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Birth - why i am a doula


Why I am a doula.....

Photo: Thanks to my boys for a very special first Mothers day. Love you lots. XXX

I am asked what a doula is on a daily basis.  Let’s understand the difference of a doula to a medical person.  I am not a doctor, nurse or midwife and I do not become involved in any medical discussions or decisions.  Being a doula gives me a lot of freedom to develop a unique set of observational skills not many people have.  I have witnessed many births in the last few years, almost all of them from a completely non-medical perspective. When it is 6am and I am coming home from a birth and I see everyone going to their jobs. I am so thankful for what I do, as I witness the beginning of life... the life... of a new person, the life of a new family, who are thriving in part because of my care for them.  I feel like a rock star!

I build up a relationship with the mum and dad from 34 weeks of her pregnancy prior to the birth.  I understand what the couple‘s birth plan is and what goals and wishes they have for the birth of their baby.  I provide the mum with support and care for her entire labour and after the baby is born I help her to initiate the breast feeding. The mother therefore feels secure and cared for and not alone or fearful.  I encourage the Dad to support her by doing counter pressure and other various techniques used during labour.

A good doula, one who knows hospital policy will make a difference.  She not only supports the couple, but the staff feel relaxed and supported as well.  Having a natural birth is tiring and requires a lot of effort and I try to make it easier.  I know it works!  I help to reduce the length of the labour by different positions, going to the loo more often and walking and keeping upright. Because I know the mum she is less fearful and more trusting.

Midwives are doing a fabulous job providing loving, nurturing clinical care to those mums who choose to birth with them, and I am grateful for them. So I continue to focus on creating gentler births for those who choose the hospital, as every mum, partner, and baby need to feel like someone is aware of and willing to meet their emotional needs.  Because I spend so much time prenatally building rapport with my clients.  I understand what they want, what they’re afraid of, what traumas they have, how they perceive stress and pain.  I can make them feel secure in knowing their needs for comfort will be met. So in this way, they truly feel they have the best of both worlds: good clinical care, and constant familiar, nurturing, with hands-on support.

When I have been at a difficult birth,   the gynaecologist and the midwife are free to attend to the medical needs.  I can in turn look after her fears and  keep her steady and concentrating on her new baby. She turns to me with bright shining eyes and says “Oh how I love my baby... I love her!” she whispers in my ear.  And then it hits me with absolute clarity that THIS is the role I wanted to play in birth.  Had I not been able to hear those mothers’ words and seen her glistening eyes because I had to help with the emergency, the utterance of those words would have gone unheard and unseen.  That would be very sad as I could understand the depth of those feelings and all she had gone through to get there as I had provided her with healing when she had lost her previous baby.  There is a special place for a doula in the birthing room leaving the professionals to do their clinical work.

Comments  

 
+1 #1 Virginia Oosthuizen 2011-11-06 07:29
Every birth brings out the love in me.
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What I Do

I am living my dream while working with mums and babies. I see mums when they are 34 weeks pregnant and then go to their homes once they go into labour. I stay for the full duration of the labour and after the birth I assist them with breast feeding. I do another visit after the birth to see that all is well and to help where I can.  Mums are always welcome to call me in the event that they have any questions, whether before or after the birth. I am passionate about my work as a doula and I care and love all the families with which I work. Once you have been present at a birth you feel part of the family and it’s wonderful to hear news of the new baby’s life as he or she grows.

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