"Your husband will be no help to you."
(And introducing a new model for busy witches)
|Claire Zulkey||Aug 27, 2019|| 3|
That was what I wrote to a first-time pregnant friend earlier this year who asked me what I thought about doulas. She happened to write me shortly after I wrote a piece for Cincinnati magazine on the topic, an assignment that made me realize that I am very pro-doula even though I never hired one—maybe because I didn’t hire one. “I did not use a doula but I wish I had,” I wrote to my pal. “Your husband will be no help to you. I don’t mean that to be mean, but he doesn’t know what he’s doing any more than you do.”
I considered a doula when I was pregnant the first time and read Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born and watched The Business of Being Born (which my very pro-hospital husband and I were split on.) The idea that the presence of an experienced ally could reduce stress, alleviate pain and thus expedite labor was very temping. However, the cost seemed high, plus, it did seem a little woo-woo at the time (back in 2012, when I also really felt the need to establish myself as a pregnant woman who runs 5Ks.)
In retrospect that money would have been well worth it—my first labor was prolonged and medicated and all that jazz. I could have used someone there to tell me what might come next, or confirm whether my epidural wasn’t working right, and reassure my husband who, while supportive, indeed had no idea what was going on. He fed me ice chips and clicked my epidural button when I needed him to but I also had to tell him to go eat and also witness him try and fail to set up an Apple TV, purchased for the occasion, in the hospital room. (During my second labor he told me he was coming down with cold.)
I could have also really used someone who knew exactly how to help me at home. I figured, especially since I had family close by, and because I didn’t breast feed, we would hash it out on our own—you do the crime, you do the time. But nobody really tells you how when you get home with your first baby that even under the best of circumstances you aren’t just home. You’re recovering from physical and emotional trauma, you have this baby thing to deal with and all the gear you have to figure out, there is 600% more housework to do, and it’s all covered with an inedible fondant of hormones and sleep deprivation. A person who has been there (besides my parents, who had forgotten most things baby) would have been worth the money, even if just to empty the dishwasher and put away laundry, but I thought I could/should do it alone and it could have been better.
So yeah, get the doula. Knowing what you don’t know instead of pretending that you do know—or even worse, assuming that you should know—is three quarters of the battle.
Parenting • Date night with the fam!
End credits (already??) • Yes!
Word has trickled down to Evil Witches HQ that our issues are too long for busy readers. (What, you don’t have 90 minutes of dedicated quiet reading time every morning? Did you try going to bed earlier? Meal prepping on Sunday nights? Where are you going??) So I’m going to ramp up to a shorter but more frequent model—once a week for the free subscribers, a few times for the paying ones, whom you should join:
Anyway I hope you enjoyed this issue of Evil Witches, a newsletter for people who happen to be mothers. You can follow us and talk to us on Twitter here. If you know someone who'd like this sort of thing in their inbox about once a week, please spread the word. If you want to shoot any general questions just shoot us an email (you can reply right to this newsletter.) You can follow us on Instagram too.
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