As your birth doula, what can I do for you?
* Take pictures
* Keep lights low, noise levels down
* Make food for you and your birth team
* Keep you and your husband hydrated
* Calm your husband and/or family if he/they have any anxiety about birth
* Make you aware of deviations from your birth plan
* Help you know when to change positions
* Reassure you and reaffirm the progress you and your baby are making
* Keep birthing room sacred by restricting visitors to only those invited
* Educate you and your birth team on the pros and cons of different options available to you
* Encourage husband to be the source of strength that he is
* And of course, PRAY 🙂
A birth doula is at the birth to protect and guard the mother. As a doula, we are educated as to how birth naturally goes. We have experience with the natural course of things, the way nature produces its offspring. This helps us sense when there is a deviation from the natural. A mother needs to be safe, secure, and in her own world to be able to birth her baby in the safest way. If someone approaches her and tries to control her body and her baby’s birth, she can lose her own control. A doula’s job is to help prevent this and to help the mother have a positive birth experience.
Mother Nature provides the perfect environment to learn about birth. An animal will naturally find a corner somewhere, dig themselves a nest, and birth their baby(s) away from the other animals. This situation provides the safety and quiet all mammals’ desire. It’s in our instincts. It is how our species has made it this far.
As a birth doula, our job is to help the mother have the protection and seclusion she needs. In our present hospital environment, where most babies in America are born, this can be difficult to obtain. We are there to help remind her of her rights and the options she has. We are there to keep the lights turned down, voices low, and options available to her so she doesn’t have to think more than she needs to. The more a woman can give in to her body, the easier time her body will have birthing. More instincts, less logic and interventions. More laboring beauty, less labor management.
As her birth unfolds, the mother and father will be looking to the doula for support and encouragement. She needs to see serenity on the doula’s face, so she knows her labor and birth is normal. She can sense when you are nervous. As a doula, you need to convey your peace and passion for her birth while staying in the background, helping mom and dad work together in bringing their baby into the world. This peace comes through trust in the birth process, not trust in technology. Technology fails regularly, but birth fails rarely.
Technology is there for emergencies but shouldn’t be there to be used all the time. The birth doula is educated in the various interventions and options the mother and couple will be presented with. The couple will probably not be educated in every aspect of birth. This is the job of the doula. She needs to help the mother know the pros and cons of all the different interventions her doctor and nurses will be presenting her with, so she and the father can make the best choice for themselves and their baby.
Ultimately, the mother wants to have a healthly baby and to birth her baby in her own way. The way of the doula is to protect this process and help her achieve this.