For many women the idea of a doula is simply obscure. Not because she doesn’t know what they are or what they offer….it’s more because she has the support of her mother, sister, best friend, husband, you name it. She considers them her doula. You know, the whole, support and love stuff. Which is really what a doula does. She isn’t even wrong. She is leaning on her most trusted life companions and who could blame her. Motherhood and birth is an emotional and somewhat confusing time in life. Why on earth would anyone pay someone else to replace their own mom….
For the most part, it’s so hard for me to disagree. These are the people you have grown to trust and love over years and years throughout your life. Who better right? That’s where I start to see why a doula is so incredibly valuable. Unlike your family and trusted friends, doula’s are not emotionally involved. I know, I know, that sounds super harsh. Hear me out though.
We go into this whole birth thing listening to all the advice, well meaning as it is, from everyone near us. We read books, visit websites, reading nightly while we lay awake waiting for our next potty break. We willingly absorb all of the “they came before us, they must know something stories”. Exhaustingly so. We poke and pry their brains for months about all the what not to do, what to be sure to do etc…What we do not prepare for is the emotional side of actual childbirth.
While we enter the hospital, be it for induction, scheduled cesarean, or spontaneous birth, we are unprepared for the emotional ‘now’ of the process. This is where a doula enters. They understand, and have been there, seen that and then some. While the nurses are explaining procedures at a hurried pace, it’s hard to catch what is going on. A doula helps to ease the interaction between staff and mom, making it easier to ask questions to nursing staff and reduce any misunderstandings. They do all this without any invested emotion. They do what you wish as per your birth plan.
During he childbirth period, be it in hospital, at a birth center, or in the home, the Doula is the consistent presence to the mother. Sometimes the consistent care is to ensure the husband is allowed a meal, or the soon to be grandma gets a little break between loving gazes and sentiments. Other moments it’s guided help or instruction on ways to alleviate discomfort for the laboring mom, or extra words of encouragement that the soon to be aunt may not have considered. These are ways the doula interacts with the whole support team to ensure that the focus is on the birthing mother. To be sure everyone is available and involved as the mother wishes to offer their best support.
Truth is this. Your family, your best friend, your mother. They are all emotionally invested. Translation is, they do NOT want to see you in a situation where they are unable to help. Many times a doula is the perfect person to bring the birth team together, and offer advice on meaningful ways to assist the mother while not impeding the desired birth. They are there to help the mother, which sometimes means helping those who want to be close her. They hold the space, so that all involved are able to have a direct and meaningful part of the miracle of birth.
I am a DONA Certified birth Doula. Serving the greater Kansas City metro area. I am also Rebozo and Dad Certified and a Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. My heart's passion is to be able to work within the birthing community to serve expecting women through the childbearing experience.