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7 Real Women on Why They Hired Doulas for Childbirth (and Whether They’d Do It Again)
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Raising a baby is challenging stuff. There are so many decisions to make, from which breast pump to get (electric, battery-powered or manual?) to the safest car seat (don’t get us started on European versus American belt paths). But the decisions begin months before the baby arrives. Will you have an epidural or go sans meds? Will you deliver at a birthing center or a hospital? Will you use a doula or rely on your partner and family? We were extra curious about that last question, so we tapped seven women who did, in fact, decide to hire doulas. Here’s what they told us about their experiences.

RELATED: Things No One Tells You About Giving Birth

The Couple Who Wanted Someone to Stick Up for Them

“My husband and I tend to crumble in the face of authority, so if a nurse or doctor commanded us to do something, I was worried we'd say yes without asking what it was, and why. Make sure you’re working with someone who you are extremely comfortable around. They are going to see you scream and cry. They are also going to see your butthole. Make sure they know the role you want your partner to have in the room.” —Jo, 32

Cost: $1,500

The One Who Didn’t Want to Make the Same Mistake Twice

“My first birth 19 years earlier was traumatic for me with unnecessary interventions. I did a lot of research this time around and wanted to try to see what my body could do if given the chance and a doula seemed like a great option to make sure this was possible. It was like having a Fairy Godmother of Labor and Birth with me at all times and that allowed me to focus on the work me and my body needed to do (aka push out a ten-pound baby without any pain meds or intervention)!” —Tiff, 38

Cost: $1,100

The One Who Became a Doula Herself

“The birth of my first son inspired me to pursue this angle of education and labor support because my birth fell short of my expectations. I wanted to be the educated and personal support for others that my first birth seemed to lack—to help other moms leave birth and new parenthood with a positive experience and with confidence.” —Laura, 31

Cost: $1,250

The One Who Wanted Someone to Text

“I wanted a support system who had been through birth before to be with my husband and me from the beginning until the end. It was almost like having a really good friend who you could text pictures of bloody mucus to and ask, ‘Is this NORMAL?’” —Cody, 39

Cost: Unspecified

The One Who Wanted to Get Some Sleep

“I surprisingly found the pre- and post-partum hours to be equally as valuable as the day-of delivery support (or maybe even more valuable). My package included ten hours of in-home help, which could be used in a variety of ways, from meal prep to watching our son while we got some much-needed rest. We ended up using these at night so that we could sleep.” —Danielle, 31

Cost: $1,500

The One Who Didn’t Find the Right Fit

“We wanted a doula at night and for postpartum assistance. I explicitly explained to ours that I was both bottle feeding and breastfeeding simultaneously. But she didn't believe in bottle feeding, regardless of what I wanted, which made us feel uncomfortable—the conversations got awkward when I had to explain over and over that we were not breastfeeding exclusively. Needless to say, we ended up only using her for a week.” —Brooke, age not specified

Cost: $40 per hour

The One Who Needed Someone to Wipe Vomit Off Her

“I was nervous all the doulas I interviewed would be too ‘crunchy’ for me and super anti-Western medicine and anti-epidural. I was pleasantly surprised when I met my doula that she was supportive of it all and not judgmental. I was also surprised about how little the doctors and nurses tell you when you're in labor, and how much I would not have known or understood without a doula. The experience really isn't very woman-centered. It's very ‘get the baby out,’ which is also important, but I didn't really feel like I was treated like a human being by anyone other than my doula and my husband. (I.e., one time I puked violently all over everything and none of the nurses offered me a towel to wipe my face and my doula wasn't there yet—there were a bunch of weird moments like that.)” —Noelle, 33

Cost: $1,800

RELATED: Here’s Why We Need to Stop Talking About 'Natural' Childbirth

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