You may have heard that a doula will advocate for you on your behalf. That information is incorrect and outdated. As doulas, we want to maintain positive relationships with birth professionals. If we are interfering, contradicting their medical advice and advocating for clients, we can't do that.
So what can we do? We can help facilitate conversations between you and the medical staff. We can help you put words to the questions that you have and we can bridge the gap between you and your provider.
You may be thinking that that is not what you want. You want someone to step and speak for you. But here's the thing, advocating for yourself is so much more empowering than someone doing it for you. Have you ever been in a situation where you weren't heard or things weren't going the way you felt they should? If you spoke up for yourself or asked questions to gain a better understanding of the situation, you may have felt better, better understood and more in control. Would you have felt the same if someone stepped in and spoke on your behalf?
Recently, my husband was hospitalized for the second time in a matter of a few months. The first hospitalization his specialist wasn't contacted and he didn't receive the proper medications for his condition. The second time we felt so empowered to go into the emergency room, knowing that this specialist needed to be contacted. Before he was given anything, the ER Dr. got in contact with the Dr. on call for his specialist who was able to pull up his file and recommend the piper medications as the correct dose. We advocated for ourselves and it felt amazing.
By the end of the second stay, there were other things that had come up that we would have changed and again we spoke up and advocated for ourselves. It wasn't easy and I wish I had had someone to facilitate that conversation for us, but it was still empowering. Next time we will know even better and we will be better yet at advocating for ourselves. If someone had come in and spoken on our behalf, it would have been more comfortable, sure, but it wouldn't have been our words and our experience and it wouldn't have felt empowering.
This is your birth, not mine. You are your best advocate.