So why I wanted a doula myself was to have an advocate. That was before I became a doula and learned that’s not really part of a doula’s job. It was surprising even to me because that’s always listed as part of what a doula does, they’re your advocate! What’s true is we are your champions, we care, we stand by your decisions even if we would do it differently ourselves. But! Advocacy is speaking on someone else’s behalf, making recommendations even. That’s not what your doula is for. Your birth is YOUR birth, yours, your babies, and your partners. You have to make the crucial decisions.
What your doula does is inform you of your choices. In prenatal appointments with your doula you’ll go through your birth preferences, you’ll learn and understand about interventions. In short, you’ll know exactly what you’re walking into and will be empowered to make your own decisions when the time comes. EMPOWERED to make your OWN DECISIONS.
We are there to answer questions you may have about a process or potential outcomes, both risks and benefits, but that’s where we stop and wave.
The Beginning of Parenting Choices
All through your parenting journey you will be making decisions that might not be easy and may go up against criticism. Mothers-in-law, doctors, friends and Google will all have different opinions and will constantly question your decisions!
-Where will your baby sleep?
-What to do during fever?
-When to wean?
-How much media time?
-Which school/college? etc…
Only you as parents can decide what is best for your child and your family… pregnancy and birth is a wonderful opportunity to practice making decision and standing up for those decisions.
Doula Advocate and Medical Professionals
Doula’s are not meant to advocate because we are not medical professionals. We work with the medical professionals to make up your ideal birthing team. We have our role, your nurses, midwives, doctors have theirs. Our place is to be there as a constant support emotionally, physiologically, and physically. In this blog post, Jennifer Conway so eloquently wrote out the difference between your doula and your midwife.
In Dubai, many doctors do not know what a doula truly does, or even what they are. Some even refuse to allow a doula on the birth team. I think partly to blame is this conception doula’s are advocates, that the doula will speak up against the medical staff if something isn’t going according to your birthing preferences. In reality doula’s have the arduous tasks of walking the fine line between ensuring your informed yet not arguing with the staff on your behalf. Even if we didn’t advise you to say “no” to whatever suggestion has come up, just because we are in the room, a staff unfamiliar with doulas will likely think it was us, the doula, who ‘convinced you not to listen to the doctor’. What probably actually happen is you were informed, and decided all on your own you didn’t want an enema, thank you very much.
This isn’t to say your doula won’t be useful in a stressful decision but it will be more like “Did you have any questions for the midwife about what they’re performing now? ” “Would you like to hear the risks and benefits of this suggestion?”
A doula is there for you and will help to mediate and encourage communication if needed, but we are not your advocate.
Written in collaboration with Doulatouch, Tatjana McDonald.