Thinking of possibly investing in a doula but not sure what a doula really is? Look no further! This blog goes deep into what a doula is... and isn't.
Have you had these questions?
What the heck is a doula?
How can a doula help me?
What does a doula do?
Why should I hire a doula?
Will a doula replace my partner?
Before I knew what a doula was I had all these questions, as well as some deeply held biases about what a doula was (you know, typically hippy with a flower crown that smells like incense!).
Doulas - but not that word - think birth support people, have been practicing since the beginning of time to give comfort and support to mothers as they bring their children into the world. Doulas also provide essential help during postpartum.
The word "Doula" was coined in the 70's. And being a doula wasn't considered mainstream until about 10 or so years ago - doulas often hid in the shadows and weren't actively marketing or promoting themselves online or in person. They certainly were charging their worth for the amount of hours or emotional labour that goes into this role. Times are a changing and doulas are becoming more and more well known as an essential part of the birthing persons and whole families experience.
By definition, a doula is someone who provides physical, emotional, mental and spiritual support to birthing people and their families. Doula's do not offer clinical/medical care or advice. Midwives do 'womb down' care, making sure you and baby are cared for clinically. Doulas do 'womb up' care, your inner world, heart and mind. We prepare you for labour and those early postpartum parenting days. We coach you through finding your inner wisdom. How I define myself as a doula is that I show up for you with integrity, supporting you through pregnancy, labour and birth reminding you how much of a birthing badass you are.
A doula supports the whole family unit - not just the mother or birthing person. Dads and partners need this vital support too! We help them to help you. They learn to advocate for you, and how to best support you when you enter the passage to parenthood that is birth.
A doula brings the human experience back to humanity.
When you invest in a doula, ultimately you will be prepared and empowered for a positive birth experience. Throughout prenatal catchups a doula will prepare you for the role of labour and provide continual support with four pillars - physical support, emotional/spiritual support, informational support and advocacy.
Many women don't know they have choices surrounding their pregnancy and they way they want to birth. A good doula will empower you to be informed about your rights. A doula doesn't advocate for you, but teaches you to empower yourself through finding your voice. I do this by guiding you and supporting you though the inner work (and it is work!).
Many families hire a doula because they want continuity of care from the same familiar face. Many women who birth want constant physical support or just the option for it. Midwives, amazing as they are, sometimes can not provide continual emotional or physical support during labour in a hospital setting - they are often looking after many other birthing women at the same time - so unfortunately there often isn't the time to provide the care they truly want to give you while your contractions build and your ready to birth.
Labour can be long! Partners can get tired. A doula tag teams with your partner so you can have constant support. That can look like slow dancing, massage and acupressure, helping you with breathing techniques, wiping your sweat away as I whisper how strong you are and how amazing you're doing. Or, I just holding space for you with my presence. I do not take away from your partner or replace him/her in any way.
Overall, a doula is a birth professional who becomes a trusted friend, confidant and side kick. Someone to bounce ideas around with, someone to ask how and what to expect during labour, someone to cry with, laugh with and be your true authentic self with. A doula/client relationship is a treasured one and something I am so honoured I get to be apart of.
If your thinking about investing in a doula during your pregnancy, birth and postpartum journey reach out, I'd love to support you to have a positive, empowering birth experience so you can walk into parenthood with confidence and clarity.