Doula's and Delivery
For a woman, there is no more transformative experience in this lifetime than giving birth to a child. After that moment, she is never the same.
The experience of birth affects how we move into motherhood, and how we view ourselves. A positive birth experience can do wonders for a woman’s confidence in her own self- worth, strength and potential. Because birth has become overly medicalized in our culture, what can sometimes happen in a delivery room is that women feel pressured, out of control and like birth is happening to them, rather than being an active participant. When that birthing woman is choosing adoption for her child, this can create further space between herself and the experience.
One way to regain control is in hiring a doula, who can help shift the experience towards one of engagement, and ultimately positivity.
An adoption agency offering a doula for a birth mother is NOT standard care. So why does Absolute Love do this?
Our Director, Kathryn Russell, was a DONA certified doula for 8+ years during which time she supported several mothers through birth who had chosen adoption for their children. As a biological mother of 2, she had a doula present for her births as well, and knows firsthand the impact of a doula at delivery. Kathryn wants to give that opportunity to the women who work with Absolute Love, too.
There is sometimes a tendency in the delivery room for the staff and providers to engage differently with a mom who is placing her child for adoption. The knowledge of the adoption plan and presence of the hopeful family sometimes takes the focus away from the birthing woman, and onto the adoption itself. Also, many birth mothers have a lot of additional anxiety during delivery because it marks the end to pregnancy, which means the separation from your baby is happening. That anticipatory grief of placement can affect how women labor, sometimes stalling it or making it harder for them to cope with labor and delivery. Your doula can help you and the staff handle this experience with care.
What is a Doula?
A doula is: “a woman, typically without formal obstetric training, who is employed to provide guidance and support to a pregnant woman during labor.”
What does a doula do?
Constant presence: The reality of the delivery room is that most of the time, you’re solo. Yes the nurses are there, but they come on intervals, take care of you and leave. Your Doc sometimes won’t show up until it’s time to catch, or if there are complications. So, that means much of the time you are laboring alone. Which is silly! Women are meant to be encouraged and empowered during labor. Your doula is there to do just that, and they stay the entire time you’re in labor (Yes, even if it takes 27+ hours!) They are the most valuable support person! Even if your mom, boyfriend, sister or someone else will be there with you during delivery, you can still benefit tremendously from a doula. (Especially when your support person goes to get a meal, or take a nap!)
Enhanced support: A doula helps more effectively engage people in the room to better support you. Many people don’t know what to do to help others in birth; it’s not instinctual. So let’s say you’re in a room and your support person wants to help but doesn’t know what to do. The doula can show them massage techniques, model supportive words, ask them to go get you ice or a washcloth, or simply help relieve their anxiety.
Choices: As your birth process unfolds, there will be countless opportunities for you to make decisions, many of which can be stressful in the heat of labor. A doula has talked with you about your hopes and goals for birth, and can help you take a moment to process new information and evaluate all your options.
Comfort: Doulas have training in essential oil use, massage, positioning, Rebozo, pain management and they collaborate with providers to use these techniques when they’ll be most effective during labor. These techniques can help you avoid pain medications if desired, or compliment the use or pain meds.
Common Questions About Doula's:
I’m getting an epidural, do I still need a doula?: Heck yes! There’s lots you can do to encourage a healthy, vaginal delivery while being medicated with an epidural and a doula is trained to do this. Also, epidurals don’t always work completely and having a doula there can help relieve some pain and anxiety in the event this occurs.
What does a Doula cost?: Depending on your area, a doula is likely to cost $600+ and is not always covered by insurance. In working with an adoption agency, the cost of a doula is considered a medical expense not covered by insurance, meaning that the agency and/or the chosen family will be covering these costs. So don’t let cost deter you from hiring a doula for delivery!
I am concerned about modesty. I don’t want a stranger seeing my lady parts!?: You and your doula meet before delivery. Some offer classes in your home and can include your partner, too! You spend time together talking about your hopes for delivery and any fears you have. Your doula helps you make a birth plan and get prepared for birth. By delivery, your doula isn’t a stranger. And anyway, I promise you, a doula isn’t concerned about your naked body. They’re there to support you and are captivated by the birth process…not your va-hoo-ha!
I have a midwife, can I have a doula too?: Yes, they play nicely together!
*A midwife is a trained medical professional who delivers babies in a hospital setting (or in a birth center) and is capable of doing everything an OBGYN would do during delivery.
When do you come to the hospital?: Whenever labor starts, call your doula. If you aren’t sure, call your doula and she can help you determine if it’s time to go to the hospital. A doula clears their schedules 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after your due date to ensure they are available when you go into labor.
What happens after birth?: A doula stays with you until you are settled in your room. She can help you breastfeed if you are choosing to, or teach you how to use a pump if you will be pumping breastmilk for the baby (Yes, you can do that! And Absolute Love Adoptions will help you with the supplies you need and with shipping!). You doula will visit you once or twice when you get home. Many doulas write a summary of their experience with your birth for you which is cool to have! The best part is having a doula to ask “is this normal” postpartum because you usually don’t see your Doc for 6 weeks post-partum. Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of weird stuff that happens in those 6 weeks!
At Absolute Love, we are committed to kind, compassionate care for our Birth Mothers, and that care extends to you! If you are pregnant and considering adoption, call us. If you are considering adoption and not using Absolute Love, request that your agency cover the cost of a Doula’s services.
If you want more information about a doula at delivery, message us!