While doula work and use is gaining in popularity, a lot of people still don't have a clue what it is that a doula does; more importantly sometimes what a doula doesn't do. Doula is a Greek word meaning "woman caregiver". In so so so many cultures around the world, it is entirely normal for a birthing woman to be surrounded by experienced women of their community during and after birth. The benefits in the modern day don't just extend to the birthing person but also their partner or support person. Here's a great infographic from DONA International on the benefits of a doula!
You may be thinking, ok great but how will having a doula present help these things happen for me and my family?
A birth doula...
recognizes birth as a key life experience
understands the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a person in labor
assists the birthing person and their partner in preparing for and carrying out their birth intentions
stays by the side of the laboring woman throughout the entire labor
provides emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and assistance in gaining information to make empowered decisions
facilitates communication between the birthing person, their partner, and any care providers
perceives her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman's space and memory of her birth experience
A birth doula doesn't...
push an agenda
support one way of birthing over another
judge or reprimand
make decisions for you
replace the partner or support person
perform any clinical or medical acts or procedures
All of this being said, I could provide you with statistics on the impact a doula has when present for a birth, but what I feel is more important is what being a doula means to me. I look at my role as one of honor. I am truly honored to be a part of each birth and take great care to protect and hold space for each client. Holding space to me means that I help drown out the unnecessary negativity, noise, chaos, and fear that can enter a birthing space. I take time getting to know each client and their partner/support person so that I can achieve this in a personalized way. My goal is not only to hold this space for emotional reasons but also to provide physical comfort measures and focus on providing support in any way I can during the moment.
I'll be posting more soon on techniques, methods, and tools that I use! Until then, I'd love to start a conversation in the comments with questions or experiences you've had with your birth! If you aren't comfortable sharing publicly, please feel free to email me directly or reach out via social medias.