When you're a doula, figuring out the best way to explain what you do is an ever evolving and ever difficult task. Met with the ever frequent "do-what" or "isn't that like a midwife?" at every networking event or social function that I went to, I was on a mission to figure out the best comparison I could make to help people understand just what it is that I do.
And then it hit me.
A doula is like a wedding planner.
It was the perfect example because even if you're not married or you didn't use a wedding planner yourself, everyone knows what a wedding planner is.
On top of that, there are a lot of parallels that can be made.
So without further ado, I present you with 5 ways a doula is like a wedding planner:
1. We help you plan one of the most important days of your life
The days that people frequently cite as the best days of their life are often their wedding day and the birth of their children.
In American culture, it's common to spend months and even years planning your wedding. But often times, planning for birth and parenthood is left until just before it happens-- or not done at all!
Through prenatal meetings and unlimited phone calls and emails, your labor doulas will help you feel prepared for the birth of your child. Your postpartum doula helps you plan for life after birth, with a new baby in your home. Not only will they provide in home support, but they'll go over a postpartum plan with you and help you put the pieces of your new life together.
With your doulas' support, the birth of your baby and the first months as a new parent will be days that you look back on fondly.
2. We help you know your options
Just as a wedding planner helps you find the perfect venue, caterer, florist, and ceremony order for you, your doula helps you understand the pregnancy, birth, and parenting options for you.
From finding the right doctor and hospital to meet your needs, to exploring your options for pain management in labor, to showing you different ways to organize your life with a new baby, your doula presents you with all of your options in an unbiased way.
3. We support your vision
A good wedding planner won't try to recreate their own wedding when helping you plan yours.
In the same way, a professional doula doesn't carry baggage from her own experience or desires into supporting you. We support your desires 100%, without judgement or bias. Our only goal is to help you meet your goals, whether that's having a c-section, a VBAC, a vaginal birth, or a natural birth; whether that's formula feeding your baby, exclusively pumping, or breastfeeding for an extended period of time; whether that's practicing attachment parenting or trying to get your family on a schedule as soon as possible.
You know what's best for you and your family and our job is to support that.
4. We don't replace your loved ones
When you and your soon to be spouse hire a wedding planner, the wedding planner doesn't take the spot of your partner. This is still about celebrating the love that the two of you have with your friends and family and creating a special day that represents you two. You still have a wedding party that stands by you as you commit to one another. Your family and friends still take part in the form of readings, speeches, and dancing the night away.
Just as a wedding planner makes it so that you and your loved ones can relax and just enjoy your wedding day while the wedding planner does the legwork, having a birth doula makes it possible for you and your partner to focus completely on each other and the birth experience on your baby's birthday.
Your partner can focus on becoming a parent, rather than feeling the weight being your sole support person and all that entails.
Your postpartum doula allows the new grandparents, aunts, uncles, and godparents to just enjoy your company and cuddling your baby. Your postpartum doula can take on the tasks of housekeeping, meal preparation, and other necessities while everyone else relaxes and enjoys.
5. You can do it without us
I've said it once and I'll say it a million times after: you don't need a doula. A doula is not a necessity, proven by the fact that women all over the world have happy, healthy, safe, and satisfying births without one everyday.
Just as you can plan your dream wedding without a wedding planner, you can achieve your ideal birth and parenting experience without a doula.
But you don't have to.
You can have a professional walk beside you and help you create the best experience possible, however that looks for you. A doula is someone that can take some of the weight off of your shoulders so that you can enjoy every moment of this time.
It'll be over before you know it. And it's worth investing in.