HAPPY WORLD DOULA WEEK, DOULAS!
I have been meaning to write this post for the past couple of days but somehow time got away from me. I absolutely love being a Doula. I find it incredibly rewarding, humbling, intimate, intense, and it truly has opened my heart up to the people around me.
I started Little Bird Birth Services in May of 2017. Last year, I was witness to welcoming four babies enter this world. Each birth was incredible, intense and beautiful in its own way. The high I get from attending a birth and watching a woman at her most powerful moment is indescribable. I absolutely love it. Birth work is 200% my calling and I truly don't have words to express how happy that makes me feel to have finally found my niche and my place in this world.
So, to celebrate #worlddoulaweek I wanted to share the top 10 things I love about being a Doula and why Doulas are a vital and important part of your birth team!
- The connection. These past ten months I have felt more connection with people then I have in the last probably ten years. When a client hires me to be their doula it is important to me and them that there is a bond and a connection. We work together at the most intimate, vulnerable times and it is so important to ensure that you are a good match for each other. You need a doula who knows what you need without having to ask. Someone who understands you and can hold space for you. The clients I've worked with so far, I do feel a pretty profound connection with, and how could I not? I witnessed and helped these families in the most intense, emotional, vulnerable, stressful, joyful time in their life. Being with people in that moment is something I can't really describe with words, other then you build a connection that is pretty damn meaningful.
- The support. I love helping people. I'm an empath at heart and I've always had a desire to support and help people. Support doesn't always mean emotional support (although I do love supporting people in their journeys), especially in doula work. I love that I get to support women with information and the physical support aspect as well. It's amazing watching women work their way through childbirth. As a doula, I have a bag full of tools and tricks to help with pain, discomfort and to help with positioning; however, even though I happily will use those tools and tricks, I honestly prefer to hold space for a woman and let her find her way through childbirth. In my own experience, if a woman is able to find a private, quiet space she will instinctually follow her body and know what to do. Supporting a woman in this aspect is always amazing to watch.
- The power. This is kind of a no-brainer for me anyway. I love watching women at their most powerful. It is intense, incredible and seriously so humbling. A woman is honestly at her most powerful when she gives birth to a baby.
- The versatility. Getting to work with clients from all walks of life is so great. I meet people with all types of backgrounds and its amazing getting to know them, support them and work with them. The versatility of doula work is also great. You can be a birth doula, a postpartum doula, a palliative doula. There are so many options and it is really a rewarding path. I also just love the versatility of the hours I work. I am a mom of two under two, so most of the work I do is at home. I get to make my own schedule (except for the timing of births... babies make that schedule for me) but the prenatal meetings, postpartum meetings, research, continuing education, etc I get to choose when I do that and that means I get to create more of a work-life balance especially with two little ones, and I love that.
- The knowledge. Every day I do research about childbirth, labor, pregnancy, postpartum, etc. I love learning, and being able to read evidence-based articles, studies, etc on the topics that I love most makes me do a little happy dance inside. I make sure I provide my clients with the most up to date information so they can be informed and be in charge of their own health care. It was important to me to have someone with a lot of knowledge around childbirth in my own pregnancies, and I want to ensure that I do the same for my clients. Evidence shows that "Overall, people who received continuous support were more likely to have spontaneous vaginal births and less likely to have any pain medication, epidurals, negative feelings about childbirth, vacuum or forceps-assisted births, and Cesareans. In addition, their labors were shorter by about 40 minutes and their babies were less likely to have low Apgar scores at birth. There is a smaller amount of evidence that doula support in labor can lower postpartum depression in mothers. There is no evidence for negative consequences to continuous labor support." - From Evidence Based Birth: Doulas. Knowledge is power, folks.
- The community. Moving back from the city to Powell River was a really stressful time for me. I am one of those types of people that associate places with trauma, and Powell River really did have a lot of that for me. Right away when I knew we were going to move back I met up with other doulas in the community because I wanted to have that support around me. The community of doulas we have in this town is awesome. I know that I can go to them and debrief a stressful or traumatic birth that I attended if I need to and I hope that they feel the same with me. Doula work is work straight from the heart, we carry a lot of emotions with us and it is important that we are able to debrief with people around us who have been in similar situations. This is one aspect that I love about being a Doula.
- The intensity. Pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum is intense. Not only do I love the intensity and rush that childbirth brings, but I truly do believe that people should have doulas with them at these times. Motherhood is intense. Childbirth is intense. Pregnancy and postpartum are intense. Having someone there to support you during these times is crucial, for parents and for children.
- The emotion. This is one of the most amazing parts about being a doula, and can also be one of the heaviest parts. I support and watch women and families bring their children earth-side. Birth is beautiful, but birth can also be traumatic. The emotions that come alongside these journeys can be really intense but they also shape us, and I feel that it is something beautiful. I am so honoured that families allow me into their birth space with them. I feel the emotions that each woman feels when she is in labor. I feel the emotions when a dad sees his baby for the first times. I feel the emotions when I have women share with me their traumatic births. I feel the emotions with my clients. It can be heavy and hard at times, but being on these journeys with these people and supporting them is emotional and it is important.
- The empowerment. This was the ultimate goal of Little Bird Birth Services. I know that you have the power within you to birth your baby. My job as your doula is to remind you of this. I provide you with knowledge, information, physical support, emotional support to help you take charge of your birth so that you can feel empowered and have the birth you dream of. I felt empowered after the birth of my children, and I want you to feel the same. This is why I do what I do.
- The love. Of course, I saved the best for last. The love I share for each of the babies I've witnessed enter this world is something else. It's amazing. It's powerful. I have so much love and respect for my clients. The job has allowed me to create meaningful relationships with people. I absolutely love being a Doula. I know it is cliche, but I wear my heart on my sleeve, always. I have so much love for the people I've worked with and as I continue to learn and gain experience, my love for doula work just increases.
So, today is the last day of World Doula Week. Please, if you've had doula support you, or you are a doula, or you know a doula. Share the love. Doulas are worth the investment. They are a crucial part of a birth team and the work that they do is so important. The World Health Organization recommends women have a support person during childbirth, and hiring a doula can make all the difference for the outcome of pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum. Evidence supports this!
Thank you to all of my clients for allowing me into such an intimate time with you. Thank you to the Doulas in Powell River, we are all doing such important work and we deserve to feel the love this week. Thank you to all the doulas worldwide.
Share the love. Share the word: Doula's are awesome.