What's your (birth) story?
A doula empowers parents to have a positive birth experience no matter the outcomen - a vaginal birth, a birth with an epidural or even a cesarean.
“Do-what?” “Do-LAH!” That’s the common response when people ask me what I do. I am a Doula. A Doula is a professional labor coach and is derived from the Greek word for the highest woman’s slave who served her mistress in childbearing.
My calling as a Doula is NOT to teach women how to give birth. We are all innately born to give birth. If a woman is stuck in the jungle during the time of her labor, no matter how she panics in her head, her body will know innately what to do to have this baby. Hence my role is to get rid of the noise that gets into the way of her innate ability to birth this baby.
Whilst a lot of women come to me to have a natural drug-free birth, my focus is empowering parents to have a good birth experience regardless of the outcome – a vaginal birth, a birth with an epidural or even a cesarean. Through the hundreds of women that I have been privileged to work with, they have taught me that what is most important is how they were treated and respected during labor – that it was important to them to know that they were given the opportunity to try every thing that they were willing and able to try.
The next thing that I am very big about is promoting mother-baby bonding post-birth. Do you know that every composition of breast milk at every feed is different? For example, if someone who is sick comes close to a breastfeeding mother. The breastfeeding mother’s body will immediately release anti-bodies within her body to fight the illness and the anti-bodies will also enter the milk, protecting the baby. That’s why it is very important to keep the mother’s environment the baby’s environment, because she is protecting her baby simply by keeping her baby close to her.
Through my experience as a Doula for 13 years, I have attended close to a thousand births. And the irony is that the more births I attend, the more these women blow my mind as to what is truly (im)possible.
I once had a client who attended my antenatal classes in preparation for the birth of her first child. Whilst she was inspired to have a good birth experience, she was not ready to make the necessary decisions for that to happen and did not have the courage to change doctors and find someone more supportive of a good birth experience. So she ended up with everything that she did not want, except a cesarean.
When she was pregnant with her second child, she decided that she was going to do it right this time around given that she is not planning on having any more children. So she engaged a pro-natural birthing doctor, attended classes again and decided to engage doula services. In addition to that, when she stumbled upon the blog of one of my ex-clients who birthed her baby with the waterbag intact, she was so inspired that she said to me “I want to give birth with the waterbag intact”. I looked at her stunned - I was caught in a dilemma between managing her expectations (I only witness about one to two babies born with the caul intact every year which means that the chances of that happening is very slim) and believing in her. I decided to keep mum and just smiled and nodded.
That was a good call because when she finally went into labor, she birthed within 10 minutes of arriving at the hospital – with her waterbag intact of course. Exactly how she had envisioned!
Watch a video about the beauty of childbirth and not doubting a woman's ability to have the kind of birthing experience that she wants. Click on next!
That birth has taught me since to never doubt a woman’s ability to have whatever birth it is that she is wanting. Since that birth, I have seen women french-kissing their partners during contractions, speaking in tongues as they are birthing, looking as if they were asleep at the point of breathing their baby out!
So now when women attend my antenatal classes, I always ask this question: “If you had no fear and in your wildest imagination, what would you birth story look like?”