Why I always encourage hiring a birth doula
Randi van Wiltenburg
Truly hiring a doula can be a bit of an unknown unless you’ve had a doula before or worked closely with one. It’s just one of those things that you just don’t fully grasp all that I do until afterwards.
I talk about how I help educate and help encourage fully informed decision making for your care, birth and postpartum time. Normalizing all the things that can occur during pregnancy, labour and birth for the birthing person and any support people they have. Physical support to help things be a bit more comfortable whilst you’re in the final days of pregnancy all the way through to postpartum and infant feeding.
At the end of the day though I think some of the “smaller” things have the most impact. I often find birthing people worry about their supports and their care team (natural nurturers) when I step in I take over that roll, therefore the birthing person can fully tune into their needs and wants.
I make sure the birthing person is hydrated, using the washroom, changing positions, is feeling heard and seen. This can mean running to get ice chips or refilling water copious amounts of time for themselves and their partners, even their birth team. Making sure I have my peanut ball with me, or an air pump to inflate deflated hospital birth balls. Getting warm blankets, making teas, going across the city for the only drink or food that will do. I make sure that when you’re getting an epidural and having to sit still during contractions that you have someone to help you feel safe, as sometimes partners have to leave the room as they feel unwell. If your batteries in your TENS machine run out of power, I have more.
I make sure the support people are taking care of themselves as well, letting them know when it seems like things are progressing and perhaps a great time to use the washroom or grab a cup of coffee. Sometimes I am the one getting coffee for them. Riding with them to the hospital to help them stay calm and grounded. Sitting with them when their partner is rushed back for an urgent Cesarean Section and they break down not knowing if their partner and baby are going to be okay. Or walking them through what the OR looks like and how they can support their person through surgery while awake and becoming parents.
I’m the doula that when feeding isn’t going well I will drive all over the city to help get the right breast pump parts, or hold you as you cry and not try and shush you but trust in you and your body’s ability and strength to overcome these daunting hurdles.
I’m the doula that as you push and you remember your stillbirth and all that fear comes flooding back, that I can and will promise that no matter what happens you will hold your baby. I’ll remind you to listen to that heartbeat and know that in this moment, your baby is okay.
I don’t sugar coat and I do not dumb down for or baby my clients, I have trust in my clients resilience because I have seen some of them at the worst times of their lives and some of the most empowering times…sometimes the two intertwine and I see humans experiencing their greatest sorrows and greatest achievements all in one go.
It is just one of those things when you hire a doula, you never fully grasp how much of an impact it can have your birth and how you transition in your postpartum period.
It’s better to go into this journey feeling empowered and ready to concur anything rather than depleted and defeated.