What is a Doula?
By Danina Avery Doula, Childbirth Educator, and Breastfeeding Counselor
Doula-ing is the act of educating, loving, respecting, listening, embracing, advocating for, and assisting a person prenatally during labor, childbirth, and after.
Many care providers are running from patient to patient and don’t have the time to sit down and have a conversation and provide a thorough response to every patient’s question. A doula takes the time to open discussions with their client and answer any question they may have, with evidence-based research and without judgment, regardless of how serious or silly the question may seem. In addition, a doula can be a confidant for any doubts, fears and answer any questions. Having an informed birth leads to a more joyful and less stressful occasion.
Usually, especially for a first-time parent, birth is an unknown experience, and the unknown can sometimes be scary. However, a doula understands that although births happen every second around the globe to an individual woman who has never gone through that experience, it can be a life-altering event. Having someone there during labor, continuously providing support, makes a difference when a birthing person and their partner feel lost within the birth world. And even if they aren’t, having someone with knowledge of different positions and movements and providing a calming presence can change the whole view of the birth experience.
As a birth doula, I love holding space for birthing people during their first time through the process as a compassionate presence. Additionally, as a doula, I am prepared with tools to guide the birthing family through the most challenging times. Examples include my rebozo, essential oils, meditation sounds, hypnobirthing audios, and pain-relieving techniques.
In times of doubt of progression or when roadblocks come along, a doula with extensive knowledge of the physiology of birth can help the parents make an informed decision on the next step to take, whether it be to follow through with an intervention or refuse the treatment and try something different.
Once the baby is born, the parents’ lives are completely transformed. A baby comes along with a life-changing schedule, a need for sleep, and a necessity for an abundance of patience. Sometimes, babies are very easy to comfort and take care of during infancy. Other times, they are not easy to manage between two parents who are new to the experience and sleep-deprived. Regardless of the situation, there are many questions new parents have, whether it be about the amount baby is eating, what a diaper rash looks like, what to pack in a diaper bag, the best types of diapers, what bottles to use, how a good latch looks, what babywearing is, how a car seat needs to be installed, or if the baby’s poop is a healthy color. A doula expert in newborn care can help answer all these questions. And if they do not know the answer, they can refer to a list of trustworthy providers.
Teaching parents the importance of self-care is also part of the role of a postpartum doula. Parents tend to engulf themselves by their new baby’s schedule and put their own lives and relationships on the back burner. As a doula, I talk about taking a few minutes to themselves to shower and have a good meal, and even go out to get a cup of coffee so they can feel refreshed. Having parents who have a stable relationship allows a child to grow in a happy environment. Doulas are also trained to look for signs of PPMD (Postpartum Mood Disorders) and know when to provide clients with referrals.
To learn more, follow Danina @midsummers_eve_doula on IG or on her website at: https://midsummersevedoulaservices.com
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