“One women’s success can only help another” Gloria Vanderbilt

I think we would all agree it makes sense - right? But is this reality? Read about my experience of women talking about Doula support.

Is hiring a doula a guilty, indulgent, pleasure?

I am a doula because I am passionate about supporting women. It is what I have chosen to do and love to do on a daily basis.

Traditionally, in corporate business, women are taught to be competitive with one another and research shows generally women ask for less money than men and apply for less jobs. Times are changing, but we need to move quicker. You have only got to look at today’s male leaders and their performance during the pandemic and see things need to change. Women should be supporting each other and raising each other up - and have a lot more fun along the way.

Don’t worry, I am not getting all political. In the birth world, it breaks my heart when I hear many of my clients say they feel guilty for having an amazing birth. They do not want to share their positive birth experience with their antenatal group when they meet up, as they feel like it is unfair and boastful. In particular if other mums have had a traumatic experience. The same when I support mums postnatally. Mums feel guilty for spending money on themselves, guilty about being looked after, guilty for getting some well earned sleep and guilty for having a wonderful birth!

Hiring a doula is NOT a guilty, indulgent, pleasure!

Around 5,000 births a year are supported by Doulas

It is thought that around 5,000 births per year in the UK are supported by doula’s, this excludes the doula’s providing postnatal support. Commercial research shows if you have a good experience with a company you will share this experience with 3 other people. If this research applied to doula support, women seeking doula support would triple each year. This is not happening.

We appreciate it can be difficult to tell your mummy friend who may be on her knees, from lack of sleep and generally run down and no family nearby to help, how great you are feeling. But to help each other, we should be open and honest. Right?

If you had the support of a birth or postnatal doula and it helped you and your family, why keep it a secret? It is not a sign of weakness to ask and get help. We do not think anything of telling each other we have cleaners, get our car washed, get our dogs groomed etc. Is this not the same, or if not more important as we are looking after our families health and well being?

Sometimes, as a doula I hear “I feel so lucky…...” Luck has nothing to do with it. My clients research, listen and invest in their birth and postnatal experience. “Doula support” should not be a dirty unspoken word and mum’s should never feel guilty or ashamed for having a positive experience.

If we were looking out for each other we would not have awkward silences, when expecting mum’s ask what it is like to give birth. We would not let the negative birth stories sound louder than the positive ones. Women would hear from their friends that all the TV dramatisation of birth we have all grown up watching, like women lying on a bed giving birth, screaming out in pain, labour starting with waters breaking with a huge gush, is not the reality.

There are too many “my friend knows someone……” followed by an awful birth story. All you fabulous mum’s who have had a wonderful birth and/or postnatal experience need to shout from the rooftops, share all the beautiful details and ensure everyone is listening to your amazing story. Do not feel ashamed or guilty - having a great experience should not be a guilty secret.

"I had a different experience……. “
“I was really nervous and worried about my birth, so I did some research and hired a doula”
“I invested some money in a doula as I wanted to ensure I had good support”

Let’s look out for each other as women, be honest, kind, and let the secrets of doula support be out there. Go on, share the doula love.

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