So What Exactly is a Doula?
Many times I get the age old question “What is a Doula”, in which I find myself going into the Merriam Webster dictionary version of defining a doula as an emotional and physical labor support for moms. However, after my experience of going through different types of labor I realized that a doula is more than that. A doula is not only the rock and base for the team but a coach through contractions and helping the mom cope with various comfort techniques. We are the compass for the mom, the birth team, and the partner. In which we help observe the situation and evaluate what is and what is not working and change accordingly after each and every contraction.
We are the comforters and a kind relieving voice letting the mom know that they are strong and are able to conquer each contraction as a wave, ensuring that as their doula we will be there through with support, with love, with confidence in your ability to labor. We are the cheerleaders and motivators for their partner who is in between passing out and freaking out at the same time. Making sure that we give them the needed breaks and rest in between hours of contractions.
We are the reassurance for the nurse, and midwife/OB team ensuring that the patient is OK and in good hands. We are the rockers and the swayers of life.
Thus our value should be defined more than mere emotional and physical labor support for we are apart of the foundation of life. we are the positivity that comes with the stigmatized horrifying experiences that are attached to labor. we are The light at the end of the tunnel if you will, letting moms know that they are not alone.
just as each individual in the world is different, each labor is different and should be treated with individualized care. Even with a labor coping plan, labor is truly unpredictable and it is up to the doula to be ready for change and be quick minded to evaluate what works and what does not in between contractions. Never forgetting about constantly checking the status of mom’s pain and energy level.
However, the biggest value of labor support is seen in our hands, which massage, apply counter-pressure, and the light and deep strokes of our fingertips are used to relax the brow, and allow the mom to feel comforted and assured.
Once, we are able to let the mom let go and allow herself to work with her body not against it, we begin to see the true fruits of our labor. In which, the mom gains a confidence that gleams across the room. The more that the mom is able to let go and allow nature to take its course the easier it is for her to allow her doula, her partner, and ultimately herself to journey into a memorable and pleasurable experience.
As the mom and her partner dance or labor sway throughout contractions you can feel the bond created in the room. in these moments the pure silence of happiness overcomes you as you as you take in the bonding that is created in the room. as if time stops to create the RHYTHM of life.
Moreover, the value of labor support is one that is memorable for years. Though the mom may or may not forget the intensity and pain that occurred during labor. The feeling of the bond that was created during the course of the journey of a new life is instrumental. Almost as breathtaking as the feeling of being overcome with emotion as hearing that first swallow and scream of the life that they created. This moment is something that they will never forget and to be a part of that journey whether its 32 hours or 6 hours has a value that is unmatched.
As your doula I am dedicated to being a motivated, compassionate, hands on, and positive being/energy with an unchanging care that guides the mom, partner, and team through this journey called birth.