What is a birth/labor doula?

Updated: Jul 9

You probably already get the gist of doula support, right? The value of hiring a doula to support you through labor is really starting to get around these days, and thank goodness for that!

Just a little background for context: I first heard the word 'doula' in 1996, a few months after my third child was born, I think it was in an article in some women's magazine or something. Anyway, was I intrigued!

Why? I was still reeling from my last childbirth experience (physically and mentally), and without getting too deeply into things, that last birth was pretty traumatic for me.

I felt ignored in the birthing room. This birth went pretty quickly: I didn't know what was happening, everyone was talking over me, my partner at the time assumed that since I had given birth twice before, it was no big deal, and well...I was basically on my own.

Then came postpartum depression with a vengeance, and people didn't really talk about it at the time. No one warned me or checked to see how I felt about my birth experience. My baby was healthy and I was healthy, so everything was fine, right? Wrong!

So here was this article about doulas...say what? Someone there specifically for me? The whole time? What a concept! My doula would've explained everything that was happening and answered my questions. She would've understood that even though I had given birth twice before, every birthing experience was different. She would've helped my partner to support me.

I thought with every cell of my being, "That's what I want to do for someone else!" And a doula was born.

So to answer your question in the usual way: A doula is someone who provides educational, emotional and physical support to someone before, during and after birth. Yes, we do all of that!

But there's so much more. There's love, respect, empathy, advocacy, trust and sometimes even friendship. We doulas truly consider it a privilege to share in such an amazing time!

Of course, do your research. Not every doula is for every client, and that's okay! Set up a free consultation with a prospective doula and ask:

·Will you answer my questions without showing your personal bias?

·Will you judge me if I make different decisions than you would?

·Will you respect the relationship my partner and I have, even with its imperfections?

·Are you equipped with a variety of strategies for supporting all types of labor and birth?

·Are you accountable, available and dependable?

·Do you have a back-up system in place in the event that you are unavailable?

Have other questions? Fill out our contact form to chat with us! Or share with someone you know embarking on their birth journey!

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