Those familiar with the sci-fi series “Heroes” will likely be the first ones to click through and read this post! But, jokes and cki-fi pop culture references aside, a doula is many things to a birthing mom and her support people: Cheerleader is just one. A doula believes in you, and your thoughtful wishes for the birth of your baby. In our prenatal meetings, we will talk about how I can best support you. As I visited with a mom prior to the birth of her third baby (and I was blessed to be at each birth as her doula!), I asked her, “Is there anything that really stands out to you, from your past experiences with me as part of the team, that you wouldn’t want me to forget to do?” Right away, she said, “If we did nothing else, I would want your verbal encouragement.” Having someone that at her core, believes in you, and your SuperAbility to birth your baby, is amazing.
On that note, I found two very encouraging blog posts that crossed my path this week, and I wanted to share them with you!
The first is an intriguing post, written by a registered nurse (RN) who works on the Labor and Delivery floor. She expressed the desire to help the patients she worked with through learning more about positioning and comfort measures — skills and information that were lacking in her training! She discovered that there was already a professional offering these services: a doula! Advantage #428 to having a doula at your birth: A doula is trained in comfort measures to help you through the birthing of your baby, and never leaves your side. The nurse in the blog post (listed below) lamented the fact that, due to shift changes, high patient volume, and (unfortunately) lack of training in comfort measures, she couldn’t support the birthing women in the same way as a doula. Some wonder (nurses and doctors included) if a doula takes the PLACE of the Labor/Delivery nurse, or MD. Not a chance. We have specific and DIFFERENT roles at your birth. Read here: http://taprootdoula.com/2014/11/12/how-doulas-could-save-birth-an-ld-nurses-manifesto/
The next post that caught my eye is one written by a new Dad. http://pregnancy.about.com/od/doula1/a/dads-and-doulas.htm
While originally thinking that a doula would be a ‘third wheel’ during the birth of his first child, he ended up being so “ra-ra doula” that he not only encouraged all dads and other birth partners to DEMAND a doula, but noted that for future births he absolutely didn’t want them to occur without a doula. He highlighted an aspect of doula support that other dads I’ve worked with note as well: Doulas make dad look good.
Each dad is different in the amount of ‘hands-on’ they feel comfortable with providing to mom. I have seen a wide range. Some dads would rather be the ‘drink runner’ and ‘hand holder’. Some are very hesitant in the hospital atmosphere in general. Some would love to do the double-hip squeeze, help with breathing, and many different supportive positions, but, like the dad notes in his post, he inconveniently forgot every. single. thing. he “should” have remembered from childbirth education class. Don’t worry – the doula has your back, and she will help you to participate at your comfort level – while helping to deepen the bond between mom and dad, and the other birth partners present. When I leave the birthing, I usually am leaving lots of love: Mom gazing at baby, Dad gazing at Mom, baby having his first snuggle time and breastfeeding session. Those gazes of love stay with me and encourage me to continue in the important work of being a doula.
*Are you looking for a cheerleader for YOUR upcoming birth? I have end of May openings, as well as June and August openings, and into Fall. Let’s have coffee sometime and see if I’d be a good complement to your birth team! Contact me today! *