Friday, Saturday and today, I could be found at the Sweet Little Repeats consignment sale off of the food court at Shoppingtown Mall in Dewitt, NY. The lovely ladies who run the sale let me and a few other doulas from our group spend the weekend talking to the many shoppers about what we offer as doulas.
They are planning another great consignment sale for August. For more information or to get on their email list, you can visit http://www.sweetlittlerepeats.com/
I met a lot of mamas at the sale who are due in July and August, which is hopefully a sign that our doulas will be busy this summer.
A couple things kept coming up when we talked to people. The first was that folks said, "Oh, well I'm having my baby in a hospital." Suprise! Doulas are mostly hired by people who are having a hospital birth with a midwife or OB. We don't replace your caregiver; we are part of the birth team.
Another thing is that people said, "Oh, I'm not having a natural birth." While I can admit that I am a fan of natural birth (and have done it four times myself), people hire doulas for all kinds of births and part of what doulas are trained to do is to support moms through all different birth choices. One hospital in Baltimore offers doulas for moms who are having a planned Cesarean delivery:
Package 2 "Cesarean Section Support"
A GBMC Birth doula will arrive with you two hours prior to your scheduled c-section. She will work with you on relaxation, help to answer questions and concerns, provide emotional support and offer massage services prior to your surgery. After the delivery she will assist in breastfeeding support if you choose to breastfeed. Cesarean doula support provides a constant presence of reassurance for you, your partner and your family.
The Gentle Beginnings website has this to say about doulas and moms who choose an epidural:
I am planning on getting an epidural, would a doula still be helpful?
A doula will still be helpful, offering emotional and informational support both to the laboring mom and her partner. Often, laboring moms will wait until their labor is well established before choosing an epidural. A doula can help you with the physical support and comfort measures during this time of your labor. Once the mom has made the decision to get an epidural, the doula may still offer assistance by offering ideas on pushing positions, reminding mom to have her bladder emptied or giving the partner a break to grab something to eat. Any medication or medical procedure is bound to be more effective if you feel informed and supported during the process.
More than one mom mentioned choosing not to have a doula because they couldn't afford one. What I'd like to say to this is that the doulas I work with are generally flexible about working out payment plans with families, offering gift certificates that friends and family can get for mom and being willing to serve and help out families who truly cannot afford a doula. It's a job, and we do want to get paid, but we also want moms who want/need us to have us there. People also seem to assume that we charge thousands of dollars. The truth is that we only charge around $600, but if you want to pay more, we're happy to accept tips.
Here in Syracuse, our Doula Connection doulas offer support for all kinds of families, all kinds of moms, having all kinds of births.