I get this question a lot, especially from first time parents. It's a big investment, and why do you need another person at your birth? You and your partner are going to be together, you've taken prenatal classes, listened to your friends and families birth stories, and at the hospital you'll have a nurse and a doctor. Why do you need more?
Most of my work starts while you are still pregnant. Getting to know you and your hopes and fears for your labour and birth. Does your partner want to watch your baby be born? Are you afraid they won't know what to do? Has someone told you stories about how much it will hurt and that your vagina will never be the same again? Do you want to labour without drugs but don't really know how yet? Let's start with the knowledge that birth is normal and safe. Your body was designed to do this. Your partner was made to love and support you while you birth. Then we can work out the details at our meeting to discuss alllll of your options for labour and birth.
During your pregnancy, fears and questions naturally arise. Is this pain in your pelvis normal? You feel so exhausted and can't sleep. What can you do about constipation, anxiety, heart burn and hemorrhoids?
What if your baby is too big or small or breech? Will you need a c section or induction? Is there a right time for pain medication? What's safest for you and your baby? Doulas teach and use an acronym called BRAIN for decision making. I'm there to help you with the medical evidence, studies and recommendations for a safe and healthy birth. I have experience with numerous pregnancies and labours, I understand how different they all are. We will talk through your options, your doctor's advice and your intuition for what make sense for you. This is your birth. I'm here to guide you and help you do it safely your way. Feeling confident and in control of your body and your birth increases your ability to cope and decreases your risk of postpartum depression.
During labour I will cheer you on, let you know whats coming next, when to head to the hospital or call the midwife. Birth is normal and natural and has it's own rhythm. I've helped numerous families labour and cope with contractions, position changes, discomfort and the unexpected. It's where I'm most calm. I stay with you, as a guide through the experience. Your partner and your family will know how to help you, and if not, that's something I can share with them too. You and your baby will labour on, knowing that you are safe, supported and loved. Your support person will feel connected and confident in their role and that you are doing well. A doula is like a wedding planner, making sure that the big day goes well even if it rains.
After your baby is born we can talk about how it happened and why it happened that way. It's a lot for you to process or remember, but your doula is your witness. One of my skills is helping to establish a good breastfeeding routine in the first few weeks of life. I'll help you with what to expect as well as spending time with you during a feeding to offer some tips if needed. You can do it though. Your partner can help keep you nourished and cared for while you spend time feeding your baby. Your family may be there too, excited to share in the newness of your baby. Sometimes things have changed since their own babies were little. A doula will help you with the current recommendations for safety and care.
I'm not your spouse, your parent or your sister, chances are those positions are already filled! I'm your doula: your friend, your teacher, your shoulder to lean on, your impartial sounding board, your cheerleader and your advocate for a great birth.