Last week I walked you through some guided imagery that directly correlated to who is on your “birth team.” If you have not read this previous post, check it out here.
Now, before we get started, I would like to identify who our team players were in the previous post:
Wide Receiver: as you may have guessed, the Wide Receiver is the birthing mother. She is strong, confident, and elated to meet her baby.
Quarterback: the care provider (OB/Midwife) is represented by the Quarterback. He/She knows all the plays, knows all the routs, and is savvy as all get out.
Tight End: the Tight End is played by the partner. They are there the entire time, a constant; someone who helps through every obstacle and brings feelings of safety and trust into the birthing atmosphere.
Fullback: the doula represents the Fullback. She is a persistent and unbiased force to be reckoned with. She has tricks up her sleeve that would make a magician proud.
As you can see, ALL of these team players matter. They are all vitally important.
As Doulas, we often see expectant parents choosing their care provider based on a referral from a friend, or one that may be convenient in proximity to their home. While there is nothing essentially wrong with this, the parents stick with this choice and don’t realize that they can shop around. It is important to remember that your provider, as well as your doula, work for YOU. So call around to several practices, birth centers, and offices. Set up an interview with a potential care provider to see if they match your personality and birth expectations. If your intuition is giving you a red flag, it’s okay, just move along to the next one.
Now, we cannot stress this enough. If you want a certain outcome for your birth, you should find a provider that supports you fully in the path that gets you there. For example, if you would like medication to relieve pain during labor, you should not consider a midwife; they do not have the equipment to administer pain medication. On the other hand, you should not have an OB that does not support you if you would like, for example, delayed cord clamping; your birthing time is not the place to be arguing over what you would like. We doulas could tell you very unfortunate stories of stress in the birth room because the Care Provider and the couple were not on the same team. This goes for both OBs and Midwives.
Just like in our guided imagery story, a quarterback that is pitted against its team (or vice versa) cannot possibly win. (Que scene from The Longest Yard where his team is revenge-bent against him.) Many doulas believe that women CANNOT birth angry; it’s impossible. So choose a provider who will support you fully, who will make you feel valued, and who will do their best to give you the birth that you dream of.
Second, it is just as important to find a doula who is supportive of you, your lifestyle, and your wishes. A doula should be the one person on your birth team who has no opinion on how you decide to birth. Their role is to offer you unbiased support, plain and simple. If you feel, during the initial consult, that a doula is being pushy with their beliefs or their personality doesn’t jive with you, thank them for their time and interview another. It’s that simple.
Finally, encourage your partner to be on board with you. Try taking a local birthing class together, reading a book together, or watching a documentary that can educate you both on childbirth. All of these things will encourage your partner to learn and grow with you, so that you both can be on the same page.
The great thing about Foothills Family Doulas is that we have all those wonderful tricks up our sleeves. We know the birth community here in the Upstate. We can recommend an awesome Care Provider who will support your wishes for your birth. We can also recommend a local birthing class, or we can educate you ourselves right in your home. If you are having regrets about the Care Provider that you have already chosen, we can help you make the switch, no matter how far you are in your pregnancy.
In the end, your birth is about YOU and we can help you find the winning team.