Do’s And Don’ts: A Doulas Tale
Trying to explain what I do is hard. The word doula is an ancient word with a modern concept. I am a doula, a woman who serves, and supports, and cares for, and listens to, a birthing family. Some mothers to-be are aware of what doulas do, some don't have a clue. And frankly I am okay with that.It allows me, to define best, exactly what I do.
I don't catch babies.
I am not a medical professional. I will not be checking your cervix or administering medication or even giving you medical advice, and I will not be delivering your baby. But I will support you when you do!
I do support families.
While your nurses, doctors, or midwife will being handling what is going on in your nether regions, I will be helping you change positions, holding your hand, making sure you have what you need to birth your baby. Supporting your family may also mean, stepping back as you and your partner bond and work through contractions together. Or helping incorporate, your parents, or siblings. Yes, a doula does that.
I don't speak for you.
Many times doulas are thought of as patient advocates, and while I certainly understand that line of thinking, I try to help you and your partner advocate for yourselves. Taking charge of your medical decisions is hardly my place, speaking on your behalf would frighten me. But I can be a voice in the room that knows your desires and fears about birth, and help direct you toward speaking out!
I do speak up.
If something the doctor, nurse or midwife has said, doesn't click, isn't understood, I will try to break it down for you. If you feel unheard in the room, I will try to be the voice that says, Can we have a minute to talk about this? I am always in your corner. Even if that means you change your mind about something that you did or did not want. Even if that means reminding you about what you said you wanted. Even if it is just to say you can do this.
I don't judge.
The ways that you have decided to give birth, or feed, or parent, or schedule is completely up to you. Want to schedule a c-section? Great! Let's me pencil that in. Want to give birth on all fours? Cool, counter pressure here we come. If you want to breastfeed, I want be your number 2 fan (obviously baby is number 1). Or if you want to formula feed, I am here to help sanitize bottles. I am not here to judge how you want to do this whole parent thing, I am here to help.
I am a resource.
If I know the answer to your questions about pregnancy, labor, newborns etc., I will tell you. If I don’t I will do my research, checking mountains of books, or ask an expert in the field. When you might need more specific help, I will refer you out perhaps to a doctor, midwife, IBCLC, and remember, this too comes without judgement. As your doula, I do my best to give you the most accurate information.
In sum, a doula supports on many levels. Yes I can give you counter pressure through contractions, place a warm compress where you need it, hold your hand, tie up your hair. I can be with you through it all. And then some. I am a woman who serves for the benefit of your growing family.