DOULA – People often have a difficult time pronouncing this word ( “doo’la”), let alone understand what it is! To clarify, I will share some of the many definitions I have come across describing a doula: a support and friend…. an insurance policy for a good experience (ie: We might not need her, but if things get tough she will be there – ready and willing to offer support)…. an advocate for my birth hopes… My favourite description was one given by a father as he explained to a friend why he and his partner decided to hire a doula for their upcoming birth. He said, “Our doula is like my fishing guide.”
At first I was a little confused (to be honest I didn’t know very much about fishing). However, he went on to describe HOW a doula was just like a fishing guide and I thought, “Wow! That is a great definition of what we do!”
Here are ways a doula can be compared to a fishing guide:
1. Doulas know location – Doulas work with clients in hospitals, birth centres and have likely attended home births as well. Because they are so familiar with these locations, they can help the partners find things or even just get them for the partner. This saves valuable time and energy for the partner.
2. Doulas are familiar with the locals – Doulas develop a relationship with nurses, midwives, doctors and other doulas. Their role, as doulas, is to be part of the mother’s team for labour and birth. Working together, she can help ensure that the mother has the opportunity to communicate with all of her care providers as well as advocate for what a mother has stated she wants.
3. Doulas have the gear – Most doulas show up with a bag full of all kinds of different birth related tools. These are things that the birthing woman therefore does not need to remember to bring herself, but if she needs them – there they are! (I, personally, have magically pulled out all kinds of forgotten items such as: elastics, shower caps, phone charger, small change, snacks, extra new socks, massage tools, gum, Advil for the partner, lotion, hotwater bottles… The list goes on and on!)
4. Doulas are there to help provide the best experience possible – We are close by a couple’s side when they need us, we provide the physical and emotional support along with help gathering information. When they are doing great on their own, we are ready in the background – keeping an eye out for challenges and cheering on their hard work!
That is how a doula is like a fishing guide! For your upcoming birth you may want to consider hiring a doula – professional birth support, and reassuring guide.