December 2007. I was pregnant with my first child. (Who is about to turn NINE!) We had endured three years of heartbreaking infertility and were ecstatic to be so close to having our baby in our arms. I truly thought I was doing everything I could and should to ensure a healthy pregnancy, healthy birth, and healthy baby. I really had no idea, though. I knew I loved this baby beyond measure and couldn’t wait to look into his eyes and count his tiny toes. I also knew that after all we went through to get pregnant, I wanted a natural birth. I wanted to feel every contraction. I wanted to fully experience giving birth. At the time, I had no idea, absolutely no clue just how much the experience of his birth would impact me. Wow. It has left an imprint on my heart that is hard to describe. And it was hard. It still is hard sometimes, even nine years later. I needed a guide, a research assistant, a cheerleader, a resource, another woman to support me. But I didn’t know that I needed it until after he was born. I needed someone to look me in the eye and tell me that I should not ignore the nagging little warning signs I had seen from my OB that she wasn’t actually supportive of the birth that I wanted. I needed someone to point me in the right direction of finding factual information about my options and teach me about evidence-based care. And when my baby turned breech at 36 weeks, I needed someone to tell me that I had more options than what were given to me by my OB.
I was not just pregnant with my first son. I was pregnant with anticipation of the incredible joy that birth holds within it as a woman transforms into a mother. And that joy was stolen from me. The imprint that was made on my heart was a painful one. We had a rough start, my son and I. But we overcame. And that experience is why I do what I do today.
Friends, a doula is not just a luxury. It is something you deserve. It doesn’t have to be me (although I would love for it to be!), but please do everything you can to receive the support of a doula and ensure that the imprint left on your heart after your birth is a good one.
Give yourself the gift of a doula this holiday season.
Amber Piller - Professional Birth Doula and owner of Agape Birth Services. Serving Northwest Houston including Jersey Village, Cypress, Tomball, Spring, and Katy Texas.