I am often met with blank stares when I tell people what I do for a living.
I mean, I get it. Really, I do!
I myself had no clue what a doula was until I started researching careers related to my passions. And even then, I had very little idea of what a doula did until I became a birth photographer and witnessed some doulas in action.
The rudimentary definition of the word "doula" comes from the Greek word, doulos, which means "servant". A doula is traditionally a woman that serves another woman during childbirth. However, today, doulas are becoming more popular in America (and for good reason!), but not just for childbirth! There are doulas that assist women during pregnancy called, antenatal doulas, there are doulas that assist women that have multiple young children attending the birth called, sibling doulas, as well as doulas that assist women after childbirth called, postpartum doulas.
According to this study, having a Labor Doula can reduce the likelihood of cesarean sections, and other interventions
As a Labor Doula, I provide support to women (and their partner) with a primary focus on achieving a safe and healthy birth experience for mom & baby, both physically and emotionally. However, I also support the couple spiritually by helping them process and grow their relationship with God and emphasizing His promises. This begins during pregnancy, when we will get to know each other and discuss many topics including your past experiences and view of birth, your goals, and any fears. Practically, I will help you in various ways to prepare your body, heart, and home for birth -- think physical stretches & exercises, emotional processing, and developing a birth plan.
During labor, I meet you either at your home or place of birth and help labor by showing you different positions to be in, massaging, and bringing other comfort measures in addition to prayer & encouragement that YOU'VE GOT THIS! After your birth, I can help you with the initial postpartum (first two hours after birth) as well as initial breastfeeding.
Within the first two weeks of birth, we have a postpartum visit where I help you with initial transition to life with a newborn, provide you with additional help or resources on things like healing from birth, breastfeeding, sleep training, care providers, etc. This is also a time where you can process your birth story and ask any questions you may have.