Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now you're searching for prenatal, birth, and perhaps also postpartum support. You may have started digging around on Google to find out how to interview a doula. And many (but not the one I linked to!) will tell you to ask a doula this:
They might tell you to ask this question so that you can be sure that this doula's beliefs about birth are the same as yours -- or at least similar. And that sounds like good enough advice, right?
(Oh, good, you already know where I'm going with this...)
Here's the thing: if you find a doula who does, in fact, share the same beliefs surrounding birth as you, there's nothing wrong with *that* in and of itself. But the problem with relying on this factor as a potential deal-breaker is, what if a like-minded doula in your area doesn't exist? Do you go without one? Or, what if you're not even quite sure yet what YOU think of epidurals, or home-birth, or induction, or VBACs, or [fill in the blank]? Do you let her convictions decide your experience for you? Or, what if you planned for a birth she agrees with and, for one reason or another, you ended up with a very different kind of birth? Will that doula still be supportive? Or will she be judgmental because your choices and outcome didn't reflect her philosophy?
So... What's the answer??
Your doula's philosophy should be this: YOUR philosophy.
Whatever is important to you - whether you know what that is yet or not - should be important to your doula. Whatever is a priority for you should be a priority for your doula. Whatever support looks like to you, for your specific and unique situation and preferences should be how your doula supports you. Full stop.
This doesn't mean a doula, being her own human being doesn't carry her own thoughts, feelings, and opinions about birth. She likely does! I do! But "What would you do?" is an easy question for me to answer -- what I would do doesn't matter in another woman's circumstances because I am not that woman, and they're not my circumstance. When I am hired to serve a woman and her family, my beliefs and choices are irrelevant. The consequences, good or bad, of the choices she makes will have no impact on my life. My birth-beliefs go into hibernation when I'm consulting with and supporting pregnant and laboring women. They still exist, yes, but they do not play a role in how I support my clients.
The idea of not getting a "you should..." response to the "what would you do?" question may initially cause some people anxiety. Sometimes in the midst of confusion or treading unknown territory, it's easier just to do something because someone else told you to. But when you realize that your choices in childbirth ultimately only belong to you, it's actually very liberating! And whether you make plans that pan out perfectly or make choices that you never dreamed you'd have to make due to unforeseen circumstances, won't it be so encouraging and comforting to know that you have hired a doula that will support you 100% regardless? Free of judgment, free of criticism. Full of compassion and understanding, no matter what.
Do you have a story of a doula who supported you fully? Share it below!