The doula, one of the many enigmas of birth. Who is she? What does she do? Why should I consider one? The idea of a doula can initially pose more questions than answers but once you’ve broken through the unknown aspects the role begins to make sense very quickly.
A doula in her truest form is...
essentially a woman who provides emotional, physical, informational support to a mother-to-be or couple during their pregnancy, birth and postnatal period. She advocates for them, she builds a relationship with them and more often than not she becomes a friend to them. Upon learning this,
I took the leap to pursue my doula work in August ’16 and I haven’t looked back. I meet with my clients during their pregnancy, we discuss the hopes they have for their birth, any previous birthing experiences, their concerns and what they see my role as being for them within their birth space. Most people who have heard of doulas assume they are only for the privileged few, they’re assumed to be a luxury item. This is completely false, while the role is treasured, finding a doula you can afford is not impossible. It is however essential to know that the work we do is valuable, our fees are just as valid as those of any professional service. We are worth our worth, however, many of us are flexible and may be open to discussing payment options. (Ask!)
Another misconception is that a doula is going to come in and take over a birth space. Nothing could be further from the truth. The best doulas can be found on the outskirts of the space, watching (discretely), ensuring our clients wishes are being enacted and their rights are respected. If we are called to action then we are there for the long haul, nobody has the stamina, stomach and thigh strength of a doula when physically supporting her precious client.
As a doula I’m there to provide evidence based, unbiased information, I’m there to be your bubble of protection, understanding and strength (if you require it). I have your back, front, sideways and upsidedownways! I’m there, from the moment you decide you need me and I do not leave your side until you and baby are safely tucked up, falling in love and resting.
I choose to doula because our society needs me to. There is a cloud over birth, the majority of women are distrusting of their bodies long before its growing, nourishing or birthing a baby. Women are conditioned to believe with is frightening, painful and difficult but that really isn’t the case. Normal birth is amazing, the majority of us look back on the day we birthed our babies as both the toughest and most rewarding, beautiful day of our lives. I am on a mission to reprogram the women of my country so that they relearn the power of their own body. So that they prepare for and look forward to their birthing experience and that they are able to enjoy and cherish their early days of parenthood. It may sound like a fairytale but its already happening. I’m seeing it with my own eyes.
The best part of my job is meeting a woman and watching her grow in confidence, watching her take control of her birth choices, and watch her birth her baby with a power and strength only very few, extremely lucky people ever see. The look on a woman’s face when she first sees/holds her baby and realises ‘I did it’ is something which can never be recreated elsewhere. Marathon runners, Olympic champions & Chess grandmasters will never know the euphoria of cradling your baby in your arms, knowing you just brought it into the world, out of your own body and into your arms. To see that, to know that this is what I do with my life, its priceless!