It is so very hard to explain in words and it’s not a role that can be defined easily as every person, birth and experience is different.
So I asked my amazing friends what their experience was like?
This is the amazing responsive that I got xxx
What did a Doula mean to You?
I hired a doula for my second birth because despite having a wonderful student midwife and partner at my first birth, I felt the amazing energy of birth was lacking. At my second birth and third I was surrounded by such great energy, knowledge, and I knew that no matter what I needed, there was someone there that could provide it for me. It turned out I didn’t really need anything, but that feeling of being wholly supported is worth its weight in gold. Generally I feel a doula is important for any birth, they can support you physically and emotionally during labour, watch older children, provide guidance and support to you birth partner. They KNOW birth and as a woman you can’t get the same kind of support from your partner. It’s just different. Which might be a controversial comment but I honestly feel that way. I would have been fine giving birth even if it was 100% alone but I didn’t want to be just ‘fine’. The loving support from my partner and the warm, constant energy from my doula made my births such a wonderful experiences. A doula does not replace a partner and vice versa- they are both so important in different ways. I think a doula is almost more important at a hospital birth, especially for first time Mum’s who know what they want but may not always know how to say it!
I think the most significant benefit about having my doula at my birth was the emotional and spiritual support, reassurance and guidance on hand during my birth. Having journeyed with her through hypnobirthing classes, meditations, honest conversations and fear releases during pregnancy, her voice and uplifting words and presence really put me at ease throughout my birth. That trust we’d built throughout my pregnancy was there when we needed it the most. I have huge respect for midwives and I think a doula compliments the skills of a midwife so beautifully. My midwife had so much respect for my doulas role that I felt like I had such a powerful birthing team! While a Midwife’s focus I think is on ensuring optimum conditions for the birth of baby a Doula ensures optimum conditions for the birthing of the new mother and family. My doula was a spiritual facilitator of the birth I wanted, by reminding me of my own strength and wisdom and sharing her birthing knowledge and womanly intuition to guide both my husband and myself. I think as a first time Mum I felt having my doula, as a non-medical specialist by our side during pregnancy and birth meant she often provided guidance from outside the box. Like her deep intuition of being a mother of two and the wisdom imprinted on her from the mothers she’d held the space for before me. She also empowered me to navigate and be assertive in a health system by knowing my own birthing rights and entitlements and knowing everything I needed for pregnancy, birth and beyond, I already had within me.
I didn’t want a doula for my first birth initially. I felt that a doula would make my partner feel useless. I didn’t fully understand what a doula did. Then we started our hypnobirthing course and we changed our minds! We hired her to be our advocate, to support us both so all we had to worry about was bringing our baby earth side. She knew exactly what we wanted and when I went into labour she organised all the practical aspects like when to go into the birth centre, negotiating with the midwives to let me stay (I was only 2cms and they wanted to send me home), making sure all of the staff respected my wishes and stuck to my birth plan. I think it’s so important to have a doula, especially if you are birthing in hospital and especially when you don’t have an allocated midwife who knows you well, if you are under the care of a team of midwifes like I was and the ones I had during labour didn’t know me at all. A doula is invaluable in my opinion! Second time I had a home birth the emotional support and a strong female energy, plus the familiarity of having the same Doula there again was invaluable!
A Doula is what ever you need her to be in the moment.
Jocelyn Jane xx