"If only I knew about doulas when I was pregnant" and "Where were you when I gave birth?" are sentences I often hear when I tell people about my work as a doula. So many people have never ever heard of a doula until they meet me. Or maybe they read about it once but made a totally different picture about doulas in their head than the down to earth woman with a good dose of Dutch directness like me.
I hate it when people tell me they thought they didn't need one, or worse their partner didn't want a doula at the birth, because he/ she would be there for support (right?). But when they look back most of these partners would have asked a doula for (extra ;)) support. Because giving birth is intense, both for the mamas as their partners. These parents are the ones who knew about doulas but regret they didn't invest in one for the birth of their baby.
Luckily these parents are great ambassadors for our doula community. Even more so when they decide to have a doula by their side for the birth of their second or subsequent baby. Because then they see what a huge difference it makes to feel fully supported by someone who has all the knowledge about the birth process. Someone who specializes in this field and, more importantly, is there with her whole heart to support you because it's her passion to support you and your partner during this special day in your life. Because she knows what you both need and knows how to keep a calm environment, so you focus on bringing that baby into the world.
I always ask the people who say "If only..." to spread the word, to be that ambassador. So all the women in the world will hear about doulas, about the support women can get for the day they birth their baby. Then more and more women can have this amazing, positive experience that empowers them. And the only reason to say, "If only" after a birth would be: "If only I could have another amazing, empowering birth experience like this one."