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Old 11-07-2012, 10:43 PM   #1
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doula vs. grandma

How do you convince your mom (who was there for your first birth & held you when you lost a baby) that she is not replaced by a doula?
-Without the standard schpeel about how a doula is a professional labor and delivery support person.
Mom has attended many (6ish) births and considers herself knowledgeable enough.

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Old 11-07-2012, 10:53 PM   #2
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You can tell them that a doula is hired to be objective and they're employed by you to serve you in what you need in the moment without having any emotional attachment.

Having a doula around can mean grandma gets to relax into supporting you how she does best (and a good doula will facilitate that and encourage it) and can even provide breaks and support (snacks, massages, take pictures) so grandma can just focus on being present and soaking up every moment. :-)
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:34 AM   #3
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Re: doula vs. grandma

I agree, the advantages are to your mom! She won't have to feel responsible for anything other than being there for you. The doula can deal with the nurses and let everyone take a break. If she needs to take a nap or go to the bathroom, she can, and she'll know that you're not alone. I would spin it that way, that it's better for her if she doesn't have to worry as much. You're not replacing her.
As an example, what mom wants to photograph her daughter's wedding? Mom wants to enjoy it, not be so involved in what's happening that she can't have fun.
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:04 PM   #4
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Re: doula vs. grandma

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Originally Posted by songbird516 View Post
As an example, what mom wants to photograph her daughter's wedding? Mom wants to enjoy it, not be so involved in what's happening that she can't have fun.
^^I think that is SUCH a good point. The doula is really there to not only support you, but to advocate for you, especially if you have special requests you want medical personnel to respect. If you have a doula to intervene for you when necessary, your mom is freed up to just be with you and support you emotionally
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:49 PM   #5
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Re: doula vs. grandma

I would have her be there at a meeting WITH the doula, or read a book on doulas. They're definitely there to maximize the experience for not only you, but the other birth partners. It will help everyone and lend her some relief if the birth is long or intense. I think it's important they meet and everyone is on the same page so there is no weird air during the birth.
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Old 11-08-2012, 03:49 PM   #6
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Re: doula vs. grandma

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Originally Posted by songbird516 View Post
I agree, the advantages are to your mom! She won't have to feel responsible for anything other than being there for you. The doula can deal with the nurses and let everyone take a break. If she needs to take a nap or go to the bathroom, she can, and she'll know that you're not alone. I would spin it that way, that it's better for her if she doesn't have to worry as much. You're not replacing her.
As an example, what mom wants to photograph her daughter's wedding? Mom wants to enjoy it, not be so involved in what's happening that she can't have fun.
I'm just curious in what way doulas deal with the nurses? I was under the impression that they were there to support the laboring woman and are not there to determine care.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:09 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by z2akids

I'm just curious in what way doulas deal with the nurses? I was under the impression that they were there to support the laboring woman and are not there to determine care.
Lol. Technically yes that is how it is supposed to be. 90% of doulas I have worked with feel it is their scope of practice to give medical advice.

But yes the PP said it best. Just let grandma know the doula is there so grandma can just soak up the moment and not worry about the finer details!
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:23 PM   #8
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Re: doula vs. grandma

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I'm just curious in what way doulas deal with the nurses? I was under the impression that they were there to support the laboring woman and are not there to determine care.
From what I've heard they advocate for the mother's desires. If the mom doesn't want a certain intervention the Doula can advocate for that. But they don't decide the medical care. For example a mother is on Pitocin but doesn't want it cranked up without discussion, the doula notices the nurse has upped the Pitocin without talking to the mother and the mom is too out of it to notice. The Doula would speak up and say something and bring it up to the mother and partner.

I'd like to hear what professional Doulas have to say about it but that's what I've been lead to believe.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by evasimone

From what I've heard they advocate for the mother's desires. If the mom doesn't want a certain intervention the Doula can advocate for that. But they don't decide the medical care. For example a mother is on Pitocin but doesn't want it cranked up without discussion, the doula notices the nurse has upped the Pitocin without talking to the mother and the mom is too out of it to notice. The Doula would speak up and say something and bring it up to the mother and partner.

I'd like to hear what professional Doulas have to say about it but that's what I've been lead to believe.
I'm currently training to be a professional doula and plan to certify with DONA. Their code of ethics states that it is not within our scope of practice to give medical advice or to speak on behalf of the mom/partner TO the medical staff. We can however, ask her if she'd like more info/time before making a decision, ask a nurse politely "oh, what is that you're doing there?" (Per your example) and ask mama/partner if they have any questions they'd like to have answered before that step/procedure is taken.

It is definitely possible and allowable to support the mom's wishes without speaking FOR her or"fighting" for her.

As for the giving medical advice thing, there are a series of questions to ask yourself as a doula before you offer advice or answer a question for a mom. It's all part of our DONA training and the primary concern is to protect our role as a neutral and supportive person focused on mom. Giving medical advice is the role of the care provider. Doulas can help moms talk through their concerns or frustrations with a providers plan/recommendation, and can help moms come up with a list of questions to ask the provider to help clarify the issues and determine if the provider is the best fit. Ultimately it's the mom who must make the call about her care and the care provider who gives the advice, and as a doula a part of our role is to support this relationship (not sabotage it with contradictory advice) and encourage mom to find her voice and advocate for herself.

There is actually a bit of controversy over those points within the natural birth community and the doula community as well. But within the DONA professional certifying organization there are clear professional boundaries. Violating those can hurt the professional relationship with the client, risk setting a hostile tone with her provider, and ultimately set a bad name for doulas overall which means doulas aren't allowed in hospitals.

I hope that's helpful. Sorry for the thread hijack - we can continue this conversation in another thread if necessary. :-)

Back to helping grandma understand that it's not her vs. the doula.

It might even be helpful to have a prenatal meetin with grandma and doula and mom and allow grandma and the doula to connect. If grandma will be at this birth, that is. I attended a birth recently where there was some initial tension Btwn myself and the grandma bc my role wasn't clearly explained to her and she was confused about who i was and why she had to leave the room for certain things and I didn't. It eventually worked itself out, but it took me reaching out to her and explaining what a doula is, asking her some "getting to know you" questions and affirming her role at the birth.
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:25 PM   #10
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Re: doula vs. grandma

My doula told me that she had her first doula at her 3rd birth and her husband loved it. It took so much pressure off of him. All he had to do was be supportive and hold her hand or massage her or anything she needed. The doula just nudged things in the right direction 'let's try counterpressure on her back now', etc.

so, he got to enjoy the birth experience, not stress over every little thing.

Not everyone understands what a doula does. They think the doula is going to be there coaching your breathing or holding your hand or whatever.. and if you wanted that, I'm sure they would... but they just help you and your helper. They don't take their place. Unless they need to, like in cases when you have no one else there.
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