I think that I can safely say that I WISH I WOULD HAVE HAD A DOULA! there... I said it! We have received so many comments on Doulas that I felt that we should write something about it, my only issue is that we didn't have one so I can't talk about if first-hand but I will say this... I certainly wish we would have had one and here is why:
I think that regardless of how you feel about your birth you probably want to make sure that you exhaust everything before giving into any sort of medical help and this is what your doula will do for you. Obviously everyone has there reasons for choosing a doula, but I think that it all comes down to having someone there for you to make some important decisions (when you are totally out of it!), you have talked with her at length about how far you want to go before you feel you need 'medical' help and she is very clear about those boundaries because it's her training and she has hopefully done this many MANY times so she knows the various common and not so common scenarios that can be played out during a birth.
She is there to help you and support you and while your husband is there to do the same he has not been through hundreds of births! not to mention the training a doula has gone through and her commitment to your birth. It's important that you take the time to find someone that is in tune with your needs and obvoiously someone that you feel comfortable with but of all the things that can happen during your birth a doula could be the answer to your prayers!
When we realized that I was pregnant for the second time I was pretty sure I wanted a doula, I had a hard time even finding a Midwife in our town so I knew that a doula would be equally challenging. We had taken Bradley method classes with our first son, my husband was a champ and really worked hard for me to make it through and I had a bunch of crazy difficulties, 'partial' placenta previa (what the heck!), slow dialation (so you they try to tell you that the need to speed you up, but WHY?) but we worked it out with our super wonderful Midwife. Now without her I was a bit nervous that it was going to get more complicated, and my husband felt as though we had been through this and so we didn't need a doula... well I am here to say now LISTEN TO YOUR INSTINCTS! So for our second baby we had one of those births that was not what I had planned, but we are all fine in the end so it's all good but had I had a doula I would have felt as though I had tried everything to make it go right.
so there you go... do a little research, learn about a doula, and see if it's the right thing for you! You will know... just as you always do, just listen to your instincts!
more information on doulas visit DONA which is the oldest Doula network--click here
(and isn't the above image wonderful I found it online and the credit is to:
Lynsey Stone photographer)