What is a Doula?

I often find when I tell people what a do I get the same response.

"What is a doula? Are you like a midwife?" 

And so I go on to explain that, no, I'm not a midwife or like a midwife and my job is completely non-medical. I don't deliver babies or check heart rates or catch babies or tell you how many centimetres you are dilated. That, my friend, is for the midwife or doctor or care provider to do. 

Doula comes from the Greek  meaning 'woman helper or servant' and to expand on that Wikipedia says

"A doula (/ˈduːlə/), also known as a birth companion or post-birth supporter, is a non-medical person who assists a person before, during, or after childbirth as well as their spouse and family, by providing physical assistance and emotional support."

If you were to picture your perfect birth how would that look? Set aside all you've been told that brings fear and all the must-dos and must-haves and listen to that inner voice that is telling you that you want to use water and have music playing and be at home. Or maybe you want to be in the shower at the hospital with a birthing ball to sit on. The options are endless and it comes down to what you want and what you know. 

A doula knows the options that are available to you. They know what the hospital will recommend during labour and right after baby is born. They know massage techniques to make you comfortable. They can offer guidance to make informed decisions. They can help you with birth affirmations to take away fear and trust the power of your body. They can be a helper to your partner - they do not replace your partner but can help direct, answer and guide your partner to best help you.

A postpartum doula is there for those baby blues that naturally come and the moments even beyond that. They can help integrate the baby into the family and help with the transition that comes with settling in at home with a new one around.  They can help with the sanity of household organization and throw a load of wash in or empty the dishwasher. They can tend to baby while you shower or rest or even assist you in bathing baby, offer breastfeeding support and just listen to all your cares and concerns as a new mom.

So, whether your hire a birth or postpartum doula, it's a great investment for your family that can only benefit all. They are present, with unwavering support and consistent care.  They are there for emotional, physical and mental support through it all, from beginning to end....that is a doula. 

~mama bird doula