There are a lot of things you can't predict, but one of the things that you can predict is your doula. She is someone that you have met with-- at length-- before your baby has come. She has been there when you had a question about the tests you did prenatally, when you were having aches and pains before labor even started, and when you were feeling stressed about the way things would be after you brought your baby home. You chose her to be on your team. You jive with her, she gets you.
She reminds you of all the tricks of the trade when you are in early labor. She's the only person on your team that you can call at 3am to come to your house because things are getting really intense, but you want to make sure you aren't getting to the hospital too early. She knows just where to press on your back, your hips. She knows how getting in the shower or tub can help you get over this hurdle. She massages your shoulders so you can take a nap and relax a little more. She helps you with positioning to help your baby come out (sooner than later). She knows just the right scents to use to help you calm down. She reminds you to breathe when you are holding your breath. She is there after you've already been with her for an entire day. She's there, fully present, going with you the whole way-- one step at a time. She's your biggest fan. She takes care of your partner too so you don't have too. She reminds him that you need his love now more than ever. All of your focus can be on birthing your baby, because your support team is there.
She stays after your baby comes, gets you propped up with pillows so that you can just rest and take this all in. She makes a bed for your partner so he can get a nap too. She gets you something to eat, and helps you with positioning to help your baby get started with nursing. She gives you a congratulatory hug before she says goodbye.
There are so many ways to help a woman physically through her birth process. Your doula can tailor that care specifically to your needs.
This post was written by Hope Lien, a birth doula with A Woman's Design- Doula and Childbirth Services in honor of doula week. Hope is certified as a Birth and Postpartum Doula through DONA International, certified as a Lactation Counselor through Healthy Children, and certified as a Breastfeeding Without Birthing instructor.
She lives in the Minneapolis area with her husband and 15 month old daughter, who came to them through the miracle of adoption. She was able to offer her support as a doula to her daughter’s birth mother and helped catch her as she was born. She is very proud that she was able to induce lactation in order to nurse her daughter for over a year now.