World Doula Week kicks off today and I thought I would take a moment to talk about what a birth doula does.
This blog post will not be an informative, fact based listing of all the improved outcomes that arise when you hire a doula for your birth, or the increased percentages of unmedicated births, or the decreased percentages of cesarean sections. I will save those for another post on another day, or you can visit any other reputable site and get your fill of the numbers.
No, today I want to talk about what doula’s REALLY DO.
Doulas get to know you. They take the time to hear your story. They sit with you. They cry with you when you share your trauma. They really listen to your wants and needs and help you formulate a birth plan based on what YOU decide with no judgement. They know your partner’s name and get to know them too. They cheer you on. They celebrate with you.
Doulas teach you. They teach you what to expect, what is normal, what providers in your area support the type of birth you desire, what questions to ask, what should go on a birth plan, what are the different types of pain management during labor and how do you decide on one, what to do with that crazy long wrap you got at your baby shower, and the list goes on and on depending on your doula and her individual skill set.
Doulas advocate for you. They also give the other support people that surround you the tools and words to say so that they can also advocate for you. They teach you the words to say. They help you make lists of questions to ask and help you formulate responses. They practice with you if you are unsure of how to advocate for yourself. They remind you of your power.
Doulas support you. They are available 24/7 for text messages and answer questions that range from “is it normal to not feel pregnant at 8 weeks?” to “am I in labor?” They practice comfort measures with you and your partner. They give you permission to listen to your body, and to say no to all the “extra” so you can rest and grow your baby. They come to you when things are getting hard and they stay with you until you are holding your baby in your arms. They bring you dinner and make sure that breastfeeding is going well.
What doulas really do is “Mother the Mother.”
What doulas really do is LOVE.