A Doula is like...

These are some comments (with my personal elaboration) that I have heard from inspired clients throughout the years. I hope you enjoy and agree, add your own, or give constructive disagreement!
"A Doula is like birth insurance - only they don't fit in your back pocket as nicely"
Although we cannot insure that you will get the birth that you want, we will do everything in our power to help you get there. And, at the same time, we will minimize risk, give alternative options, educate, massage, move you, translate medical terminology, and give suggestions that will give you the best chance of staying out of that red zone.
"A Doula is like your best friend and mom, just not the annoying mom... or all the scary birth stories from your friend"
We will encourage, support, listen, suggest, and sometimes, if you have asked us to, put our foots down and remind you of your desires in the heat of birth when you have a hard time remembering the goal. And, if you have to detour off the path that you had hoped to stay on, we provide excellently padded and comfortable shoulders, open ears, and empathetic, nonjudgmental hearts. We truly have your best interests in mind, and are your greatest fans.
"A Doula never gets tired... unlike your husband"
Please, keep thinking that. :) It is amazing how far high protein snacks, 5 minute power naps, and lots of sleep deprivation training can get you.
"A Doula is a walking encyclopedia of pregnancy and birth information"
Continuing education and keeping abreast of the most recent medical journals/studies is all part of good doula work. When I stop learning is when I stop being all that a pregnant and laboring woman needs me to be. I do her and I a disservice by not being aggressive in my professional development. Some of my best teachers: studies and reports, Obstetricians friendly to doulas, other doulas, Midwives, laboring mamas, chiropractors, and homeopathic/naturopathic practitioners.
A Doula is whatever you need her to be, right then. (to me) Where did you learn to read minds?"
Listening to a mama, not just what she says, but what she does with her body and her vocalization, can tell me so much. A doula learns to listen with her whole body; her instincts, her ears, her eyes, her sense of smell, and her hands. If I feel a taut muscle, see a grimace out of place, smell the sweet smell of birth, hear a grunt at the peak of a cresting contraction - all of these cues speak to us of mom's needs and her journey.

So, what unorthodox description of a doula have you heard?


Brittany said...

That last part was especially beautiful. Doula work in many ways is no different than responding to the cues and needs of your babe. Primal, natural, our bodies at their purest. Babies exist on the most basest of instincts, and all laboring women should be protected in their right to birth with their natural instincts. Doulas are the gate keepers, protecting the birthing space from unnecessary medicalization and allowing the mother to just be.

amberdoula said...

I got called a the greatest "guinea pig" a partner could have. I would suggest/try something out on mom and when we found something that worked I'd show that dad just how to do it.


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