3 Reasons You Want Childbirth Education and a Doula
Imagine running a marathon with an experienced marathon runner or running coach. It is always more enjoyable to run with a supportive friend like this who helps you see your own strength and pushes you beyond what you thought possible.
Imagine, however, that you have this fabulous coach and running partner but you haven’t trained at all for your marathon. You knew that your friend would be there so you figured you could rely on their knowledge and experience to carry you through.
Things go well for about the first two miles.
Then this all seems like a pretty bad idea.
Hiring a doula for your birth without preparing yourself mentally for birth is just such a prospect. While her presence at your birth will be helpful, she simply cannot fill in all the gaps that could have been filled only by you and your own study and preparation.
Here are 3 reasons you want childbirth education and a doula for your birth.
Childbirth education helps prepare your partner too-
This is one of the most dramatic benefits of taking a birth class. Some women love to read and research and they will fill their mind with lots of great information on their own before the birth. Fewer partners are thus motivated. A childbirth class that they take together that encourages them to work together and communicate can help fill this.
If your birth class is well organized and meant for both people in the relationship, the partner will feel prepared and excited for the birth and know how he can help with everything. He will also see the value of a doula for the experience and for supporting him.
Preparing together before the birth is key! A great birth class does this. A prepared mom can easily be spooked during the birth process if her partner is frightened and doesn’t recognize normal labor like the signs of transition or pushing.
Learn together! Then your doula’s presence and support can be truly supportive rather than scrambling to stop freakouts.
Your doula’s main role is to provide relational support-
We often talk of doulas as providing informational and relational support, but a doula can only do so much with her limited time with you. Most doulas provide two prenatal visits. She could spend this time cramming childbirth education into a few short hours.
While she could do this, she probably shouldn’t because this makes it really difficult for her to get to know you and your specific birth desires.
Your doula wants to be bring her absolute best to your birth. This means knowing what you want, your family dynamic, your partner’s needs, your fears and wishes- and this means focusing on relational support in those visits rather than an information dump.
Getting a comprehensive childbirth education elsewhere allows the unique doula/client relationship to blossom without being rushed or forced.
That’s a beautiful thing.
Labor IS like a marathon-
We began this article with a marathon analogy because the prep required for a marathon is something like that required for birth. You have about 9 months to prepare for the birth of your child, and marathon runners often spend at least that long preparing for a marathon. They don’t meet twice with a coach and call it good, hoping for the best and relying on their natural ability to run, just because their mom or sister once ran a marathon.
The relational support of loving women (like a doula) at your birth is really awesome and an important part of the process, but it isn’t all of the preparation you need.
Birth, like a marathon, is an intense physical event. You can prepare yourself through pregnancy exercise, excellent prenatal nutrition, physical relaxation practice, labor practice, group discussion and much more. All of these things increase confidence, prepare your body for a physically demanding event, and prepare your mind for the mental strength necessary.
You don’t just want people standing on the sidelines cheering for you at your birth- you want to be prepared yourself.
Oh, and birth is usually a lot longer than your average marathon!
Birth is a huge life event. For most of us, we don’t realize how big of an impact it will make on our lives until it is over. Why not prepare in any way possible for a great experience? With the relational support of a doula, plus the mental and physical preparation offered by a childbirth class, you can know you did everything possible to prepare for your best experience!
Check out this video to learn more about how childbirth education can build community and knowledge before your birth.