Doulas & Baby Showers

At 11w4d, it’s probably too early to plan for either, but that’s just who I am. Plus, I figure after all I’ve been through, I deserve to start thinking like an ordinary pregnant woman, not a doom-and-gloom infertile who can’t quite believe this is real or that it will last. So, I’m throwing caution to the wind and putting the cart before the horse.

I can’t remember when and how I first heard about doulas, but it was just in the last 3 years or so. (If you don’t know what one is, click on over to this website. Basically, a doula provides labor support, but it’s so much more than that.) When I first started searching for doulas in my area, I was greatly disappointed. I found a few, but the closest one was hundreds of miles away. I started asking my Facebook groups for advice, and it turns out, one of them is a recently trained doula! She advised me to email DONA International about doulas-in-training in my area, which turned up 3 solid leads, one of whom informed me that she knows of 7 more who recently received certification. Ten may not seem like a lot, but it’s a treasure trove compared to the zero I started out with.

So far, I haven’t met with anyone, but I made my first appointment to visit with a doula who also has midwife training. My biggest fear is whether my hospital will welcome a doula. I know it’s my choice, but the medical staff can make things difficult for us if they see her as an obstacle. I can’t very well change hospitals. There are only two in my city; the other is religious, which is not cool with me. And I’m not comfortable giving birth in my apartment (besides, there aren’t any practicing midwives here who would deliver at home). So, in addition to interviewing doulas, I need to have a conversation with my OB and probably with someone from labor and delivery (?) to make sure they are aware of the situation and to gauge their receptivity.

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As for baby showers (yes, the plural was intentional), it’s not so much me who is jumping the gun, but my sisters and in-laws. Okay, I’m guilty to a degree, but only insofar as batting around general ideas. Like how I would like it to be coed, without all the cheesy games and 3 hour present opening session. I floated the idea by my sisters, who think it’s a great idea (they are already making more detailed plans). I’m not sure everyone will think it’s so great, as people are accustomed to the traditional women-only shower, where you ooh and aah over every last gift and discuss baby vomit and diarrhea. I want something less showery and more … I don’t know, just less showery. And I want presents. I’m not going to lie. I’ve paid into the baby shower pool many, many times, and I firmly believe its my turn for a nice return on my investment. That may sound greedy, but I don’t care. We spent all our money making this baby.

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21 thoughts on “Doulas & Baby Showers

  1. The three hour gift presentation is just boring. Unless you’re the mother, and/or in the brief moment she opens the gift you brought, it’s super boring (infertile or not). I went to a coed baby shower (it was for a couple who’d been trying for two and a half years), and it was just a nice gathering and we all had dinner and that was it. WE did bring a gift, but we didn’t have to spend half our lives watching her open the gifts.

  2. Erykah Badu. Lol.
    I had a co-ed shower, and there were a couple of “game type” things, but non-conventional and people seemed to like them (especially the “make a baby out of clay” contest). And we didn’t force people to participate if they didn’t want to. We did decide to open gifts in front of everyone (again, people could mingle or watch football in the other room if they weren’t interested). I hated the idea of opening the gifts, but several people weighed in beforehand and felt it was “rude” to not open the gifts, so I was guilted into it. I say, as long as everyone has a good time, that’s all that matters!
    Try to enjoy all the “getting ready for baby” stuff as much as you can. It’s your turn!!!

    • Thank you! I’m sorry you were guilted into opening your presents at the party. I’ve always been so laid back about things like that, it astonishes me when people care so much about such unimportant things.

  3. Congrats on reaching 11w4d and having the courage to think about showers and doulas. I’d book a doula ASAP unless you live somewhere they are a dime a dozen. Where I am they can book up fast and I’d want who I want. That’s just me.

    I hate showers of all kinds but my friend and former co-worker threw a co-ed gig and only invited a handful of people *I* chose, who’d known about our struggles to that point (which pale in comparison to our troubles TTC #2 but I digress). We had a nice time, some brunch, visiting and then people who didn’t want to watch me open their gift left (bless them) and people who did stayed (bless them, too, though I was embarassed and thinking “do they really want to stay or do they just think I’ll be hurt if they leave – because I wouldn’t be?”). I’d prefer the kind where gifts get opened later without you being centre-stage but that’s just me.

    And I’d be pissed if someone wanted me at 34 weeks pregnant to travel 200 miles for their convenience. Again, just me. I wouldn’t agree to a shower until we got that far after all our troubles so maybe it won’t be as inconvenient if you’re agreeable to an earlier shower – but I’d feel free to just say now if the SIL doesn’t drop the ball. It’s your party, after all!

    On a happy note, congrats again and all the best going forward!

    • I have no idea how quickly the doulas book in these parts. I think it’s a fairly new concept around here.

      Opening presents in front of people is so much pressure! I’ve always hated being the center of attention, which is why I’d rather have a casual bbq with men and women, and save the presents for later. One website recommends telling guests ahead of time not to wrap the presents, so everyone can admire them during the part and I can easily see what I received. I’m not sure I’m down with that, but it’s an alternative.

      Thank you!

  4. yes – i feel like an impostor! no doubt about it. I figure that when they give me the babies to take home, I will still feel like an impostor. And when I have kept them alive for a month or so, I might actually believe this is happening!

  5. We don’t do baby showers in Ireland, thankfully. Too much pressure on people, financially. We buy each other a small gift when we visit when baby is born. Which we open in private!

  6. I had a coed shower, and all the ones I’ve been to in recent years have been coed as well- it’s the new normal. I definitely understand your sentiments of not wanting a showery shower, I didn’t want games but my bestfriend pushed a couple in at the last minute. I hate being the center of attention so I didn’t drag out the present opening either. It’s nice that your Inlaws wanna throw a shower too, but just doesn’t seem right for you to have to travel to celebrate your own baby. Seems like there could be some way to meet in the middle, maybe a venue where neither party would have to drive the whole distance? It’s great that you are starting to look forward to and plan these things! I wouldn’t allow myself to even consider it til I was well into the 2nd trimester, but I’m a major worrier an a pessimist:( I hope things continue to go well for you and your little one!!

  7. “giddy and guilty at the same time?” Yes, exactly that. It was totally bizarre that people were even planning showers for me (and early, no less, because we were supposed to have moved a long time ago!), and actually attending them felt even stranger. But I loved that everyone was so kind and generous to me, my husband, and our little Thumper. (And, yes, I wanted the gifts, too. We have very little left to spend on her ourselves. Every little bit helps.)

  8. I’m doing the co-ed thing too! And open house style so hopefully people just trickle through as they like. No games, just drinks and a spread of food. I really came to loath baby showers with every fibre of my being over the past few years and felt totally weird about having one, but I figure if I don’t do the standard thing and just throw a party it’ll be all good. And yeah… I want presents dang it!

  9. You deserve to plan good things!! Enjoy every moment. Co-Ed showers have become the norm. I can’t remember the last time I went to a baby shower that wasn’t co-ed.

  10. I feel like you’re reading my mind on both the doula and shower thing right now.

    1. My aunt called me this weekend, we chatted, I mentioned that my MIL was throwing me a shower, and instantly she had to throw one too. So now, here I am, at 21 weeks, and she’s just now pestering me with questions about this damned shower. She actually made audible “tsk tsk” sounds when I told her she’d better hurry up because I’m high risk and not supposed to travel past 32 weeks. Does she think I’m kidding? Or, does she think that I should “just relax” away my high-risk status like she wanted me to relax away our IF? So, here I sit, needing to drive over 400 miles to her shower (whenever the heck it will be), and 180 miles to my MIL’s shower at 32 weeks. Seriously, I KNOW how ungrateful this makes me sound, but REALLY? I’m gonna be logging something like 1,200 miles in the 3rd tri? And people think this is OK?

    2. I just totally stumbled onto a doula 2 weeks ago, and was TERRIFIED to raise the question of using a doula with my MFM. I was convinced that high-risk doctors would be totally opposed to the idea of bringing a doula into the equation. I was so concerned about raising the issue that my BP before my consultation with the new MFM was 143/89 or something insane like that… it was down to my usual 100/70 just after the consult! I had my prepared and typed list of questions for him sitting in front of me, and easily ticked off medical question after medical question, and readily soaked in all the (positive, to me) replies he gave me. Then I got to the bottom of my list and saw the doula question sitting there and I started to clam up again. At the same time, my chatting MFM just started rambling on about how our issue and our focus would be on GETTING me to delivery, but that delivery itself should be a relative non-issue despite my high risk status. Then he said, “And we can make it as froo froo as you’d like! We have birthing pools and midwives and whatever you’d need…” So, I slipped in my doula question and he replied with a smile, “Oh, absolutely, I encourage it!” So, yea, you just never know…

    • Wow, 400 miles would be out of the question for me. I mean, it’s nice that she wants to give you a shower, but how can she expect you to travel that far?

      I’m glad things worked out with your doctor and the doula. I’m sure I’m making more of it than I need to, as well. 🙂

  11. Giddy and guilty at the same time is a perfect way to describe how I’ve been feeling lately. Pregnancy after IF has been more difficult than what I expected it to be.

    As for asking about having a doula, I personally brought up the idea to my OB and she was the one that ok’d it, I never had to talk to labor and delivery. I think that if your OB regularly delivers at the hospital you’ll be going to, she should know if the medical staff with give your doula the side eye or welcome her.

    Talking about baby showers is terrifying and exciting at the same time (at least to me.) I’ve had an offer for one thrown by my sister and my mom, as well as one thrown by a friend down here, and while I’m honored and excited to talk about themes and food, I’m scared that something will happen in between now and then. I’m still in the mind set of taking this pregnancy day by day, so planning something months in advance is a scary thought, even though it’s something that needs to be done.

    I’m glad you’re able to act like a “normal” pregnant woman and are enjoying your pregnancy ❤

  12. Pingback: All About Doulas | Forever Infertile

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