Doulas vs Doctors?!
Doulas and doctors and midwives.
How your doula interacts with other professionals in her field is important. You want to feel confident that she can maintain professional connections with your care providers at all times.
With some care providers, this is easy. These are midwives and doctors that are thrilled to see a doula when they walk into a room. I was at birth recently where the doctor and I greeted each other with a quiet hello and a hug. This is a provider I am fortunate to have a wonderful working relationship with. As my client labored, we took a moment off to the side and and checked in with each other. Later, as labor was progressing, the doctor smiled and softly said to me, "Hmm, what do you think about a little rebozo work for a bit?" I was so happy I could hardly contain myself for two reasons. #1 - I had just been thinking the same thing but he beat me to it and #2 - This is a provider that knows what a rebozo is - has seen it used and knows that it can have great potential benefits when used properly! From a doula stand point, I call that a pretty ideal situation. Because this doctor and I worked so seamlessly together, my client reaped all the benefits.
Unfortunately, that scenario is not the case at every birth I attend.
Earlier this year DoRI invited a particularly well loved physician to speak at a professional development evening. One of our topics of conversation that night was about the doctor/midwife - doula relationship. Several of us were talking about how we sometimes feel like care providers aren't exactly warm and fuzzy towards doulas. And this doctor made an excellent point. She said, "Hey just put yourself in our shoes. Our patient shows up at the hospital, in labor, with a whole team. You guys already all know each other and have this relationship that we don't always get. It can be a little intimidating." Huh. I had never in my wildest dreams considered that perspective.
It has since changed the way I think about some things when I'm walking with a family into a labor room at 3am, bags spilling out of my hands, racing to rearrange the furniture so partner/dad has a place to sit and mom has easy access to her water and chapstick. Don't get me wrong, first and foremost I have a responsibility to my clients. But maybe it's good to pause for a second and remember that we're all human.