Doulas Can’t Be Birth Activists
“I am hiring a doula because I don’t want (insert any birth outcome here).” How many times have we doulas heard that one? But why? For a long time, birth activists have been masquerading as doulas and promoting advocacy as one of their roles. While to some, this may sound like a good thing, allow me to explain how doulas are different from birth activists and why you may want to carefully decide which one to have attending your birth.
1. A birth activist will ‘fight’ with a medical provider to attempt to get a certain result or outcome. By fighting with medical professionals, support teams are being banned from hospitals. Rather than fighting with medical staff, a doula will speak with you and ask you if you have any questions or concerns. We work together with you, your partner, and your provider to create a harmoniously working birth support team. If you are unhappy about something that is being discussed, a doula will talk with you about how to speak with your provider, help you come up with questions to ask, and can remind you to bring it up the next time they come into the room. We don’t believe you need anyone to speak for you. You are a strong and competent human being capable of making your own decisions and sharing your voice. We just help you find it.
2. When you change your mind in labor (this happens often), a birth activist throws your birth plan back into your face as a way to get you to follow through with it. A doula will check in with you to see what you really want. Maybe you just need a little more encouragement, a position change, or maybe you really do want to change directions in your plan. We will support you as you navigate through your labor, even as plans change. We are not attached to any certain result, we just want you to have the opportunity to make your own choices, have them be heard, and have a good experience.
3. Upon hiring a doula, you have access to a wealth of knowledge and information. There can be an imbalance in the information shared by a birth activist, depicting birth as a ‘normal and natural.’ Is there even such a thing as normal? A doula will send you information if you ask for it and we will make sure to send you both sides without skewing it to favor one result or another. We do not give unsolicited advice. Everyone else in your life will be giving you unsolicited advice on everything from how to feed baby, whether or not to circumcise your baby, when to go back to work or not, etc. At least your doula can be a soft place for you to land and the only person not telling you how to raise your family.
We stand by and trust our clients to make their own decisions for themselves and their families.