The “Not-So-Natural” Doula

I could feel the judgment beaming down on me when I explained to some of my natural birth friends my plan for an elective induction at 39 weeks. I contemplated hiring a doula, but I knew doulas just don’t do that.

I predicted any conversation with these doulas would entail at least two “cascade of intervention” lectures. I wanted support, not criticism, and I knew doulas don’t do that.

I didn’t hire a doula because the “spontaneous, no intervention, unmedicated, vaginal birth at all costs” didn’t appeal to me. I felt safest in the hospital laboring, not my living room. I wanted my childcare secured and my support team present throughout the entire experience, so scheduling a date worked best for me. I still wanted to strive for the parts of an unmedicated birth that did appeal to me, but I felt with doulas it had to be all or nothing, they just don’t do that.

I knew doulas wouldn’t work with me, until, kind of by accident, I found a “not-so-natural” one that did! She was different. She didn’t raise her eyebrows when I told her my plan or try to educate or guilt me out of it. She trusted my choices and supported me unconditionally from the very first pitocin-induced contraction until the new baby was all snuggled in warm after the first feed. She made me feel proud of my birth and confident in my choices, and that is the story I still carry today.

I decided to become a nonjudgmental doula like her, and I began to meet many others just like us. We support people, not agendas. We believe women are smart, strong and right when it comes to their body and baby. We have the knowledge, tools, and experience to help women cope within any birth plan, not just one. Yes, some doulas do that. 

Authored by Karen Dahlke, labor and postpartum doula as part of the World Doula Week blog challenge

Heidi ShulistaThe “Not-So-Natural” Doula

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