There are a lot of reasons why pregnant people and new parents hire doulas.
In birth, it’s often because we offer a deep well of information when you need it. Providing evidence-based information about your birth options, interventions, and suggest labor positions you might try. We often bring a lot of hands-on comfort, too- massage, counter pressure, reassuring touch, etc.
As postpartum doulas, we offer a lot of practical help. Folding laundry, tidying the kitchen, cutting up fruit and vegetables as quick snacks, or prepping tasty, nutritious meals. Postpartum doulas also sometimes take over baby care so tired, exhausted parents are able to nap, shower, visit with friends and family, or just have some alone time.
Sometimes, though, the magic of our work as doulas isn’t in what we actively do. Sometimes, the magic comes from just simply, being.
That magic might come in the form of sitting quietly, nearby a laboring person as they cope beautifully through active labor. Occasionally, we’ll offer a sip of water, a bite of a popsicle, or a verbal reminder of the strength we’re seeing right before our eyes.
However, in that moment, our support mainly shines through the form of just being.
We offer quiet reassurance through a smile, a knowing and understanding look, a tender touch, and a cool cloth on the forehead.
We act as your partner’s memory, quietly suggesting options when needed, so they can be fully present in the moment, instead of mentally running through things you learned in birth class together. We hold your partner in our arms if your birth goals shift or go off course, allowing them the space to fall apart and feel all the feelings. Then, we help pick them back up, help rebuild their strength and composure, and so it’s available to you when you need them most.
At home, once your baby’s arrived, our gentle support continues as you learn about your new baby. We’re there as you learn how to lean into your instincts as a new parent, and as you learn how to navigate life in your new roles as parents.
Yes, we’re there to help with the little things that can grind a sleepless, new parent down over time (oh, that baby laundry is endless, isn’t it?).
But we’re also there to just be.
We’re there to witness your confidence grow as you care for and feed your newborn. We’re there in the vulnerable moments, when it feels like everything is really hard (because it often is really, really, just that hard), to quietly remind you of all the ways that you’re all flourishing and growing.
We’re there when you’re ready to share your birth story, however it unfolded, with a hug and a grounding touch. And, we’re there to wipe the tears, both from overwhelming happiness and sheer frustration and exhaustion, when they fall.
You see, yes. The work of a doula is very active and sometimes very physical. We do a lot of things for our clients and for their families.