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By Cheryl Bac

Why Hire a Doula?

Uploaded: Nov 22, 2014

When our son was born I didn't know much about birth or postpartum doulas. Both were probably mentioned during our childbirth preparation class, but I didn't look into either service. I didn't know how painful/long labor could be, how hard it would be to make decisions during labor, how exhausting it can be to recover from childbirth, how hard it can be to see dishes and laundry piling up, how often newborns need to be fed and changed, and that sleeping when baby sleeps is not always enough rest. And I definitely didn't realize how amazing it is when someone steps in and helps you during this major life event.

A couple of weeks after our son was born, a friend told me about a coffee-hour hosted by doulas. I loved this outing and tried to attend weekly. The doulas gave us advice, held our little ones while we ate, and offered a listening ear when we just needed to vent. Even though the meetup was intended for the "fourth trimester," we were warmly welcomed each week as our newborns became infants and then babies.

When I became pregnant with our daughter we started the search for a doula. And this time we hired two.

As a second time mom, I knew a little bit more about what I was getting myself into. I knew what I wanted and was not afraid to ask for it. However, being a second-time mom, it was not easy to find doulas who met our needs.

As I discussed in a post during my pregnancy, we wanted a doula who could provide emergency childcare for us if I went into labor when our relative was unavailable to watch our toddler. And during the first few weeks postpartum, I wanted a doula who would spend the majority of her time tending to my son. I felt quite comfortable taking care of a newborn, but I was worried about how I would recover with a toddler at home.

Although it was a challenging search, we couldn't have asked for better doulas. If you are pregnant and haven't looked into hiring a doula, it might be a service worth checking out. Here are some local resources available:

1. Blossom Birth's Meet the Doula Event. Although I went on a day with only a handful of doulas present, Blossom Birth was wonderful in helping us find a doula.

2. Ask friends. One of our doulas was actually recommended to us by a friend from the East Coast.

3. Check out a doula matching agency, like Baby Steps Doulas.

4. Look through BABI (Bay Area Birth Information).

Did you hire a birth and/or postpartum doula? How was your experience? How did you find a doula?