What is a doula and what does (s)he do?
A doula – for me – is a birth support specialist, a trained, non-medical birth professional. She is there to walk by the family in one of the most powerful event of their life: the childbirth. Sometimes I get people asking me what it is that I do as a doula that makes it worthwhile to have a paid extra person along. After having attended births as a doulasince 2006 I still find it difficult to explain. I’ll give it a try though.
Why hire a doula?
Some moms (and dads) want to have someone experienced continuosly present at their birth just to reassure them that this is all normal (as is the case most of the time). Sometimes a smile from a doula every once in a while lets the dad feel relaxed enough to continue holding the mom in his arms while she labours along. There are also wild and intense times when a doula is needed throughout every single contraction to press just that right spot on the moms back that helps her through. And times when the spouse has given everything a person can possibly give and a doula can give her the essential half an hour of sleep before the baby is born. Sometimes the doula literally takes the pain away by setting up a birthing pool. Then there are times when things don’t work out as planned and the doula sits down with you to help you find the next step that rings the bell of your heart. She carries along the non-medical ways to relieve pain for you to choose from. She is aware of your background and wishes and is able to guide you to the direction that gets you the best result in the situation at hand.
With the help of a doula there are epidurals not needed and epidurals taken: nothing itself is the meaning or goal of birth. No doula is there to have her way. It’s all about the mom and family being in charge.