When someone is searching for a doula, or hears about a doula, there's often many questions that come along with the process of deciding whether or not to hire one yourself. When we chat with others either in person, email, or social media, these are the most common questions that come up.
Since this blog is to focus more on the Doula Services aspect of Lovewell Birth Collective, we thought this would be a good introduction and get you more familiar with who we are and what we do.
We will start with the #1 most frequently asked question...can you guess it?! :) ....
WHAT IS A DOULA?
I get it. It feels like a foreign word, especially if you are new to the pregnancy/baby circle. To stray from a textbook answer and give you our "in person spiel," A doula is a support person during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum. A doula "mother's the mother." At Lovewell Birth Collective, our Doulas are here to support YOU and YOUR choices for YOUR birth and/or YOUR postpartum journey. We are here to enhance your experience in this special time in your life, so you can look back on it (EVEN if things didn't go as "wished," because we all know birth and parenthood doesn't always follow a textbook!) and KNOW you were informed and empowered in your decisions, you FELT supported, not judged or alone, and that you were assured and comforted by your doula's techniques or suggestions during your labour or postpartum experience.
WHAT EXACTLY DOES A DOULA DO?
There are two support services offered by doulas, Labour Support or Postpartum Support. At Lovewell, we offer these services separately or combined, depending on the client's needs/desires. A Labour Doula will support you prenatally by preparing you for childbirth, giving you information and resources tailored to your questions, fears, or concerns. She will suggest any comfort measures or helpful tips to ensure a comfortable and healthy pregnancy. During labour, she will affirm and guide you and your partner through the different stages of labour with various comfort techniques to cope with the pain of the contractions and have an effective pushing stage. She will stay immediately postpartum until you have most likely been showered, baby has had the first feed, and are comfortable/ready to bond privately as a family. She may come to your home afterwards for a postpartum visit, or will call/text to offer support during the first week or two as you transition. A Postpartum Doula is hired for anytime within the first year of having a baby. When there's a new baby in the home, most often your visitors will walk through the door and see your baby, want to hold your baby, and may (to bluntly put it) want to talk your ear off. When a doula walks into your home, she first sees YOU. She asks how YOU are doing, what YOUR needs are, and how she can support YOU for the time she is there. She sees the exhausted, tired, hungry, overwhelmed, emotional, ALL THINGS going on in you that often accompanies care of a new baby & recovery from birth. She will be a listening ear and talk with you to answer any questions or concerns, she will confidently take care of your baby/other children so you can REST, sleep, or shower! She will help with preparing food to nurture your healing body. She will assist and support with breastfeeding, latching, and refer you to helpful resources if it's beyond her abilities. She takes your anxieties, sleep deprivation, fears, household expectations and holds them so YOU can rest, BREATHE, and truly enjoy this time. The bottom line is, she is there to support you and help your family ease into the transition of caring for a new baby within the first year - judgement free, guilt free!
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DOULA AND A MIDWIFE?
This question is asked alot! A midwife is basically a doctor specialized in low risk pregnancies, that cares for women prenatally, during birth, and up to 6 weeks postpartum. Midwives have a university degree and are highly skilled and trained in all the medical aspects for childbearing and newborns. A doula has NO medical training, she is strictly there for emotional, physical, and informational support during pregnancy, labour, and the first year postpartum. A doula is not considered a health care practitioner under the HCA, so basically anybody can say they are a "doula," as it is often a hobby for some. At Lovewell Birth Collective, we ensure that our doulas are trained through a reputable school body and are certified or currently working towards certification. We strive to keep our doulas knowledgeable and experienced to offer quality care to our clients.
SHOULD I HIRE A DOULA IF I ALREADY HAVE A MIDWIFE?
The midwife/doula combination on a birth team compliment each other very well. We love our midwives here at Lambton-Kent Midwifery Services and are always happy to work together with them to provide an optimal birthing experience. As more personal and hands on midwives are, they are also your medical caregiver and still have paperwork and medical aspects to give their time to. As well, even though they work on a "team" schedule, it is not always guaranteed which midwife will be on-call and present for your birth. When you hire a doula, you build a special relationship with her over your pregnancy, and when it comes time for labour, she is the one you're getting - the familiar face and assuring presence that's with you from beginning to end.
CAN I HAVE A DOULA IF I WANT A HOSPITAL BIRTH?
Absolutely! Whether you are in OB care, Midwifery care, want to birth at home, or want to birth in the hospital...your doula supports you and goes where YOU are.
I WANT TO HIRE A DOULA, BUT MY PARTNER IS UNSURE OR NOT EVEN INTERESTED...
This is a very common tension between a potential client and their partner, and we get it! A partners feelings or lack there of can also be very influential in the decision of hiring a doula or not. The main fear that usually has a partner hesitant to have a doula join the experience is that they feel she will "take over" and leave then out of a job essentially. That is not the case though! If anything, a doula compliments the partner, and gives them the confidence that what their doing is helpful and effective, and if they run out of words or ways to encourage/support the birth person, a doula has a "tool bag" full of ideas. Also, if the labour continues for a long time and the partner becomes tired or hungry, they can take a nap or skip out for a bite to eat guilt-free knowing their doula is still there giving great support. I will say this though, there is not one client or partner that we've supported that ever regretted it!! After the experience of having a doula, every partner has been SO grateful and 100% said they would have us again!
HOW MUCH IS A DOULA?
A detailed description of our service packages and pricing can be found on our website here.
WHEN SHOULD I HIRE A DOULA?
As soon as you can! Doulas do not take on multiple clients at a time like Midwives or OB's can. When a Lovewell Doula secures a client, she is clearing here schedule for that time frame and making her utmost availability for you. Therefore, if you have a certain Doula in mind, or if you know your time frame for when you will want Doula services, the earliest to email/call to book your Doula, the better to guarantee what/who you want. However, if you are later on in your pregnancy, still contact us and we will do our best to accommodate for you!
Thank you for taking the time to read this. We love and appreciate all our followers! If you have any questions that have not been addressed here you can send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to chat with you more!