When a woman becomes pregnant there are so many thoughts, fears and questions that race through her mind. One topic that stays at the forefront of most to-be-mothers is labor and delivery. As a first-time-mom, a woman doesn’t know what labor is like and doesn’t have much to compare it to. The purpose of this article is to illustrate how a doula can help bridge that gap of care and knowledge for a mother by providing continuous nurturing support, making mother feel comforted and confident in her journey through pregnancy, labor and delivery.
When I first meet potential clients, initial questions are, “What does a doula do? Why should I get one?” I was prepared for this question and used the analogy of a real estate agent. When looking to purchase a home, the search begins by visiting real estate websites, putting in parameters and finding a few homes that have potential. A person can drive by those homes but to really see if the home is a good fit, one seeks out the professional help of a real estate agent. A real estate agent provides, data, facts, feedback and valuable information that help find a home that best fits a person’s needs. Once a home has been found, the real estate agent helps with the purchase, inspection, paperwork, etc. Every step of the way, the real estate agent assists in providing data and support in the purchase of a home. During that process a relationship is built, trust is established, a bond is made.
A similar progression can be seen when you’re expecting a baby. A person reads all the books, websites, blogs, etc. to get a better understanding of pregnancy, birth and the care of a new baby. A doula can be that real estate agent. A doula has experience, resources and evidence-based knowledge in assisting and supporting a mother. During pregnancy, a doula provides information and listens to a mother’s fears, questions and vision of labor. When mother goes into labor, a doula provides continuous comfort emotionally and physically to mother and her partner until baby enters the world. In addition to the emotional support, a doula provides touch techniques and relaxation techniques and can assist in reducing negative effects such as emergency c-section, etc.
A doula’s work doesn’t stop when the baby arrives. A doula remains accessible and visits a family after the arrival of baby to ensure that mother and baby are working to establish that unbreakable bond that many mothers have with their children. A doula becomes an extension of the nuclear family, taking in all the literature, research and experience and filtering it down to the family in a way that is understandable, usable and effective.
So what is the value in having a doula? The value is the positive experience, relationship and understanding that mother has when she comes to the end of her pregnancy. A mother can still feel anxious, nervous and excited about labor. With a doula by her side, a mother’s mind is put at ease because she has the support and guidance to keep calm, in control and confident as she welcome her baby.