felt more relaxed with the plan of action we went over.
Lina: What would you say some benefits are for having a doula?
Konesha D: Peace of mind before, during, and after labor. I had peace just from your presence alone/personality. Your spirit was connected with ours. Having you there was peace for me. So many things you think about, worries, etc. but I remembered, “she told me about this, let’s try this” as far as different exercises/positions. It was helpful to have the education before. I was a little more relaxed because I knew what might work for me as far as comfort in different laboring positions.
Lina: What would you tell another parent who is considering having a labor doula?
Konesha D: It’s very much worth it. You can read stuff online, but it’s better to have someone there present and to support you. It’s something parents should definitely consider. I feel like it is the missing piece to have and in retrospect, having a doula is a necessity. You have your doctor, family, then you need a doula! The educational part is definitely needed, especially for a first-time mother. My mom now advocates to others about the value of having a doula because of my experience in having one. She said she wishes she had one while delivering her children. From little things, like taking a tour to know where to go on the big day, to big things, like the importance of breathing is in the delivery process. You were there to educate and guide me along the way. I can’t thank you enough for such a great first experience delivering our beautiful blessing.
Lina: Thank you so much for your time, Konesha! It was an honor being able to work with you and your family. <3
I hope you all enjoyed reading about Konesha’s experience and hope you will give us the opportunity to work with you for your next birth!