Why I became a Doula
It was in 1991 that my first son was born. My friend Anne had a son by caesarean section 6 months earlier. She wanted to see a natural birth so I invited her to attend my birth with my husband. I thought of midwives, but could not afford one and had just missed a trial being tested with midwives in the hospital. My birth was very easy. I took charge, hospital staff did not need to do much unless I asked for assistance. The room was my room (decorations were not an issue). I delivered within 2 hours of getting to the hospital. I had my second son 20 months later and I asked Anne to be with us again. We rolled into the hospital letting them know I would deliver within 1 1/2 hours, and sure enough I did. I had allowed my body the time to do what it needed to do...
The first birth I attended was Anne and David’s. I wanted to be at the other end, supporting her and witnessing life come into this world. Her husband is a doctor. Attending the birth, she had 2 midwives and me. She had a long labour, not dilating, just like the first. She was getting exhausted. We were in the country, and it was many hours. The midwives at that point did something I had never seen, in front of the doctor and all. She asked Anne to push while the midwife worked the cervix. That started the rest of the dilation to progress. And it did, not quickly but it did. We arrived at the hospital and were very tired. She got to full dilation and did not know how to push and thought she was too tired. I just said that she had to look back a few hours when she was pushing with the midwives. “Oh”, she said, “that’s easy”, and off she went. She delivered a beautiful baby girl. To this day, March 2008, I have assisted in the labour of 47 babies. Some were friends, clients, a few c-sections, a few with medication, however most were natural, drug-free births. In all I have supported whatever outcome without guilt to the client; the outcomes were that they had new beginnings. It is always with great honour that I am around birth, celebrating life, helping to create the most positive atmosphere for myself to be working in and for the wishes of the clients.The Value and Purpose of Labour Support
There is a strong need for support of the family when a roller coaster of excitement, joy, confusion, and emotion are in the making. Comfort measures in any situation are always blessings and support for strength and encouragement is welcome.
It is human nature to respond to acknowledgment, so it is important to let a woman know how great she is doing in her most powerful moments when, for many months she may have struggled with the uncertainties of how well she would handle birth. To be exhilarated and working hard changing positions, she needs to keep her momentum swaying and rocking. A voice of calm, a voice of kindness and a voice of excitement are being fed to new beginnings.
The pressures may mount yet the stress levels remain at ease, knowing where your place is in this world at this time, working in harmony with your child as parenting unfolds.
After many hours of physical exertion, her muscles are tired; she has never worked for such a long long time. Supplies are at hand to massage her tensions in her muscles and in her mind. Her muscles and mind are relaxed. Her muscle tissues are soft and the ease of the delivery is calm within. Her surrounding environment supports her responses and she floats with your comforting presence. She sees and feels your calm reassuring voice of whispers and joy. She sees her husband being supported and does not worry. He goes to her in a calm, loving supportive manner.
The more we continue to encourage relaxation, to work with her rhythms and support her rituals, we will then be witnesses to the harmonious beginnings of a new family.
What are the messages that we put out? What are the responses we want? Are we willing to express emotions that we have not dared to before? The guidelines are only someone's rules... What are your guidelines? Be open to look at different personalities of support that may not even suit you, but may support you in an unfamiliar setting or situation. You may not even take an aspirin for a headache, why would you want Tylenol-3 or any other drug when your body knows what to do, when given a chance to adapt to a difficult time. These times do not usually last weeks. It may be only a few hours - with the support you need, time goes by very quickly and the body is in full response to what you want. Do you know what you want?
When you cry out for help what do you expect a mother to comfort you with? A soft gentle voice, perhaps with some reassurance that you are okay, the knowledge that you are in control of the situation and that you can rest at ease? Or is the rescue of the syrup that makes you feel better in 20 minutes? The walk to the cabinet for maybe just a bandage, or a calming bath with a fragrance that you just love? It may even be a walk to calm yourself and to focus on your next step.
Be prepared, for there are a multitude of comfort measures that will assist you in achieving the birth plan you have discussed. Your spiritual traditions will be incorporated to assist you with a peace of mind and positive experience. The client is in charge, focused, empowered. We are the supporters. We are there at a blink of an eye, with a whisper, with an instinct, womens' intuition, we are there....no matter what choices have been made or the decisions that may have changed in a moment, you can trust that a doula is there 100%.
The purpose of Labour Support from me is that I am focused, by your side, while your husband or partner is on the other side. Whatever I can do, he can do better, thus is encouraged to be in harmony as a team. You may feel tension mount and we are there to help relax muscles and mind, support some visualizations and cater to your needs while you remain empowered. I am not there to be a boss and tell people what is best. These are your decisions, that I will support you through. I am there to keep a sense of calming and reassurance every step of the way. I am always honored to be in a place of new beginnings.
Copyright 2013 © Messages To The Body, Vernon BC, Canada