Why Hire a Doula? | Toddling Through the Silicon Valley | Cheryl Bac | Palo Alto Online |

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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Why Hire a Doula?

Uploaded: Nov 22, 2014
When our son was born I didn't know much about birth or postpartum doulas. Both were probably mentioned during our childbirth preparation class, but I didn't look into either service. I didn't know how painful/long labor could be, how hard it would be to make decisions during labor, how exhausting it can be to recover from childbirth, how hard it can be to see dishes and laundry piling up, how often newborns need to be fed and changed, and that sleeping when baby sleeps is not always enough rest. And I definitely didn't realize how amazing it is when someone steps in and helps you during this major life event.

A couple of weeks after our son was born, a friend told me about a coffee-hour hosted by doulas. I loved this outing and tried to attend weekly. The doulas gave us advice, held our little ones while we ate, and offered a listening ear when we just needed to vent. Even though the meetup was intended for the "fourth trimester," we were warmly welcomed each week as our newborns became infants and then babies.

When I became pregnant with our daughter we started the search for a doula. And this time we hired two.

As a second time mom, I knew a little bit more about what I was getting myself into. I knew what I wanted and was not afraid to ask for it. However, being a second-time mom, it was not easy to find doulas who met our needs.

As I discussed in a post during my pregnancy, we wanted a doula who could provide emergency childcare for us if I went into labor when our relative was unavailable to watch our toddler. And during the first few weeks postpartum, I wanted a doula who would spend the majority of her time tending to my son. I felt quite comfortable taking care of a newborn, but I was worried about how I would recover with a toddler at home.

Although it was a challenging search, we couldn't have asked for better doulas. If you are pregnant and haven't looked into hiring a doula, it might be a service worth checking out. Here are some local resources available:

1. Blossom Birth's Meet the Doula Event. Although I went on a day with only a handful of doulas present, Blossom Birth was wonderful in helping us find a doula.

2. Ask friends. One of our doulas was actually recommended to us by a friend from the East Coast.

3. Check out a doula matching agency, like Baby Steps Doulas.

4. Look through BABI (Bay Area Birth Information).

Did you hire a birth and/or postpartum doula? How was your experience? How did you find a doula?
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Posted by Mother of 4 , a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Nov 22, 2014 at 10:15 pm

A doula is something I have no experience with, having been fortunate enough to always have a mother or mother in law willing to fly in early and long enough to provide adequate cover. This has been mixed blessings and probably a blog topic in itself, but it was something that met the need for our family.

Saying this, the need for a doula as described by you is probably a phenomenon of modern family dynamics. In generations past, the older women were able to step in and perform midwifery, as well as support the older children and the running of the household until such time as the new normal routine starting becoming more orderly. In an ideal society, would this be the best solution even today? Not so sure as when you get more than one woman trying to put her signature on the way things are organized in the home, disagreements and conflict are quite often result.

For me, would I have chosen a paid doula rather than a keen grandmother in the home? Although I can see that there must be some advantages, the biggest disadvantage for me would have been the deep hurt I would have invoked in the relationships with the two grandmothers of my children.

I suppose it is true to say that with each birth, the problems and blessings of having a grandmother in my home were something I never questioned but just added to the trauma of change. The fact that on each occasion, being able to wave goodbye and get my home back into my own hands, no matter how disorganized and tired I felt, was always the best of feelings.

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Nov 23, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4 - Thank you for sharing your experiences with your mother and mother-in-law stepping in to help. It sounds like it was a great solution for your family.

I'm curious how many families hire a doula even when mother or mother-in-law is available to help out. I would imagine that it would be wonderful to have the love and care from a relative while also having the expertise, training and support of a doula.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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