Here you are: Well and truly into your third trimester of pregnancy and so far have felt pretty comfortable with the idea of 'going with the flow' on your baby's birthday. Or you haven't actually thought that much about actually having to give birth yet because why think about it when you can't influence it anyhow. Or you have so far been feeling really well supported by your obstetrician or midwife. And then it happens, suddenly the gravity of giving birth sinks in, you feel under prepared and under informed, uncertain over whether your partner is actually able to give you the emotional and physical support you need on the day or if your birth wishes will be respected. You start to feel a little lost, maybe even a bit panicky.
The good news is that you feeling like this is quite normal and happens to a lot of women. The even better news is that even if you are literally days away from your due date there is still something you can do to change how you are feeling now and likely during your birth. Considering that women's emotional experience of birth is directly connected to how supported they feel this is an important moment to recognise if these 'last minute' fears are happening to you. Don't ignore them but do something to turn your anxiety into positive anticipation before your labour begins...and get in touch with a doula. You may have not thought about a doula so far, maybe didn't think you'd need one or perhaps didn't even know what they do. Well, here is what a good doula will do: No matter where you are at in your pregnancy, she will meet you there, identify what you need most before giving birth and hold your hand from that moment. She will bring you and your partner TOGETHER during the birth. All of a sudden you are not alone in this anymore, your partner may take a sigh of relief as they won't have to have ALL the answers on the day and you can begin to relax again.
There is no doubt that in an ideal world you would establish a relationship and begin your active birth preparation with a doula earlier (most women engage their doula during the second trimester), however, experience has shown me that a 'last minute doula' is better than none. Even if you only have two weeks together before your baby arrives, it is possible (and often quite enjoyable!) to create a bond and build up your birthing skills in a VERY short amount of time. If anything, the sense of relief that you both will have someone by your side often turns around fear quickly into positive excitement and you are back on track for the positive birth experience you are hoping for.
Obviously you have the risk of your preferred doula not having any last minute availability but once you have made the decision to look for support you WILL find a doula who is available and right for you. I wish more women would recognise and act on their growing doubts before their due date rather than only realising after their birth that they had wanted a different experience and should have done something. Your births matter and stay with you for a lifetime!
Julia MacLeod has been supporting families as a birth & postnatal doula since 2013. She offers a variety of birth support packages to suit different needs and has recently included a 'Birth Only' package which focuses on having all of Julia's experience by your side on your baby's birthday but without any prenatal education. This is ideal for couples who are feeling confident in their knowledge gained from other sources of birth education or experience, or, couples who decide at the very last minute that having professional support as you give birth is a positive choice for both the birthing woman and her partner. Get in touch with Julia for an obligation free Meet & Greet!