Birth & Labour
The most monumental time in a woman's life is when she carries life within her and brings that life into the world. It is no small feat and is often one that can surface fears we didn't realize we had. It is a time where most of us are humbled, nervous, exited, anxious and joyful all at once. It can be hard to navigate such an onslaught of emotion even if this isn't your first rodeo. Sometimes having a simple reassurance is all one needs to get through and feel secure and sometimes we need to have our hand held the entire time. There is never any shame in asking for or admitting that now, of all times, is a time women could use a little support. So many changes are taking place simultaneously that it is crazy to think anyone could make this transition alone or without informative, evidence based, compassionate and lovingly delivered aide.
The moment you learned you are pregnant is the moment your transition into motherhood began. It may not feel that way while you are regurgitating your lunch into your waste bin at work but already the shift has started. At a time where information is at our fingertips, one can easily find themselves spiralling down an information tunnel that can leave us feeling unsettled and with even more questions. A doula is a trained birth and labour companion who has a passion for birth, new life and immense compassion and knowledge for the birthing mother. With the exception of your partner, a doula is the only person present at your birth who's primary concern is your emotional wellbeing. Weather you have questions about birthing options, hospitals and birthing centres, sex, what to eat, how to cope with morning sickness, integrating a new baby into your family, breastfeeding or formula, a doula has evidence based knowledge and experience to provide you with the support you need when baby arrives. You wouldn't enter into a marathon without some type of preparation or coaching and birth is no different.
But being prepared sometimes only takes you so far. Like a deer in the headlights, when the shift starts to take place, it is easy to forget everything and allow fear to creep back in and lead. As your doula I am there to remind you of your strength, encourage you and your partner, offer comfort measures and advocate for you with the other birthing and medical professionals, allowing you to focus on and surrender to the journey. Birth can look very different from woman to women or from child to child. Some may go according to plan while others not quite. Perhaps the plan is to go for an all natural birth or perhaps you already know you want to have cesarean. Perhaps it is a home water birth you're planning or you're being induced and have no qualms about using pain medication. A doula will guide you along the way, keeping you informed about the process while also keeping you calm and relaxed. If you have a partner present who is feeling unsure, I am there to help them be a part of the experience, ensuring they also have a birth experience of their own. Offering tips they can use with the birthing mother to create a connection, busying them with tasks if need be or simply communicating to them what is going on. All this allows space of the birthing mother to feel her power and channel the waters.
As your doula I will be part of your journey through pregnancy and into motherhood from the moment you reach out. I will be available to you (on call) day and night from your 38th week of pregnancy until after the birth and present for the entire birth. We will meet several times before hand to connect and go over the "plan," answer any questions, settle any fears and anxieties and get to know each other. This is a unique relationship so feeling a connection and building a strong foundation is important.
An investment of $800 provides you with invaluable support along your journey. On call privileges from 38 weeks gestation on ward. I will be there for you throughout the birthing process and immediately afterward. 2 postpartum visits to check in and assist with breastfeeding, adjusting and light chores.
You made it! You've birthed new life into the world and have been reborn yourself. What a trip, and it's only just begun. Regardless of how birth took place for you, you are healing. Your body is still contracting and changing and being demanded of. Your head is spinning and as hormones start to leave you're riding the waves all while trying to settle into your new role. Add a few sleepless nights and a rough start to feedings and you may be wondering how the human race has survived for so long! Stop right now, take a breath... you're ok. This is exactly what I am here for.
Most cultures have some sort of traditional approach to caring for the postpartum women. A laying in or sitting in period of a few weeks to 40 days is common throughout the world. A new mother is honoured and cared for by the other women in her family or community and nothing is required of her except to bond with her child. All meals are cooked and brought to her, the household duties are cared for, visitors are limited, and even the baby is being looked after so mom can rest and heal. This way of treating a new mother is key in helping her transition healthily and allowing her to feel the magic that is taking place. The bond between mother and child is strengthened when the mother knows everything else is cared for and all she has to do is be with her baby. Breastfeeding is established more easily when there is support and knowledgable help is available. When a mother is comfortable to ask questions and share her experience she is less likely to feel isolated and succumb to the grip of postpartum depression. It takes a village and it starts right away with supporting the mother.
What does postpartum care look like? While each family is unique and will require a unique approach, care for the postpartum woman means all you have to do is rest, share your experience as a form of healing, ask questions, be vulnerable and allow everything else to be done for you. Meal preparation, light cleaning, tips on sleep for you and baby, breastfeeding support and tips, resources to other care professionals, all this and so much more are what a doula comes bearing.
Postpartum care is individual and customizable. An investment of $30/hour provides you with care for as long or as little as you need post birth. Breastfeeding support and tips, light household duties, meal prep, an extra hand so you can rest or shower while baby is lovingly cared for. Guidance for partners in ways they can assist as well as feel secure themselves. Reassurance and someone to share your birth story with are what you can expect in postpartum care.
Pregnancy and birth is a huge undertaking and transformative experience but the real work starts now. Don't deny yourself the support you deserve to enhance your experience.
benefits of working with a doula
- Less likely to use pain medication
- Decrease chances of having a cesarean
- The use of Pitocin is reduced
- Labour is shortened by an average of 1.5 hours.
- Less incidence of postpartum depression
- Decrease in anxiety
- Increase in mobility and confidence
- Increase in breastfeeding with doula support
- Higher Agpar scores
- Fewer incidence of negative or traumatic birth experiences.
- Increase in VBAC
- Healthier infant outcomes
- Happier and healthier birth experience