If I Could Hire a "Vacation Doula"
Doulas are amazing support. We are professionals who support you during your pregnancy, during your child’s birth, and at home during the postpartum period with your newborn love. But it can be hard to fully understand what the support of a doula looks like, especially if you’re a first time parent. How can you understand the value of a doula when the entire experience itself is so brand new?
So let’s paint “doula” into a different picture. Vacations are amazing, right? They’re a momentous experience and a special time for family. And certainly, there is no need for something like a doula for your vacation. Or is there?
There are three key areas in which a typical doula supports you: physically, educationally, and emotionally. So let’s take our vacation analogy and talk about how the professional support of a “vacation doula” would benefit you.
During labor, a birth doula might provide physical support by giving mom a mean hip squeeze to help alleviate her back pain. But how would a “vacation doula” provide you with physical support on a trip? On the more obvious side, she is that extra set of hands that helps you and your family navigate the crowded airport; she helps you with the craziness of check in and helps everyone get situated onboard for a comfortable flight. And while you are incredibly grateful for all of that, you know that the true beauty of your doula’s physical support is in the small things that make such a big difference.
Picture it. You are lying on the warm beach. The sun is high and bright. The ocean waves break rhythmically in front of you. Your favorite tropical drink is in hand. Complete perfection, right? Let’s crash back to reality though. The sun is just a little too warm, and you feel annoyingly hot. Your tropical drink that was so delicious is now empty, forcing you to rise in hunt of a new one. You debate asking your partner to fetch, but they’re relaxing and trying to enjoy vacation as much as you are. In that moment though you remember that you have your vacation doula with you. As she slips a new ice cold drink into your hand and begins to fan you without you even needing to ask, you bask in how amazing it is to have someone so attuned to your needs. With a contented sigh you melt into true relaxation and think, “Sure, I could vacation without her… but why would I??”
Another layer of doula support is educational support. Pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood come with so many decisions to make and so many things to know. Your doula is your personal go-to expert for everything. She’s there to answer all your questions and guide you towards what matters most to you. So what does that kind of support look like with your “vacation doula”?
Vacations can become quite the hassle if you don’t plan and prepare properly. But thanks to your vacation doula, you don’t have to spend night after night scouring the internet in a frantic dash to try to become a vacationing expert. You don’t have lose yourself down the rabbit hole of conflicting reviews on Trip Advisor as you try to plan an epic trip. Nope. You have a vacation doula who knows vacationing. She is an expert on your specific destination. And unlike the internet blogs and Trip Advisor, she specifically knows YOU. She knows the types of things that you will enjoy, and she is invested in working together with you to plan exactly the trip that you want.
And your doula is more than just an information source that you can seek out as you plan your trip; she is an information source that is right there with you on your trip. No struggling to remember what you read the best restaurant was. And when you see on the news that the amusement park you were planning to visit the next day is closed due to a water main break, you aren’t left floundering trying to quickly find something else that your kids will be just as excited about. No, you are able to quickly and confidently move into a new direction because your vacation doula is right there with the exact knowledge and guidance you need to create a new game plan that keeps you on course and everyone happy.
Emotions can play a big part in birth, but do you really need emotional support on vacation? Let’s see. You’re relaxing in the lounge for some alone time, taking a break from the day’s activities. Your vacation doula is sitting off in the corner, busying herself as she allows you space to unwind and relax. You pull out your phone and check your work email. The very first one you read gets your blood boiling. You slam your phone back into your clutch, frustrated that your relaxing day is now tainted as your thoughts keep moving back to the audacity of the email. You turn toward your vacation doula. She immediately comes to your side, and you start to vent. She listens. She understands. As you pour over frustrations that have been building for months, you feel heard and understood. She listens to you and validates your displeasure. Never once do you wonder if she would handle things the same way you want to. Never once do you feel judged or diminished for your thoughts or feelings. She is your vacation doula, and her focus is on you and your emotional well-being.
So while there is no such thing as an actual “vacation doula” (though wouldn’t that be awesome), birth and postpartum doulas are very much a real thing! Just like when our vacation doula slips that perfect drink into her client’s hand, your birth doula is there, attuning to you and your partner’s needs so that you can both stay relaxed and focused on birthing your baby. Just like how our vacation doula is the information resource that saves her client from wasting time lost in the confusing clash of information online, your postpartum doula is your unbiased resource of parenting information that can help you make sense of all the conflicting advice because her knowledge is focused on you as an individual. And just like how our vacation doula is there to validate her client when stress begins to overtake her, your birth and postpartum doulas are both there to meet you where you’re at and help you feel heard.
It’s just like what the mom in our story points out - sure, you can have a baby without the support of a doula, but... why would you?