Doulas: The Pregnancy and Baby ExpertsDoula
I’m currently standing in the Apple store waiting for a computer genius to help me with my iphone.
First world problems I know, but since I received an Apple Watch as a Christmas gift my phone has been acting up. I have spent hours on the phone with support and finally ended up here to get help from the experts. It’s a Sunday afternoon and the place is packed. Of course there are many that are here to purchase the latest gadget, as a firm member of the cult of Apple I completely understand, but over half the people are here for help with their device, classes, advice, or Genius Bar apps. We know that to make things easier and smoother you come to the experts.
We have no problem doing this with our phones and other technological devices, so why do we have such an issue seeking out expert help when it comes to pregnancy, birth and babies?
Sure, many people attend prenatal classes, but that number is shrinking, and many are going to classes only at the end of the pregnancy. As well, as with a new device, it’s so hard to talk about birth and babies in theory...it’s only when you’re in it, when you’re in the middle of the event that you realize how much support you need.
Are we depending on our health care providers? Well, we are lucky to be in Canada where everyone has access to amazing care, but the reality is that with the number of babies being born in southern Alberta our doctors, public health nurses and midwives can be too busy! They’re trying to be everything to everyone, but they have limited time to dedicate and limited availability. They are of course the go-to with medical questions and concerns, but they don’t have the luxury of long conversations and visits.
Of course, we have books, the internet, and the new parenting apps that are being released everyday, but just like troubleshooting your phone, reading about it, or trying to follow a YouTube tutorial just isn’t the same. Everyone has a friend or family member who has had a baby, and of course they all have opinions and are “experts”, but just like asking for tech help, friends and family are usually more trouble than they are worth.
So, what is the hesitation in seeking out expert help? Are we conditioned that “birth is natural” and it should “just work?” That answer is probably yes! Much like your body knew how to grow a baby technically, your body knows how to get it out and feed it, but the reality is that we as a society have lost a lot of the cultural wisdom we had when it comes to pregnancy, birth and babies. We often do not have a lot of newborn experience and most of us have never seen a baby born!
The reality is that much like technology, most of us have no idea how the whole “having babies” thing works, and unfortunately you can never go back in time, and re-do the experience. You can always buy a new phone, but if your birth is unexpected, or you have regrets over not knowing your options, or frustrations over what “could” or “should” have happened there’s no do-over.
In order to get the most out of your experience, in order to feel calm, relaxed, and supported in your birth, seek the expert! Arm yourself with all the help and info you can! There is no tech support for labour and babies, so make sure you have everything you need before you need it.
Think of your birth or postpartum doula as your Apple Care...these days it’s invaluable. Hiring a doula can be a necessary tool to give you security and peace of mind. As with your expensive technological devices, doesn’t your birth and baby deserve the same?
Heather Crossan is a certified DONA birth and postpartum doula certified Lamaze childbirth educator, certified breastfeeding educator, as well as a certified Henna artist. She has been an active doula in Calgary for the past eight years, is the past-president of the Calgary Doula Association, and was the former provincial representative of Alberta (SPAR) for DONA International. She is also the only DONA Advanced doula in Alberta. Heather is also a birth doula trainer and the owner of Doula Essentials. She is well-known within the international doula community and greatly respected by the medical providers in the city of Calgary and surrounding areas. She takes great pride supporting her clients through the entire journey.