Giving birth can be a frightening prospect, especially if you’re single. Romy Titus talks about her decision to use a doula.
In July 2016, I realised that I would be expecting my first child. I was 35 at the time: a go-getter, career driven, goal oriented individual. I thought that if I could build my broadcasting career the way I did, then having a baby should be easier than a live broadcast to millions across the country. Man, I’ve got this!
The more excited I became, the more anxiety crept in. I would research everything from miscarriages, to C-sections, natural to water births. By the end of it all, I was confused, anxious and even a little delirious about making the right choices for me and my baby. How would I know what to do?
As a single parent, I knew I needed someone to lean on.
The argument is that family is great support and while that is not disputed, I chose neutrality and a person who could walk this path with me without any interference on what I should do, but guidance on how I wanted to do it. If there was one thing I was certain of, it’s that I wanted the chance to do things my way.
On a day when hormones were at their peak and I uncomfortably adjusted my bum bones on a wooden bench at the maternity clinic, minutes away from firing my mid-wife for being late yet again, in waltzed a tiny framed, energetic, friendly human being who could clearly see that I was on the brink of explosion. So, she sat down, we started chatting and we’ve not stopped since.
That is how I met my doula. I wanted the relationship to be natural, I wanted to click with the person and trust that my best interests were at heart and that this would be about my body, my baby and my birth in the most vulnerable of moments, untouched by any other opinions on how I needed to do this as a first-time mother.
I joke and say if it wasn’t for my doula, I would still be pregnant. Having this support was invaluable.
Many times people ask, why pay more when you’ve got a a, nurse, partner and family at your beck and call?
So much attention goes to baby, often a mother’s silent call for help goes unnoticed and my blissful birthing experience is thanks to my doula. She was the cheerleader when I lost courage and strength to push on. She was the helping hand when I thought I was inadequate, she was the voice of reason when I felt like a failure. At times family are so swept up in the cries of a newborn that the doula really fulfils the role of “mother’s keeper” to ensure that her transition to motherhood is as seamless as possible.
Having a doula is a personal choice, yet one I’m very happy to have made. That moment in my life has left an indelible mark, so deep that I too felt the responsibility to want to gift every mother – whether single or not – the same experience. And so started my journey into doula-dom.
You won’t really know the worth of a doula until you’re submerged in contractions – where you’re in search of a safe space and, like an angel, your doula steps in, knowing fully your deepest desires in that sacred space, and helps you fulfil them.
“If a doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.” – John Kennell