I tried really, REALLY hard not to let the FFFC thread get to me, but I just can't seem to let it go. I do know that the comments were not directed at me personally, and I am not mad at anyone for their opinions, but come on. Surely you can understand that it's hard to hear someone call your passion - the thing you've gone back to school, back to work, started all over for - "silly", "baloney", "a waste". I don't think I'm out of line to be a little offended by that.
So here. Maybe if I can say my piece I can at least feel like I tried.
Doulas aren't a waste. They aren't for everyone, and that's perfectly ok. But the profession is not worthless. Research has shown that doula support (overall, not for every single woman, obviously) results in shorter labor with fewer complications, reduces the need for/use of pitocin, vacuum and forceps, c/s, reduces mothers' requests for pain meds including epidurals, and (this is the one I'm most passionate about) reduces mothers' negative feelings about their childbirth experiences.
Doulas charge money because they work hard and dedicate a LOT of time to their clients. Each doula does it differently, but there are usually 1-2 prenatal meetings with the mom and her partner to discuss their wishes for their birth, answer any questions and build a relationship. Doulas offer 24 hour on-call support to their clients. All those little things that we posted here on TB that we were worried about, but not quite enough to call the doc for fear that we'd sound silly? Those are things doulas answer. Any time, even at 3am. They rush to your side when you're in labor, and don't leave it for a minute unless they have to pee. They don't just rub your back, they suggest different positions to help labor progress and ease pain. They breathe with you, groan with you, tell you things are normal when you begin to fear that it's all going wrong. Husbands, as loving and supportive as they may be, often don't have any clue exactly HOW to support a laboring mama. They are too emotionally invested- they love you too much, and seeing you in pain makes them forget everything they learned about how this was "supposed" to go. They just want to help make it better, but aren't always sure how. Doulas have BTDT. No matter what happens in your labor, she's already experienced it with another mama, or at the very least, learned about it in one of her classes. And since she's simply at work and not experiencing one of the biggest, most stressful days of her life, she will remember what to do. Doulas make already awesome husbands into rock star coaches. We support dads too.
This is a pretty good summary of how doulas are valuable, even to dads, written by a dad: http://pregnancy.about.com/od/doula1/a/dads-and-doulas.htm
That got rambly and I know it. Sorry for the terrible writing... Emily is starting to stir on the monitor and I really wanted to get this posted so I started going really fast- LOL! If you have questions about what doulas do, please ask. I would so much rather answer a million questions then have you thinking my work is worthless baloney. I guess if I can't change your minds, well, I can't. I just couldn't let it go without at least trying. Thanks for listening... Carry on.