It's #worlddoulaweek and I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss these amazing women who do some of the most important work there is to do in this world. According to DONA International, a doula is a professional who is trained in childbirth and provides continuous support to a mother before, during, and just after birth.
Almost 5 years ago, my husband and I visited friends who had just had a beautiful home birth (and since have had two more!). This was the first I had ever heard of any the Business of Being Born, Ina May stuff that is now such a large part of my framework and resonated deeply with me. A laboring woman needs support from someone who knows and trusts a woman's body to do the hard work of childbirth. They need someone to be able to look deep into their eyes, hold their hand and say "you are not in danger, you are safe, you will get through this". And, if you are having a hospital birth, and hope to have no interventions, the sad, scary truth of the matter is you will need someone who will fight the system hard to make that a reality. There is a lot of push back in hospitals to give birth in a medicalized way that is on their time frame. When you are in the depths of labor you may not be able to advocate for yourself and 9 times out of 10 your partner will not have the presence of mind to do so either.
When I started to approach active labor, my bouncy ball and incredible husband were just not making the cut. All I wanted was my Doula and when she arrived I felt like I could finally relax. I felt that all was well and that I wasn't alone. From the moment she arrived onwards, she didn't leave my side. She held space for me to labor the way I needed to, checked the heart beat of my baby, gave me Gatorade out of a straw and reassured me, again and again, "you are doing it".
The experience you have when give birth is a big deal! It is hard work, it is scary and it is important. Don't passively allow it to happen to you. Doulas have empirically shown to reduce the rate of cesareans by 50%, epidural requests by 60%, and the length of labor by 25%. Doulas rule and if you are pregnant, go get one!
Happy world Doula week!
And a special thank you to my Doula Cori from Dos Doulas!