Memoirs of A Doula part 1 – Why I do What I do

Many people say to me when they find out I’m a doula, “What a great job! It must be so nice to be able to hold so many newborn babies!”

But in reality, I am not a doula because I like newborns, although they are fantastically amazing, miraculous, fascinating people newborns are. I do it because of the MOMS. I do it because I know the simple things I do can and will have a life changing impact, not only on the women and their birth experience, but because it changes lives. I do it because when I focus all of my attention on caring for moms at one of the most important, challenging and vulnerable times of their lives, they are better able to care for themselves, their babies, their children and their families. I take care of the emotional needs of the dads as well in that critical period, so that the couple’s memories of the start of their child’s life is that of love, care, pride and strength. Not that of stress, anxiety desperation and disempowerment.

Sometimes it’s hard to know if what I’m doing is making a difference, because pregnancy, birth and the post-partum time can still be fraught with challenges. But the moms and dads make it clear how important it was to have someone there they could always call day or night if they were worried about anything, how it important it was for someone to be only focused on what they were thinking, how they were feeling, and doing all the little things to help them feel good.

In the big picture, I do it because I believe that each family who starts out with love and care, will raise more loving and caring people. And doulas the world over are helping to change the world one birth at a time.

5 thoughts on “Memoirs of A Doula part 1 – Why I do What I do

  1. I can feel the emotional caring by reading your article. Who ever has you for a doula will always thank you for it!

    Cassandra

  2. Extended families aren’t what they use to be and having a child has become a pregnant womans time to react or read every pregnacy book available. Unfortunatley the one MAIN section books don’t cover or your extended family might be remiss in informing you about is the mothers natural instinct for the birth process and the emotionally charged enviroment she can birth naturally in. Our Doula was like the conscience being who took care of dads emotions, alowed him to know when he could help or where to be, and me, she knew when i wanted quiet, no distractions, massage, hot water, dark or simply a cool drink. In between making sure all birthing cleaniness and needs were met,the doula was mindfull of our need to include the children and when so that they wouldn’t miss the important arrival. Doulas should be a recomended accompaniment to child birthing, no matter how many children you have or even if you choose to birth in the hospital. (Doulas can ward of the nosey nurse away till you can answer thier questions or requests in a timely manner after you have spent time with your baby and gathered your wits)

  3. Great comment Amy! I couldn’t agree more that what’s strangely missing from pregnancy books is the fact that birth is an instinctual process controlled by the primal part of the brain, and involves hundreds of hormonal interactions. How that translates into the lived reality is that we can instinctively FEEL what we need to do and what is going on in our own bodies, IF and that is the big if, we pay attention to it, and move our attention away from our neo-cortex activities while in labour (talking, thinking, calculating time etc.)

    While a huge part of that ability is within the woman’s control to pay attention inwards, much of it can be disturbed by the external environment. In hospitals it can be difficult to focus inwards when there are little continuous interruptions – “I’m just going to take your blood pressure”, “I’m just going to check your temperature,” “Can you move over a little? The monitor is not picking up the heartbeat very well,” and so on. All that draws mom back into the neo-cortex part of the brain.

    So thanks for bringing up that point.

    Glad you had a good experience with your doula. And yes, absolutely, doesn’t matter how many kids a mom has, she can always benefit from having a doula. I had a doula at all my three births, and she just took on a slightly different role each time because of my different needs at each birth.

  4. Pingback: Memoirs of a Doula part 3 – Special Memories | Prenatal Journey

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