I think my friends and family would agree that I’m fairly rigid and conservative in most matters, to the point where I’m often told to “lighten up” or “be more open-minded”. As such, it won’t come as a surprise that when I became pregnant with my first daughter about 5 years ago, I initially dismissed the suggestion of hiring a birth doula because I had a vague notion that they were alternative, hippy-ish and too “granola” for me.
I will be forever grateful to a dear friend who set the record straight and convinced me that a doula could and should be an integral part of my birthing experience. The women in my extended family have a history of needing c-sections, and in an effort to try all things possible to avoid having a c-section myself, I opened my mind to the concept of having a doula at my side during my first daughter’s birth. And not only did I look into, I ended up hiring a doula (the formidable Jacquie Munro from Vancouver) for the births of both of my girls.
From the moment I met Jacquie, she put me at ease about pregnancy and the birthing process. We met in person and spoke on the phone regularly for the last few months of my first pregnancy, and she was always quick to address any concerns I had. I didn’t have many pregnant friends during my first pregnancy, so it was incredible having a real life resource to talk to (sometimes on a daily basis) beyond my husband, GP and Google. And when it actually came time to head to the hospital (for an induction the first time because I was 2 weeks overdue, and in active labour the second time), knowing we were picking Jacquie up in our car along the way relieved so much of my stress. At the hospital, she acted as a coach for me, a translator between me and the doctors & nurses as various options were proposed and decisions made, and as a serious support for my husband (including teaching him how to help me, and taking over for him while he slept or took a quick break to eat). She even made notes on her iPhone throughout the process, and weeks after the birth of each of my girls I received a written play-by-play from Jacquie about my birth experiences (including the funny & odd things I said and did during labour).
I cannot speak highly enough of the service doulas provide for pregnant women during one of the most stressful and emotional times in their lives, and I imagine it would be an equally rewarding profession for doulas to be in.
For anyone interested in becoming a trained doula, Pacific Rim College offers the HOLISTIC DOULA CERTIFICATE program, the most comprehensive Doula program offered in North America. It is a 13.5-week, 270-hour program that prepares students to work both as Doulas and post-partum Doulas. It is taught by a distinguished faculty of Doulas, Midwives, Naturopaths and other healthcare specialists.
The Vancouver training for the Fall 2014 semester is offered downtown at UBC Robson Square. Connect with Pacific Rim College online via their website, Facebook page, or Holistic Doula Certificate Facebook page.