What on earth is a "doula" and why would I need one?

Maybe you are asking this question right now… or maybe you asked it, gave birth with a doula in the room and now know exactly what the answer is…

This is what some of my clients said:

“Thank you again for being my partner in birth. You were everything to me during that time. I really can’t thank you enough. You were my rock and got me through a really intense experience.”

“Gosh we’ve really been so loved on and cared for during this journey by you!!”

Because this is who a doula is and what a doula does:

we care! We care about YOU, MAMA, and we care about YOUR EXPERIENCES as you transition into motherhood. We show our care in many different ways and you won’t find two doulas doing exactly the same thing because we don’t follow a formula – we get to know you and then we use our knowledge and skills and experience to support you in what you need, we hold space for your growth and we encourage you to take that one step forward towards trusting your ability to mother your baby.

What is also true (and there’s loads of stats and evidence to back it up) is that the presence of a doula in the birthing room change the experience for everybody – labour is often shorter, chances for a C-section birth is reduced and the mother’s perception of the labour is different – she feels more supported, more heard and more empowered. It also changes how the baby experiences that first hour outside of the womb. Doulas know how to help a mother rest skin-to-skin with her newborn, how to encourage the dad to take his place and how to set everybody up for the start of their breastfeeding journey.

Having a doula does not guarantee that you will get the “perfect” birth, because there’s the unique mystery of how each birth unfolds and then there’s the myriad of other factors that impact this intricate and complex process.

Having a doula does guarantee that you will feel safer from even before labour begins, it means you can stay at home longer (because the doula knows how to support you in early labour and how to determine when it is the right time for you to go to the hospital) and that you will have a knowledgeable person on your team to help you make educated decisions about the options of medical interventions offered to you.

The one reality about birthing in a hospital is that you sacrifice a certain amount of autonomy and that there will be a lot of things happening around you that you will not have a say about. Your doula can help you understand and manage your experience to a certain extent. Many hospitals understand the value of having a doula – her constant presence with the labouring mom is a gift that they cannot offer – but in many cases a doula is mostly tolerated and then relegated when the mother is ready to push. Even so – the doula will stay through it all and support your partner in this very tender moment and have a cup of tea with you afterwards as you tell and retell your story.

As a doula I offer you my commitment to prepare you for a better birth experience. I will encourage you to learn as much as possible about your body’s design and the mechanics of birth, to evaluate your lifestyle choices and make decisions towards being physically and emotionally stronger and most importantly, to rediscover the art of hearing and trusting your inner voice. I have seen the difference between mothers who just rock up for birth and hope for the best (or wait for others to tell her what to do) and those who do the work – physically, emotionally and mentally – and are ready to allow her body to bring her baby into the world.

As your doula, I believe that you have everything you need to grow this baby, birth this baby and mother this baby – it is my honour to support you as you discover it for yourself.

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