Baffling Birth Beat: Why a Doula Opted Out of Hiring a Doula for Herself

            When Chicago-area doula Ariel Swift had her first child, she wound up hiring a labor doula. Labor doulas are great non-judgmental support people who are available to you twenty four hours a day leading up to and during your delivery. Swift—a doula herself—says many people “would think I would be the poster girl in support of doulas at birth. And I am…if you want one.”

            One critical thing about doula services is that they are “non-judgmental” supporters of an expecting or new mother. Central to Swift’s non-judgmental core is her belief that “every person who enters a labor and delivery room has some control over who will be in that room,” which includes control over whether to hire a labor doula or not. Childbirth is a deeply individual process and every mother has a right to fit her experience to her personal preferences and needs.

            Instead of hiring a labor doula, Swift and her husband have chosen to invest in postpartum support. She knows that her family and friends will be around to support her for a short while, but healing—physically, mentally, and emotionally—takes time. A postpartum doula is not a cure-all for postpartum wellness problems, but it does mean that support is available throughout the healing process.

            That additional support alleviates the weight on mom and dad’s backs and provides a new mom with time to take care of herself. Whether it’s a quick nap, setting up a phone call with a friend, or simply taking time to reflect, the time that a postpartum doula provides to a new mom is extraordinarily beneficial.


Swift is the owner and operator of Doulas of Chicago, a one-stop shop for families seeking doulas and placenta encapsulations. DoC offers personalized family care as well as classes for new and expecting families.


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