When K first proposed the option of a doula during Falco’s birth, I thought he was nuts. Truth be told, I’m often rather skeptical of anything that seems new-agey, crunchy, earthy, etc., and I will frankly admit that I placed the concept of a doula squarely in that category. Perusing doula websites peppered with photos of nude, full breasted women wrapped around trees, their long hair flowing in the wind, certainly didn’t help this stereotype.
After reading the highly recommended book, The Birth Partner, Third Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions by Penny Simkin, I was convinced. While experiencing what’s certain to be a highly stressful, hypergendered environment, I think we could both truly benefit from the wisdom, empowerment and encouragement of an expert who can help us stay focused on the birth, natural methods of pain reduction/management, and each other. The last thing I would want is to leave K to labor alone while I went to chew out some assy hospital staffer or volunteer who kept misgendering K. Worse yet would be for K to lose his confidence, rhythm or focus because of a gender-related trauma and for me to not be able to help him regain it. A doula seems like a perfect, supportive solution.
Unfortunately, finding one hasn’t been easy. After ample internet searches, especially through websites like DONA International, I’ve determined that most of the really phenomenal doulas – you know, the ones who have a ton of experience working with diverse clientele and don’t say offensive things when asked about their work history in the LGBT community – seem to work at local university town. Because they’re in such high demand and have thriving practices, they don’t have the need or time to travel 60 miles to assist us at our birth. I found one who felt like a good match, only to discover that she couldn’t help with our birth because the timing didn’t line up with her nursing school schedule.
The ones who have expressed having a lot of experience with LGBT parents-to-be but who are unable to travel to our birth have been really helpful in relaying other potential resources. I’ve been certain to ask for as many recommendations as possible. Hopefully, we will end up with a couple we can interview, disclose our “unique situation,” and assess for fit.
Keep your fingers crossed that we’ll end up with our dream doula!