I had been toying with the idea of doing Doula training for several years when I finally took the plunge. I had a slow recovery following the birth of my second child and I started reading up more on maternity and post natal customs across the world and it became woefully apparent that there is a serious lacking of genuine care in our society. I felt like I needed to be a part of changing that.
We birth babies, often without really having a full menu of information and can be left afterwards feeling regret, guilt or shock as to what happened 'to us' during birth. Without the right support and information, the wave of emotion can be overwhelming. Following the birth of your baby, focus is on the baby's health: very rarely is the postpartum period honoured, more it is normal to expect mothers to bounce back and resume life as if nothing has happened. As you may know from my previous posts, the expectation and the push to crack on is what irks me; if your body does in fact bounce back naturally then that's incredible - it's the notion that we 'should' be doing it which is too much to deal with. Nobody needs to feel like they 'should' be doing much if they don't wish to.
It seemed to me that if a woman was supported and fully informed then her outcome would undoubtedly be more positive. It doesn't necessarily mean the outcome would be different, but her relationship with it would be. Feeling that you gave birth rather than something happening 'to' you is something which I feel made a clear distinction in my mind. Feeling like the driving force in birth, the one in control, the one making informed choices - can mentally put you in a better state of mind for the journey into motherhood. Feeling like birth is something which was out of your control, you had no options or you even felt assaulted, can leave you with a very different start. With a Doula by your side providing continuous support, this can really help put you into that driving seat; knowing that you DO have options and you CAN ask questions is wonderfully empowering. We as Doulas can be there to help you find your power and your voice - we aren't doing the work, but we are there by your side reminding you that you absolutely matter in this process. So many women don't realise that they are ALLOWED to ask questions, seek a second opinion, decline unwanted intervention - being able to be there when you find your voice is the most beautiful experience as we can see you blossom as an empowered woman.
Postnatally, having someone to 'mother the mother' to listen, to support, to be a gatekeeper for visitors or a cook, can make an enormous difference to the important postnatal period. Having a Doula to help hold your hand and support that transition into family life, can make that change a joy. Being able to spend dedicated time with your baby, have someone to run you a bath, cook you a meal, or fetch a hot cup of tea, can be the most wonderful gift: having someone to hold the space and allow you to talk, spill out your emotion and debrief from the birth can be so powerful, that non-judgemental person to really hear what needs to be heard, can be a game-changer. Some Doulas such as myself also offer Closing the Bones, which is a beautiful postnatal ceremony and massage honouring the passage that your body has been through. This can be a delicious treat for a new mother.
Trends show that use of a Doula can have a positive physiological as well as mental effect on the mother. That is birth not only more satisfying, but that fewer interventions were needed*. This can be crucial to how a mother feels about her birth and indeed the recovery, as I found out first hand!
Doulas are there to support, to give evidence-based information and to help facilitate the empowerment of the family. They are not there to give medical advice or intervention. It is an honour and a privilege to be a Doula and to support a family during such an important stage of their lives and I would absolutely love to talk birth with you, so if you're considering a Doula then please get in touch. There is seriously no obligation, but it may be the best call you ever make!