What is a doula?
- An experienced birth supporter, a birth mentor.
- Fills the gap between your medical care providers and your friends.
- Understands the natural process of birth and the maternity system, the doula helps you work out where you fit within the spectrum of options.
- Provides you with resources, saving you time in fruitless and overwhelming google searches, the doula knows your local support networks and can point you towards the ones you will most benefit from.
A doula understands that you are a unique person, and that you deserve personalised and continuous care.
Think of a doula as a 'birth mentor', because I see the role as being the 'one who has gone before', you gain from the hindsight, from the experience and from the research and further education your mentor has. A birth mentor guides you, but does not direct you, as you become the expert in your own experience. The guess work is taken out of your planning, saving you time and easing any anxiety, leaving you confident and informed.
You have the Right to an Informed Birth.
The birth mentor fills a gap that has developed over several generations. As birth has become more medicalised, much general knowledge of normal birth has been lost. Where once we would have turned to our mothers, sisters, aunts for guidance and support, we now find that they are as lost as we are in what to expect and how to prepare for this very important transition. So in one way, your doula is 'rent-a-sister'. A very awesome, experienced, supportive sister.
The birth mentor understands this knowledge, has reclaimed it, has become immersed in all things birth and parenting and has walked the path. The birth mentor is constantly seeking evidence and knowledge and understands that becoming a Mother is a very personal Journey. A birth mentor does not tell you what to do, but will make sure you know all your options, offering continuity of care and unconditional support.
The doula does not replace medical care, the role is complementary, ensuring that you receive holistic and personal care during your pregnancy and transition into parenthood.
Can you birth without a doula?
If you can answer YES to all the questions below, that is FABULOUS! You are one of the rare and fortunate people who have the support and knowledge we all need and deserve. If you find yourself answering NO, the doula or birth mentor is the solution. Meet a few doulas and find one who you feel a connection with. Doulas offer different packages and usually offer payment plans. Asking friends to contribute to a doula instead of gifts at a baby shower is also a great way to ensure you get the support you need.
The value of a doula (birth mentor) is in the birth preparation support, the more time you and your partner can spend with your doula during pregnancy working through your options and developing a rapport, the better. For some people, a few preparation sessions are all they need to prepare for a DIY birth. For others, the presence of a doula at the birth is invaluable. During birth, the doula supports the partner, helps to create an intimate and comfortable space and reassurance. The doula is often the only familiar face, and she is a consistent presence throughout pregnancy, and into the early weeks with your baby. Some doulas will also offer additional services, including postpartum care.