Hawaii-Logo_White

Considering a Doula for Your Surrogacy Birth

I recently had a conversation with someone regarding being a Doula during a surrogacy birth. I was surprised to hear their thoughts against why having a Doula would be even necessary. Knowing this would not be the gestational carrier’s first birth and that it would take place in a hospital involving an OB/GYN, nurses, partner, and intended parent(s), they didn’t think another ‘support person’ would be necessary.

 

My eyes grew wide: “Especially in a birth like this – how could a Doula not be important?”

 

Whether you are new to the world of surrogacy or you have experienced it before, let me begin by asking if we can agree that not every birth is the same. While some aspects may be similar (vaginal birth, cesarean, a placenta present, etc), environments will change; emotions of at least one person may change; the baby will certainly not be the same; and the domino effect goes on from there. According to DONA International, “Countless scientific trials examining Doula care demonstrate remarkably improved physical and psychological outcomes for both mother and baby. Doulas have a positive impact on the well-being of the entire family.”

Photo by Theresa of Robertson & Co. Photography

Throughout my years as a Doula and Birth Photographer, I have experienced a wide range of birth settings, from one on one with the laboring person to a large group in birthing villages. Each and every one has been beautiful because the laboring person chose their desired and preferred environment. However, despite the differences in setting and people present at the birth, the most important common factor was whether myself or someone else acting as a ‘Space Keeper’ was present. A space keeper is someone who, no matter how few or many people were in the room, was always keeping a watchful eye on both the environment and the person in labor, able to assist in communications when labor becomes too intense to process requests verbally. While the Doula’s primary role is to support the carrier, they are also able to communicate with the intended parents as questions or concerns arise during labor (rather than waiting for a nurse to arrive or trying to hold a conversation during crucial times of focus). 

 

After giving birth, the ability to process the experience with the Doula may be just as important as the support given during the birth process. Even when things seem to go as ‘perfectly planned’, the concentration it takes to give birth can take away from the reality of how things happened. Feeling confused, guilt, or worry over details and being able to process those memories can help alleviate negative emotions or help determine if additional care is recommended.  

 

Photo by Theresa of Robertson & Co. Photography

 

Doulas can act as a physical support measure during birth; however, the emotional and ‘spatial’ support provided can be equally as important (especially when Intended Parents are excited for this time to bond and connect with their new baby). When you begin interviewing with your prospective Doulas, it’s important to begin discussing what may (or may not) be preferred during your birth and if they seem to be compatible with those initial thoughts. Knowing that you may not be sure how you want your birth to happen is completely fine, too. Doulas are used to developing ideas, helping discover new questions to ask, and being flexible towards what matters most to a surrogate as a laboring mother.  

 

Most Doulas offer complimentary consultations and would work in cooperation with the surrogacy coordinators at Hawaii Surrogacy Center as your birth plan is developed.  Both Intended Parents and Surrogates are given birth preference forms. We then come together to create a plan that supports a safe, informed and loving birth environment for all parties involved.  On delivery day, we work together as a team – birthing mother, her partner, doula, agency representatives, medical personnel, and Intended Parents – to welcome another miracle into this world. If you are considering working with a doula during your surrogacy journey, please reach out to your Surrogacy Coordinator for more information and referrals to outstanding local doulas.    

 

About the writer: Teresa is a Birth Photographer (BFA Photography, Savannah College of Art and Design) and Doula (DONA International), in addition to volunteering with the organization Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. To learn more about her services, please visit: https://robertsoncophoto.com/doula-birth-photography

Related Blogs

Your Surrogacy Journey, Supported: Reproductive Health Resources for Black Women

The journey of surrogacy is a pathway paved with hope, strength, and the unwavering courage to welcome new life into the world in a very special way. For Black women, this path also navigates through a landscape shaped by cultural heritage, historical context, and the pressing need for equitable health resources.  Key Statistics: Here, we…
Read More

Self-care Tips & Resources for Surrogates

Your surrogate plays an instrumental role in your journey to parenthood. It’s just as important for them to invest in self-care during this period as it is for them to take care of your baby in their belly. If you are a gestational carrier, you know how important it is to nurture and care for…
Read More

Honoring Your Body: Tips and Tricks for Surrogates and Intended Parents

Many think of February as a time for love. Well, that and groundhogs become meteorologists. While highly commercialized, Valentine’s Day can also serve as a reminder to honor and love yourself. For those considering gestational surrogacy or in any stage of their journey, it’s essential to remember that caring for and honoring your body is…
Read More

Highlighting the Black Community’s Pioneering Contributions to Maternal Healthcare

From the vast realm of scientific research to grassroots community health initiatives, the Black community’s contributions to maternal healthcare are monumental and far-reaching. Here, we’ll highlight some of these key individuals and initiatives, underscoring the importance of communal efforts in advancing health outcomes for all mothers.  Black Trailblazers of Maternal Healthcare The history of maternal…
Read More

A Surrogate’s Ultimate Guide: The Medical Pre-screening Process

Gestational surrogacy is on the rise as hopeful parents who are unable to carry a pregnancy themselves seek out this option to complete their families. Gestational surrogacy is not new. What was once deemed an option only for the wealthy, changes in law, regulation, and insurance have made gestational surrogacy more accessible than ever before.…
Read More

Gestational Surrogacy Escrow Payment Milestones for Surrogates

Recently, we shared insight into the importance of utilizing escrow accounts in the gestational surrogacy journey. To complement the post, we put together a high-level infographic that goes over the most common payment milestones that surrogates can expect to receive from intended parents via escrow throughout the surrogacy journey.
Read More