If we’ve learned anything about parenting, birth plans and pregnancy, it’s that everybody has their own opinions on the matter. We commend equally the mothers who get the home births of their dreams and the ones who say, “Hit me, baby!” to the epidural as soon as they walk into the hospital. Still, we’re amazed by the community of birth supporters, and since we’ve come in contact with a few wonderful doulas, we had to ask, “Is there anything you wouldn’t do?” Here, three working doulas spill the tea.
1. Let someone tell you there’s a ‘right way’ and a ‘wrong way’
“As a doula myself, I would never invite someone to be a part of my labor support team if I didn't feel confident that they were there to support my personal decisions from the beginning to the end. Doulas are real life women. A doula should not try convince you that there is a ‘right way to have a baby.’ ”
2. Be stubborn about a birth plan that might have to change
“I would also—and I say this from my own experience—never have rigid ideas about my birth plan. Labor is unpredictable, so be open to the smallest suggestions of position changes to the big suggestions of pain management.”
3. Ask Google my questions
“I would never Google things: Dr. Google is not your friend and most times ends in further fear and confusion. Personally, I would hold my questions and concerns until I could talk to a care provider I trust.”
4. Listen to horror stories
“On that note, I would also avoid listening to people's horror stories. It’s OK to stop people in their tracks and say, ‘I appreciate it, but I don’t want to hear your mother’s/sister’s/friend’s birth horror story—and yes, that includes emailing me scary articles.’ Keeping boundaries up for positive energy is the most important thing to me when I am pregnant.”
5. Wing my birth and postpartum plan
“As a doula I would never just ‘wing it’ with my birth and postpartum plan. I'm fully going to make sure I have a full support system in place(think: family, friends, postpartum doula, lactation consultations, meal trains, etc.). I don't think there is such a thing as ‘too much support’ when you have a newborn. I'm definitely a planner so I would like to have some sort of plan set up with my local family and friends of when they plan to visit me and the baby and what they plan to bring us.”
6. Play ‘hostess with the mostess’ after birth
“That said, I also would set concrete time windows because a new mother never wants to feel like she is hosting her guests. I also know as a new mom a lot of the time ‘plans’ and even the idea of ‘time’ go out the window...so I would try to be as realistic as possible about that as well when making said plans.”
7. Skip the baby shower!
“As a doula I would NEVER skip out on having a baby shower/baby registry. Baby stuff is expensive, and I would want all the gifts I can get. Even if they are hand-me-downs. Side note: I've ghost-written the thank you cards for three of my postpartum clients’ baby shower gifts. I very well might have my postpartum doula do that for me as well.”