When doulas meet with the expecting families they will potentially support, one of the main questions often posed is, “what tools do you bring with you to the hospital and which are most important?”
Over the years, my answer has changed. From tennis ball to Rebozo, to my hands, to my unquenchable desire for knowledge and skills…
But today I undoubtedly recognize a doula’s most important tool is her time.
The most invaluable asset any professional can provide you is the ability and desire to afford you the time to be listened to, care, and share! Every crevice of a maternity professional’s brain is archived with valuable data files to educate on every well-kept secret alternative throughout your prenatal to postnatal care. Most U.S. Maternity care practices do not afford the medical team time to share with you! Afterall, time is money! This isn’t Care-A-Lot — this is a business, Baby Hugs.
The United States’ annual maternity-newborn cumulative cost for its 4 million births is well over a staggering 50 billion dollars and is more expensive than any other developed country.
So when you see your obstetrician or midwife for your 15 minute visit once per month, consider their average of 35-40 patients per day and you begin to see how easily costs tally and how easy it may be to blur your birth wishes with the other Carebear in 30 minutes after you, and how difficult it may be to offer explanations or alternatives or perhaps notice which of their patients may have been morose.
Doulas will meet prenatally, spending an average of 1.5 – 3 hours per a visit and offer unlimited phone and email support, extending that to 24/7 on-call support as you near your estimated due date and until you have your baby. Some may continue the 24/7 phone support in the first days or weeks after having your baby. They get to know you and you get to know them.
When approaching your birth, you should feel secure and be in a place of empowerment, not solely at the mercy of the momentary lapsed mind of busy care staff. A doula will enhance your maternity care and birth team, giving the time and support you may need for you and your partner to find that empowerment.
Time is precious; It is a resource which is perishable. Use it wisely!