WHAT IS SUPPORT?
Support is unconditional.
It is listening…
not judging, not telling your own story.
Support is not offering advice…
it is offering a handkerchief, a touch, a hug…caring.
We are here to help women discover what they are feeling…
not to make the feelings go away.
We are here to help a woman identify her options…
not to tell her what options to choose.
We are here to discuss steps with a woman…
not to take the steps for her.
We are here to help a woman discover her own strength…
not to rescue her and leave her still vulnerable.
We are here to help a woman discover she can help herself…
not to take that responsibility for her.
We are here to help a woman learn to choose…
not to make it unnecessary for her to make difficult choices.
Who I am as a Doula
As a DONA certified birth doula, I accompany women in labor to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I am DONA trained and adhere to DONA’s “Code of Ethics” and “Standards of Practice” (as stated at www.DONA.org). I draw on my professional training, knowledge, experience, and my own son’s birth to provide emotional support, physical comfort, and as needed, communication with other professional staff to make sure that you have the information you need to make informed decisions as they arise in labor. I can provide reassurance and perspective to you and your partner, make suggestions for labor progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning, and other techniques for comfort. I am independent and self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you, not your caregiver or hospital.
I will meet with you and your partner a few times before labor, as well as communicate by phone and email, to become acquainted. We will explore and discuss priorities and any fears or concerns, discuss your birth plan and to plan how we might work best together. I also want to know your own best ways of coping with pain and fatigue and how you and your partner foresee working together.
I usually wish to go with you for at least one doctor visit, preferably towards the end of your pregnancy. This gives me additional information so that I might best serve you.
I will also inform you of times when I am unavailable for labor support. To cover those times, I will arrange for a qualified back-up doula whom you may also meet.
When You are in Labor
I prefer that you call me when you think you are in labor, even if you do not yet need me. I can answer questions and make suggestions over the phone. We will decide if I should come right then or wait for further change. I usually need approximately one hour to get to you from the time you ask me to come. We will also decide where to meet – at your home, the hospital, or the birth center. Except for extraordinary circumstances, I will remain with you throughout labor and birth. If there is a limitation on the number of people who may be present, it will be assumed that I will always be present.
I usually will remain with you for one or two hours after birth; until you are comfortable and/or your family is ready for time together. I can also assist with initial breastfeeding. I am available to answer questions about the birth or your baby. I would like to visit while you are still in the hospital. I would then like to get together about a week after you return home to see how you and your baby are doing, to deliver a special letter to your baby, to review the birth, and to get feedback from you about my role.
AS A DOULA, I DO NOT:
- Perform clinical tasks, such as blood pressure, fetal heart checks, vaginal exams, and others. I am there to provide only physical comfort and emotional support.
- Make decisions for you. I will help you get the information necessary to make an informed decision. I will remind you if there is a departure from your birth plan, however.
- Speak to the staff on your behalf. I will discuss your concerns with you and suggest options, but you or your partner will need to speak directly to the clinical staff. I may, however, ask questions of the staff in order to facilitate discussion.
- Tell you what to do. I will only make suggestions based on my training and experience.
- Replace your partner. Rather, we work together, as a team, to help make you feel safe, protected. It is then that you are able to let yourself go with what nature intends for a woman who is giving birth.
I believe this quote from Tao Te Ching beautifully summarizes what a doula does……
“You are a birth servant. Do good without show or fuss. If you must
take the lead, lead so that the mother is helped, yet still free and
in charge. When the baby is born, they will rightly say: ‘We did it