Julia and I met with a doula this past weekend and I wanted to share our experience.
Doula - here's the official Wikipedia definition:
A doula (/ˈduːlə/), also known as a birth companion and post-birth supporter, is a nonmedical person who assists a woman before, during, and/or after childbirth, as well as her spouse and/or family, by providing physical assistance, and emotional support. The provision of continuous support during labour is associated with improved maternal and fetal health and a variety of other benefits, including lower risk of induction and interventions and less need for pain relief.
My wife and I have spoken to some of our friends who have used a doula and we immediately felt like it was something that could be a great idea for us.
This is our first baby and we want the transition into parenthood to be as seamless and stress-free as humanly possible.
I'm so beyond lucky to get to work with an incredible woman who will be our birth doula. She is a close friend of mine and she will be present during the birth of our son while we are in the hospital. She will help prepare us for that big day by recommending childbirth classes, educating us on breastfeeding, formulating a birth plan, etc and once we get to the hospital, she will be our biggest advocate and supporter. She will help keep us calm (or try to!) during the labor and she will try to help us achieve our birth plan. You never know what might happen throughout the labor and delivery, so she is there with our best interests at heart to guide us through the process.
So this weekend we met with a postpartum doula who will help us for a little while once we come home from the hospital. She will help me with breastfeeding and she will help educate us about our baby in finding out what he needs. During night time sessions, she will let us sleep and will bring the baby to me when he's hungry and then let me go back to bed. During daytime sessions, she will help us individually go out into the world with him so we can feel confident during that first run to the grocery store while navigating the car seat, stroller, etc by ourselves.
The doula's role is to empower us. And that sounds so comforting and I know we will learn so much from these women throughout this process. When Julia has to go back to work, our postpartum doula can come back and help me while I'm home and trying to heal from the delivery while on little sleep. She will help with dishes, laundry, etc to help run the household so I can focus on our little boy.
Whether a doula is right for you is a personal decision. We feel very fortunate that we can have these women help us welcome our son into this world and help us transition as smoothly as possible into the realm of mommyhood!
As they say, it takes a village.
Here is this week's bump photo!
And I think my wife was jealous of my bump cause she wanted to get in on the action...