How do you dou-la?
You may have already asked the question – ‘what is a doula?’
And you may have heard the common response – ‘doulas offer physical, emotional and informational support to birthing women and their partners during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.’ But what does that mean? Let’s leave behind this tired elevator speech and delve a little deeper.
How do I doula?
Well, first things first –
I learn from you.
During our prenatal work, we will be creating a trusting relationship that you can rely on. I will be learning about you – what you are dreaming of, what you are questioning, what you are nervous about, what support might best help you. This will help shape our time together to focus on what you need in a doula – a sounding board? an information directory? a confidante? a cheerleader? Together, we will work out what the approach that is best for you as a unique individual. That may look like discussing our local hospital practices and creating a birth vision together. Maybe you need to unpack your previous birth stories or experiences. Perhaps your family needs some ideas for reducing stress in the household. It could be that you and your partner need to make some decisions that need a little extra informational support. It may involve practicing positions together so that you get a sense of what you might like to try during your birthing time. It could be that examining expectations for the postpartum period would be beneficial. Each person, partnership and family has unique needs, so let’s start there.
I breathe with you.
As your birthing time arrives, I follow your groove. ‘But what if I don’t know what my groove is?’ It’s innate. You don’t have to go looking for it. As mammals, we have all come with this natural rhythm – we just have to get out of our own way to feel it. You may have it on your own. Your partner may be offering you the perfect support. I won’t step in the way. I will watch you find it and I will follow you offering gentle suggestions along the way when you feel at a loss. I work with your existing support team, not against. I fill in the gaps where they exist, I offer my hands when they are needed, and I provide reassurance to your partner or family members. I am able to focus on your emotional well-being and support you – breath by breath, wave by wave.
I witness you
Yes, I have experience witnessing birth, but your story is going to be a brand new one, like no other. In the days and weeks postpartum, you will be processing a lot. You will also be adjusting to a new role and new family dynamics. As you take care of a new being, it can be a challenge to take care of yourself. You may feel lost in an abyss of hormones and sleep deprivation. But I will see you, I will listen to you and I will help you navigate the waters that make up your journey.
We are with you…
Sarah Minty – Birthside