Doula as Trail Guide…

silhouetteparentsWhen deciding whether or not to hire a doula, some couples question, “Will the specialness of welcoming our baby be, in any way, diminshed by having a doula? Is it better to be ‘just us’?” It is a great question, and a common concern.

Let me just say, I love being the ‘third wheel’. My goal, as a doula, is to have your remember the details of the day in all their wonder, joy, their challenges that you met head-on, with the support of your birth team, which often includes a spouse or partner, sometimes also relatives or other close friends.

With suggestions and guidance from me, I work with the birth partner(s) so they can participate to their comfort level. For some spouses or birth partners, this is very hands-on, knowledgeable help and assistance. For others, who have not witnessed a birth before, my guidance can really help them to ramp up their support.

In most cases, we do truly function as a team. As a doula, I have been to many births, and have extensive knowledge on childbirth, procedures, positions, and more. I want to reassure you and help you understand what’s happening now, and where you’re going.

My husband, who is decidedly pro-doula, and I were trying to come up with a good metaphor to explain the doulas role. We think we hit upon a good one.

A doula is like a trail guide.


She doesn’t walk the trail for you, but she’s walked this trail before — many times, in fact. So, she knows the large tree roots you want to avoid tripping over. She knows that, if the condition of the trail deteriorates in any way at a certain point, there are detours that can be safely taken. She knows the best places to rest, and when its time to forge ahead through a difficult part. She is just as comfortable walking ahead at certain points, but also trusts that you are a born hiker, and she trusts that you’re prepared for this journey.

When you get done with an amazing hike, you remember the hike – you don’t necessarily remember the guide. You rely on the guide’s support and advice, but the journey is what you truly remember forever. At the end of the trail, you might see a beautiful view, sunset, or other point of interest.

At the end of labor, however, you hold your baby in your arms; truly, the best reward…

Why hire a doula? Whether you’ve ‘hiked’ this trail before, or its your first time, a guide can provide valuable insight, advice, and reassurance. The guide, your doula, has gone down this road many times before, and knows just what to do when the going gets rough. A doula can help you arrive at your destination feeling empowered and awesome – and your birth partner can feel this way, too.

So, rather than asking, “Will the doula be kind of a third-wheel to this event?” I encourage you to ask, “How can this amazing journey be enhanced by a guide who has been there before us?”

I trust that you know how to give birth to your baby. I want to be a guide when you need a helping hand, and to be there for each member of your birth team, to have an amazing journey on the day of your child’s birth.


World Doula Week: March 22 – 28th


World Doula Week - March 22-28  Get Involved! Learn More!

“If a doula was a drug, it would be unethical not to use it.”

– John H. Kennell, doctor and author of several studies investigating the benefits of doulas

It is fitting that my first post is published during this, the week of worldwide celebration of doulas! This week is meant to raise  awareness not only on the subject of who a doula is, what they do (and what they don’t do), but also to empower doulas themselves to celebrate their profession, and ennumerate the benefits they provide to the mothers they work with – benefits which radiate to the other birth partners, and to the wider community!

As a mom, I have always appreciated having a doula present. If I were to list the number one benefit, it would be that of loving neutrality. Does that sound weird? Well, let me explain. Having both had a doula, and providing doula services, I have the unique vantage point of seeing both sides of the coin.

As a doula,  I want what YOU want. I will help you to become educated about your choices, but will never make the choices for you. I will support your choices so that your birth is a thoughtfully considered, empowering experience. When things go even better than you could have hoped, I’ll be there  to celebrate your success and process the experience with you. When things don’t go according to the ideal plan, I will reaffirm your good work, highlighting the positive,  and process the experience with you with open and respectful listening, and, in some cases, a shoulder to cry on.

The doula is guided by loving care, and desiring the best outcome for you. Yet, as in the paragraph above, I am also a neutral party. I am not employed by the hospital, but by you. I provide non-medical support, primarily to the mother, but also receive accolades from dads and other birth partners present, as they felt my support (which is an amazing compliment to me).  I employ my caring heart, but at the same time I can objectively see your progess, personal obstacles, and growth throughout the birth process, and I can respond with helpful suggestions, encouragement, information….whatever is needed that I can provide.

As a doula: this is an amazing gift to GIVE (I can say this with absolute certainty!) – and, having welcomed doulas at each of my births: this is a blessed gift to receive during your birth.

As you celebrate World Doula Week with me, consider visiting my Facebook page and telling me about your positive experience with me as your doula, or with another doula that you chose. You could even interact with the worldwide community in this by using the Twitter tag #WeHadADoula!

Consider using your facebook status once or twice this week to highlight the positive work doulas do. There are far too many women who haven’t heard about doulas!

Can you give birth without a doula? Sure. But, statistically speaking, women with doulas experience

* less pain

* less interventions, such as C-sections

* shorter labors

* greater satisfaction with their births!

 You will remember your birth of your baby for the rest of your life, so….

Check back later in the week for some more facts and inspiration about doulas during this World Doula Week 2015! 

Sincerely serving you in building the culture of life together,

Laura Devick