Dear Honest Surrogate: Why Should I Have a Doula?

Giving birth to your own child comes with so many choices it can feel overwhelming at times. Now imagine carrying and giving birth to someone else’s baby and all of the decisions that have to be made during that process. Below are a couple of questions about doulas. For those of you that don’t know, a doula is a person trained to provide advice, information, emotional support, and physical comfort to a mother before, during, and after childbirth.

Dear Honest Surrogate:

My intended parents want to hire a doula for the birth to support us all. That seems like a lot of people to support for just one doula. Should they hire more than one? - Too Many decisions 

Dear Decisions: 

I am a big fan of doulas so of course I advocate for hiring two. Doulas for everyone, the more the merrier! A doula can help you and the intended parents put together a birth plan and then advocate for that birth plan while you are in labor. The doula can also support you physically throughout the process. They can suggest different positions and things to try to make you more comfortable. A doula for the intended parentscan give them emotional support and answer questions so you can focus on giving birth. It’s also nice to have an extra body in the room to get food so the surrogate’s partner and the intended parents can be present the entire time. With that all being said, it really depends on what you are comfortable with during the birth. It also depends on what the intended parents are comfortable with and if they can financially afford to hire two doulas. 

Dear Honest Surrogate:

My intended parents live in a different state than me. I’m concerned that they won’t make it for the birth. Am I responsible for the baby until they arrive? - Concerned 

Dear Concerned:

No, you are not responsible for the baby until they arrive. The intended parents should have a plan in place in case they do not make it to the birth on time. This is something you all should discuss during the match meeting and again during legal. In some cases, the baby just stays in the nursery under the nurse’s care until the IPs arrive. During my second surrogacy journey the intended parents hired a doula to care for the baby until they arrived. They live 8 hours away, so it was not guaranteed that they’d make it on time. I did not give birth in the hospital so sending the baby to a nursery was not an option. I ended up giving birth 45 minutes after arriving at the Birth Center so the IPs did not make it to the birth. The doula was able to take the baby from the moment he came out until the IPs arrived. She was in touch with the IPs and stayed with the baby during all of the medical screening. This was a huge relief for me and my husband. We didn’t have to worry about relaying info to the IPs or call to ask them questions about their wants for the baby immediately after birth. We could focus on our kids and enjoy all of the friends and family that were visiting. I highly recommend hiring a doula after the birth just in case the IPs don’t make it. I needed that separation and relaxation time after a very difficult pregnancy and birth. That is my own personal experience. I have met many surrogates who want to take care of the baby until the IPs arrive, though. This is up to the IPs and the surrogate to discuss. 

Like I always say, communication and flexibility are key. Surrogacy journeys rarely go as planned. It’s important to discuss different scenarios and have an open mind. Hiring a doula can help ease the stress of things not going as planned.  

Amber Campanelli ~ The Honest Surrogate