WHAT I OFFER AS PART OF MY DOULA SERVICE
Doula” (pronounced “doola”) is a Greek word meaning “woman servant or caregiver”. It now refers to an experienced woman who offers emotional and practical support to a woman (or couple) before, during and after childbirth. A doula believes in “mothering the mother” – enabling a woman to have the most satisfying and empowered time that she can during pregnancy, birth and the early days as a new mum. This type of support also helps the whole family to relax and enjoy the experience.
Nowadays most doulas undertake some training. Birth doulas are experienced in childbirth, although they may or may not have given birth themselves. They have a good knowledge and awareness of female physiology BUT the doula is not supporting the mother in a clinical role – that is the job of the midwife/medical staff. A mother of two growing children, I completed my training with Millennium Doulas in 2000.
Postnatal doulas work flexible hours to suit the family, offering practical and emotional support to the new mother and father in the home following the birth of baby.
In the West today, too often mothers are rushed back into normal day-to-day activities; in many cultures women are confined to bed and rest for a period of up to 40 days. This may be impossible in our society but with the help of a postnatal doula, a mother can enjoy some of the benefits of a prolonged “lying in” period. This will help her bond with her baby and spend extra time with any older siblings. Our work is about empowering a family to take care of itself and we facilitate this by helping around the house and offering encouragement and suggestions.
As a Doula, I accompany women in labour to help ensure a safe and satisfying birth experience. I draw upon my knowledge and experience to provide emotional support, physical comfort and communication with the health care provider to ensure that families have the information needed to make informed decisions in labour. I can provide reassurance and perspective to the labouring woman and her partner, make suggestions for labour progress, and help with relaxation, massage, positioning and other techniques for comfort. I am independently self-employed. As your doula, I am working for you, not your care giver or hospital/birth centre.
Choosing a Doula I prefer to meet with the mother to be and birth partner at least once before labour to become acquainted, to explore and discuss their priorities or concerns, and to plan how we might best work together. At that time, we can discuss fees. This initial meeting is not an obligation to use my services.
If I am chosen to act as a doula, I will want to become familiar with the birth couple’s plans for labour, birth and postpartum. I will also want to know how the mother to be copes with pain and fatigue and how the couple foresee us working together.
As a doula, I do not perform clinical tasks. I am present to provide for physical comfort, emotional support and advocacy. I won’t make decisions on the family’s behalf but I will help them get the information necessary to make an informed decision.
Fees are available on request and flexibility is built into my service. Charges vary depending on the type of birth being planned, distances involved and whether complementary therapies are part of the Birth Plan.