Doulas often must answer the question "what do doulas do" The age-old answer for this has been "we provide physical, emotional, and informational support." This definition has long bugged me and I have gone long lengths to avoid providing it. Because you see, this definition sells us short. Stay with me, while I break it down.
Sure, we provide physical support, sometimes by holding you up, sometimes holding your hips, your leg, or even your hair. But my ability to physically support you isn't really that - it's that I am 100% responsive to you, anticipating your needs before you voice them, using my knowledge and understanding of you and birth to make suggestions for your movement that may facilitate your birth. Physical support sounds like training wheels - and we are so much more than that.
Yes, we provide emotional support. Pregnancy, birth, and postpartum are emotional times. But, again, what you really need of me is my unwavering faith in you and your abilities, however you carry, birth and care for your baby. I am there not only for you, but as a team member for your partner - a barometer of normal. I can slow the room when it seems it's spinning, and be a rock when you need to hold on, a sounding board when you need to roar, or understand how very hard you are working when you make it 'look easy.' I understand postpartum and that my visit with you is more than being in awe of your wee babe.
I do have a vast amount of knowledge about pregnancy, physiologically normal birth, cesarean births and postpartum. But truly, this is not what you need of me and providing you with endless amounts of information creates a divide in the relationship we must build and can lead to feelings of judgement. Instead, I am here to help you connect with a birth class, a health care provider, pediatrician, a therapist, a lactation consultant, or a yoga class. I am your bridge. I will not give you biased information or be your teacher. In fact, you already know more about how you will birth your baby then me. I both know and honor that.
Doulas are so much more than any of this.
At BEST, we know "What is a doula?"
Amanda and Maria