1. Doulas are for natural birth (or home birth)
This is the most common misconception. I believe doulas are for ALL birth, ALL pregnancies, ALL families. Fort Worth Doulas serve families who are having babies. Period. It's our job to help you have the very best experience and let you know that you still have options and choices no matter how your baby is born. We know how to help you make the very best of your epidural or cesarean whether it's planned or unplanned. (And we will never judge you or make you feel guilty when an intervention is used. We respect you and value you.)
2. Doulas replace other support people.
Your partner/family know YOU best and we know BIRTH best. It is our goal to make your support people feel MORE involved in your birth. We want you to remember them. We would be horrified to think your partner felt replaced. We are there for your entire family, to help your birth run smoothly and to keep everyone involved and informed.
3. Doulas don't like working in hospitals.
In fact, 90% of births that Fort Worth Doulas attend are in hospitals. We love working in hospitals and will help you navigate the system like a pro.
4. Doulas are the same as midwives.
Midwives are trained medical professionals doulas are not. A midwife replaces an obstetrician. A midwife does NOT replace a doula. Midwives are in charge of monitoring you and your baby. If something is wrong, they will make decisions about your care. They do vaginal exams and 'catch' your baby. The focus of the midwife is ultimately to provide you and your baby with a safe delivery. Midwives are wonderful people and many of them also provide some emotional support but they have many other duties while attending a birth and may not be able to juggle delivery while providing for your physical, educational, and emotional needs.
5. Doulas are advocates.
This is a tricky one. SOME doulas act as advocates or activists but professional doulas do not. Clients may have a hard time understanding why this is important but professionally trained doulas really understand the difference. A doula cannot create a peaceful and supportive environment while she's protesting intervention or fighting for an ideal. See, doulas are not medically trained and should not challenge the medical advice given to you by your obstetrician or midwife. Doulas should not discourage you from following medical advice or cause you to distrust your team. We help you to communicate and understand what your options are at your birth and if you are truly dissatisfied with your provider, we can help you find a better fit. Our presence alone makes a statement to your care team that you CARE about your birth so they are usually much more open to your choices simply because we are there. Support means we don't have our own agenda. It means we want what you want. Our own opinions about birth will never trump yours. We will never be disappointed in you because it's not about us. And we don't need you to give birth according to any ideal. We will lift you up, support you and make you feel loved. That will empower you and give you SO.MUCH.STRENGTH. We want you to be happy with your experience.
6. If you can't afford a doula, you can get a "student" or "doula in training" for free.
There is no such thing as a doula in training or a student. Once you are trained as a doula, you are qualified and ready to support. Being a doula doesn't require a medical degree or a degree at all. Doula work requires compassion, empathy and intuition. She will already have the skills she needs prior to training, but the training helps her understand how to use them. It gives her tangible tools to use and fully prepares her for this job. A doula will either be able to support you or not, there is no in between. Her time is valuable. She has left her family (maybe in the middle of the night, on a holiday or special day) and doesn't know when she'll be back. She puts in the same amount of work whether your birth is her first or 500th. Unfortunately some doula training organizations have such little value for the doulas they train, they are told they should not value themselves. Pay your doula a living wage even if it's her first birth. Her confidence in her ability to support you will be reflected in her price point, and will carry over into your birth. You'll want someone who knows they are valuable. I do not believe that I am better than any other doula...but I do believe my time is valuable while other doulas do not.
7. Obstetricians don't like doulas.
Nonsense. OBs love us and we love them. We have many obstetricians who refer clients to us and we have amazing relationships with them. Working as a team creates the best possible birth for our clients.
8. Nurses don't like doulas.
See answer to number 7. We make the entire staff's job easier because communication is enhanced and our clients are more comfortable.
9. If you take a good birth class, you won't need a doula.
Having a doula for support has nothing to do with what you know. Our clients include many medical professionals who really know it all. We have been hired by doctors (including an obstetrician and pediatrician), physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, certified nurse anesthetist, neonatal nurses, RNs, chiropractors (who specialize in pregnancy). Doulas also hire doulas. Support is different than education and while both are important, one doesn't replace the other.
10. Every woman needs/deserves a doula.
There are many, many benefits to hiring a doula but those who say that everyone NEEDS or DESERVES a doula are implying that women are incapable of giving birth without us. They might have a savior complex and may want to attend your birth to vindicate or validate another bad experience. Doulas who say this will often attend births at deep discounts to the detriment of their families and their own physical, mental and emotional health. We wholeheartedly believe in what we do but will not fear monger you into believing you MUST hire a doula. However, we understand that some families who truly want support do have financial constraints. We will happily arrange payment plans for those clients. A normal pregnancy is 9-10 months long and most babies are born 2-3 years apart so we feel this is a great solution when you prioritize your professional doula support.
Thanks for reading!
Fort Worth Doula
Abbey is a birth and postpartum doula and placenta specialist in Dallas/Fort Worth and a mom to 4 children between the ages of 19 and 6.