What is a Doula?

what is a doula.jpg

We get it all the time... 

"Nice to meet you.  What do you do?"
"I'm a doula."
"Ummmm... what's a doula?"

According to DONA International, a doula certifying organization, 

The word "doula" comes from the ancient Greek meaning "a woman who serves" and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

So, again... what's a doula?  How do we describe our own profession?  Why would someone want to hire a doula?

A doula is a pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum expert.  She knows the birth process in and out.  She is a kind, nonjudgmental, experienced professional who can answer your questions about birth and support you during your labor and birth process.

Your doula spends time with you during your pregnancy.  She meets with you and your partner; she answers your texts, calls, and emails when you have questions; and she loves getting to know you.  When you have intimate questions about your experience, or when you need to know more about a choice you may need to make, your doula is there to provide you with calming reassurance, evidence-based information, and unbiased support.

Your doula is the only professional who will be with you continuously during your labor.  In the fast paced hospital setting, nurses, midwives, and doctors will be in and out.  They will have responsibilities and routines.  Once your doula shows up, she doesn't leave.  She's the one who creates a safe and comfortable environment so that you can bring your baby into the world with joy and peace.  Your doula is the calm presence in the birth room, even when birth is intense, fast-paced, or when things don't go as planned.

Before birth moved into the hospital, women supported women in their communities.  They would experience birth together, witnessing their mothers birth their siblings, their friends and family go through their pregnancies, and were knowledgeable about the process.  Now that most of us don't birth at home with our communities, childbirth has become the big "unknown".   Hiring a doula is like bringing that community back to you.  Having a doula to answer your questions and refer you to resources gives you the power of going into your experience with peace, calmness, and excitement because you know what to expect and have someone who you trust to be right beside you.

Your doula supports you and your partner, bringing her expertise and wisdom, while still giving you the space to enjoy the experience together.  Aside from your partner, your doula may be the only non-stranger in your birthing room.

Most importantly, your doula has a passion for birth work.  She wants you to experience the birth of your dreams, whatever that means for you.  She provides the resources for you to be informed and empowered to make decisions, and then uses her training, expertise, and experience to support you no matter what.  

Your midwives, OBs, and nurses are there to protect your and your baby physically and medically.  Your partner is there to witness their child's birth and to support you.  Your doula is there to be the source of trust and love.  Every day before our doulas walk into a birth, we say to ourselves, "Make sure your client feels loved today."  Every woman deserves to birth her baby surrounded by love.

Doulas are for hospital births, birth center births, home births, natural births, cesareans, epidural births, inductions, and everything in-between.  If you want to experience your birth with peace, joy, and the presence of one of the best doulas on the Eastern Shore, give us a call to see how we can serve you.