As a doula, this is how I see my role:
A doula is a person who attends the birth of your baby to support the mother and the partner. They are there to provide suggestions for positions to use in labour, to remind you to pee, to help relax you and remind you to breathe deeply, to help provide massage, counter pressure, or other pain management techniques, to make the partner look good, or to provide a break for the partner, to remind the partner to hold your hand, to tell you that you are doing a great job, to replenish water and other drinks, to remind the partner to eat and drink, to ensure that you are not left alone in labour if the partner has to go to the bathroom or pay for parking, to let the family know what is happening if they are waiting, to take photos if you wish, to be your guide, your coach, and your friend.
Of course, my role changes with each couple, and with each birth.
And now, some doula information from dona.org.
Doula comes from the Greek word doula which means woman caregiver. It is now most commonly used to describe a trained and experienced labour companion who provides the woman and her husband or partner with continuous emotional support, physical comfort, and assistance in obtaining information before, during, and just after childbirth. There are two types of doulas: Birth doulas and postpartum doulas. The birth doulas provide assistance in the above mentioned areas before, during and shortly after labour. Postpartum doulas assist the mother and family in the transition that is needed to become a family.
- recognize birth as a key life experience that the mother remembers all her life.
- understand the physiology of birth and the emotional needs of a woman in labour
- assist the woman and her partner in preparing for and carrying out their plans for the birth
- stay by the side of the labouring woman throughout the entire labour
- provide emotional support, physical comfort measures, an objective viewpoint, and assistance to the woman in getting the information she needs to make good decisions
- facilitate communication between the labouring woman, her partner, and clinical care providers
- perceive her role as one who nurtures and protects the woman’s memory of her birth experience
A doula is different from a doctor or midwife, as they DO NOT perform any medical tasks. If you hire a doula, you will also need to be in the care of a doctor or midwife.
What is support? (a poem)
Support is unconditional.
It is listening…
not judging, not telling your own story.
Support is not offering advice…it is offering a handkerchief, a touch, a hug…caring.
We are here to help women discover what they are feeling…
not make the feelings go away.
We are here to help a woman identify her options…
not tell her which options to choose.
We are here to discuss steps with a woman…
not to take the steps for her.
We are here to help a woman discover her own strength…
not to rescue her and leave her still vulnerable.
We are here to help a woman discover she can help herself…
not to take that responsibility for her.
We are here to help a woman learn to choose…
not to make it unnecessary for her to make difficult choices.