Pregnant Pagan: Letting Go of the Doula Dream

After watching “The Business of Being Born” and reading Birthing From Within, I was very interested in hiring a doula to assist with my birth – particularly one trained in massage, meditation, and aromatherapy.  They are supposed to be very helpful to women who desire natural births.  I mean, come on.  The idea of some “wise healer woman” attending my birth seemed totally appropriate for a person like me!   The only thing that was preventing us from seriously searching at the beginning of my pregnancy was the cost. I was aware of at least one Doula on the river, but their website did not list cost.  When a price is unlisted I usually assume the worst… We found a doula in Watertown but her fee and payment plan would not have worked with our summer budget either.  And let’s face it…  the baby is going to be born in the summer so we’ll need every penny we can pinch!

For awhile I gave up on the idea of a doula, but we talked to a few at a recent baby expo in Syracuse.  One said she could be more flexible with a payment plan, which was reassuring, but having to count on someone two hours away would stress me out.  The point of having a doula is that she is there to help you relax.  I feel that I’d constantly look at the clock and wonder where she was.  Yet the possibility, and my husband’s encouragement to ask about flexibility, was nice.

My friend Miss Corinne is also pregnant and was able to find a doula! Corinne likes her character and willingness to provide flexible payment plans so she recommended her to me.  Not only that, but she’s local!  My husband encouraged me to look into it.  Why not?   Unfortunately, this doula can’t commit to my due date which I completely understand.  Life happens and I can’t expect the world to stop turning just for my labor!

And so, I’m letting it go.

Honestly, I’m not terribly beat up about it.  I was a bit disappointed at first because it seemed nearly possible, but in the end it feels that the universe was trying to tell me not to worry so much.  And my saying that is not to denigrate anyone hiring a doula!  I believe in doulas, support all women who want one present, and would love to try that route again if I have another child.  The biggest reason I wanted to hire a doula has been because of the reality that my midwife might not be there.  She was very honest about that; things happen, people get ill, etc.  She has made it equally clear that she doesn’t like missing her patient’s labors but that, sometimes, it happens.  Naturally, that worries me – that there won’t be another midwife on call that night and I’ll be stuck with a doctor who just wants to go home and push the drugs on me to get it over with.  It’s just that, I guess, I need to find the strength within.  I need to have faith in my own resolve and, yes, stubbornness.  I need to have faith in my body and in my Kindreds.

And the doula situation is just another reminder that, in addition, I need to be flexible and accept that things don’t always go the way I want or plan.  So it’s not that I am now over having a doula; it’s simply that the universe needs me to learn a different lesson this time and I need to be open to that.

I also need to have faith in my husband.  Weretoad might not always be the most lovey-dovey person in the world, but he is very supportive and sensitive when it counts.  When I had my wisdom teeth out, for example, he cared for me the way I thought only a parent would.  He set up timers and brought me my medicine exactly when I needed.  He spoke soft reassuring words.  He tucked me in.  He brought me water and food.  He helped me walk when I felt dizzy and nauseous.  He replaced bloody gauze for me.  He cleaned my drug-induced vomit from our patio.  Helped me to the bathroom.  You know you’ve found love when your partner helps you through the most embarrassing situations and yet loves you all the same.  Weretoad occasionally irritates me when he plays one too many video games or looks at forums for ten minutes after I ask him to rub my feet, but he always delivers, and I know that, in serious situations like childbirth, he will be by my side with those soft reassuring words and strong hands that I love so much.  My husband will be my doula, or close enough, this time around*.

And if a situation keeps my midwife away?  I’ll have Brighid, the midwife.

* And he totally took a reiki class with me (despite his skepticism) specifically to learn another technique to calm and comfort.

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

12 thoughts on “Pregnant Pagan: Letting Go of the Doula Dream

  1. I wanted one and a midwife but couldn’t have either because of costs as well. I had my little one on base. The maternity ward there was beautiful filled with wonderful people so i’m super happy with it. I tried natural for as long as I could but I couldn’t take the pain after so many hours (my labor was 18 hours but only 20 minutes of actual pushing lol) so I got the epidural I think halfway through. It was disappointing not being able to have a Douala, or midwife and I felt a little like a failure that I got the epidural done but I look back and realized how silly that was of me. Yes the birth is important but I kind of think it’s the least part, at least now I do. The most important part is watching the little one grow and being present with all these milestones in my little ones life. I treasure these moments a lot more than the actual birth. So don’t fret! Trust me once the little one is born you’ll be too busy and tired to think about wanting to have a Douala lol

    1. Thank you for your comment, Otaku! I’m very grateful that my midwife is covered by my insurance. It’s too bad you weren’t able to find one when you were pregnant, but it’s wonderful that you can look back on your labor experience with such a positive attitude. I’m also glad to see that you no longer feel like a failure for the epidural. It’s really easy for me to talk about having a natural birth before I get there! I pray I can take the pain, but 18 hours is a long time! You did what you could and the epidural might have calmed you down enough to get your baby out. Sometimes we need those modern medicinal marvels. You’ve got a great attitude and I’m really glad to know you. Here’s hoping we can get together and chat more. 🙂

      1. Arigato! (^.^) I hope we can too. Oh and I have a tilled uterus so I got server back pains then the front pains. I’m not sure how “normal” labor is but they told me that’s why I felt it a lot worse in my back lol.

  2. lol my hubby plays video games a whole lot too haha. He’s also rather “forgetful” and I have to remind him of things he said he would do. It’s a guy thing I swear XD

  3. I’m sorry the doula thing didn’t work out, but I have a feeling your spirituality will play a huge role in your birth, and really be the “doula” that you thought you needed!

    1. I hope you’re right! I really look forward to hearing about your experience with a doula and am so excited that you found one close to home. Perhaps down the road I’ll have another baby and my due date won’t fall on such a busy time!

    2. And again, I really appreciate your trying to help me. That was very sweet of you to tell her about me and ask about flexible pricing when you yourself have so many things to keep track of and take care of. *hug*

  4. I’m glad that you are at a place where you are okay with this! One of the things that I discovered with my first birth is that it really doesn’t matter how it happens. Either way, when its over, there’s a baby…and that is what counts–what you do with that relationship afterwards.

    I was fortunate enough to have a doula for the birth of my daughter–there is an organization called Operation Special Delivery that seeks to connect doulas for military women and military wives when the spouse is deployed, etc and cannot be at the birth. It ended up that I needed am emergency C-section, and she stayed with me until I was back in my room with the baby–she’d been there for three days by the time she left.

    1. What an amazing organization! I’m so glad you were able to have support when you husband was deployed. And you are so right about the birth. Thank you for your thoughts! I love hearing from other mothers who have experienced birth. It’s been very comforting.

  5. Have you looked into student doulas? I’m a student doula, trained in aromatherapy, massage, and meditation (among other things) but I live in Santa Cruz, CA. In my doula program we are required to attend 3 births for no charge. It’s something to look in to! Good luck to you and congratulations on the new addition to your family.

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