How a doula can help you at your birth

What is a doula?
Soon, I am going to be writing explaining the role of a postpartum doula since that is what I am working towards. First, I have a guest post by Katie of Milk and Nectar. Doulas are so important. We had a doula for the birth of my son and I couldn’t imagine doing it without a birth doula present. If you are pregnant, be sure to read this to find out how a doula can help you at your birth.

How a doula can help you at your birth

What is a doula?

Hi, my name is Katie and I am a doula! I love all things pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding; after my own birth experience, and attending the birth of my best friend’s daughter, I decided that I wanted to be around birth all of the time. I love being a doula because I thoroughly enjoy walking with women and their families through pregnancy, labor and the birth of their sweet babies. I’ve always been someone who is a nurturer and as a birth doula, I get to take care of and provide comfort and support during one of the most transformative times in a woman’s life.

So what is a doula?
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

How are you different from a midwife, doctor or labor & delivery nurse? 

Each of the people mentioned above is a key player on your birth team. Your midwife or doctor will provide clinical support to you throughout pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Usually, midwives and OBs differ in their approach to pregnancy, labor & birth (but that’s another topic). If you’re giving birth in a hospital, you’ll have a labor and delivery nurse who’ll care for you and your baby during labor. As a doula, I’m trained to provide non-medical physical, emotional and informational support to you and your partner. I do not perform clinical tasks such as taking your blood pressure, checking fetal heart tones, checking for cervical dilation, making diagnoses, or prescribing treatments. This is part of the care you’ll receive from your OB or midwife and/ or a labor and delivery nurse.

My spouse or partner really wants to be the one to help me while I’m in labor, would having you as my doula take that role? away from them? 
This is probably one of the most common questions I get, and dads really are concerned about being replaced! Don’t worry, dads! You matter and I am NOT your competition! Laboring and giving birth is a process unlike any other you will experience.  While you and your partner can read, take classes, talk to others and prepare in various ways for the birth of your child (and all of these are GREAT), there is no guarantee that when labor day arrives, that your partner will know how to best support all of the needs you have. During labor, women are not always able to communicate exactly what they need when it comes to physical support. As a doula, I’m trained to look for signals from a woman as to what might work best for her, and am conscious of the normal flow of labor. Often, we’re able to think ahead and be ready for what a woman might experience. This isn’t to say that there aren’t partners who rise to the occasion – dads rule! However, often times, partners don’t know how they’ll be once things are actually in motion. A partner isn’t always prepared for the intensity the woman experiences and isn’t sure how to handle seeing their loved one going through this process.  Having a doula can help to ease the unknowns! 
In addition to supporting you, I’m there for your partner. My main focus is you, since you’ll likely need the majority of my attention, but I am also there for your partner and strive to support them the best I can. This can range from talking them through what’s happening during labor, to suggesting ways they can help provide physical comfort for you, to staying with you so that they can get something to eat, rest or get some fresh air. I’m not meant to take over the unique role of your partner! Instead, I help them support you (the woman they love) at a level they are comfortable with.
When it comes to possible interventions, I can talk openly with you both and help you understand why something is being suggested. I can’t speak for you, but I can help you be informed and feel confident in making any decisions needed. 
  

Why should I consider a doula for my upcoming birth?
There are many reasons to consider having a doula to support you at your upcoming birth, and after! Studies have shown that when doulas attend birth, labors are shorter with fewer complications, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more easily. Studies have also found that women who had continuous support from a doula has a shorter labor by about forty minutes, and their babies were less likely to have lower Apgar scores. These findings all suggest that the presence of continuous support by your side during labor and delivery, and immediately postpartum, help your transition into motherhood easier and more pleasant ( as well as less stressful and possibly safer!)


I hope that this post will answer most of your questions about who doulas are and what they do – and maybe even encourage you to seek one out for your next pregnancy! If you have any more questions, or are interested in finding a doula in your area – feel free to email me at milkandnectar@gmail.com! I would love to help you understand more and find someone truly awesome for your support!


Stay sweet,

 

 

The Motherhood Journey has compiled a list of resources to help you find a doula in your area.

Doula resources

doula resources

Birth doulas and postpartum doulas play such an important role in helping moms during the journey of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I had a birth doula present when giving birth to my son and I can’t imagine doing it without her calm and steady support. Our wonderful midwives sent a postpartum doula to spend some time with us the first night after my son was born. These experiences and my passion to help women has led me on this journey to becoming a postpartum doula. Check out my postpartum services here.

Doula Resources

doula resources

DONA International find a doula near you

DoulaMatch.net find a doula near you
NAPS (Northwest Association for Postpartum Support) find a postpartum doula in the Puget Sound Region

Bloom Spokane find a birth doula or postpartum doula in the Spokane area

Brittany Furgason at Knit Together Births, Birth doula in Tacoma, WA

Xylina Weaver at Spokane Birth Support, birth and postpartum doula in Spokane, WA

Tammy Huguein at Tiny Toes Birth ServicesPostpartum doula in Spokane, WA

Courageous Beginnings Pregnancy, Birth and Postpartum Services at C.A.R.E Alliance NW in Spokane, WA

Helen Martin at Born Ready LLC, postpartum doula in the Seattle area (I interviewed Helen for this post about elimination communication).

Courtney Pegram at Small Beginnings Photography and Birth Services, birth doula in the Spokane area (Courtney took these photos.)

Morgan Brooks birth and bereavement doula in Spokane, WA

Esther Edith doula and photographer in Spokane, WA

Over the Moon Birthing in Spokane

Natalie Bee Photography birth doula, postpartum doula

What I am most looking forward to with baby #2 Guest post

What I'm excited about baby #2

Lisa from Naptime Chai is featured today writing about her excitement for the arrival of her second child. Soon she will have a newborn and toddler to care for. I’m excited for her get to watch her toddler become a sibling and for her whole family to fall in love with this new baby.

What I am most looking forward to with baby #2

What I'm excited about baby #2

Originally, I thought I wanted kids that were close in age. 18 months apart, to be exact. I had it all planned out, as people often do before they actually become parents.

Actually, I thought I would have kids close in age even after Clara was born… but that changed as soon as she became mobile. Then I realized that having two toddlers sounded really, really awful.

And right when I had this realization is when I got pregnant for the second time. God has quite the sense of humor!

So, now I’m expecting kids 21 months apart and, if I’m being honest, I’ve managed to live in a steady state of denial so far. I did the same with my first baby, though, so baby #2 shouldn’t take it personally. I’m trying my hardest to enjoy pregnancy and to not think too far into the future, since I have absolutely no idea what we’ve gotten ourselves into and trying to envision what life might be like will only bring unrealistic expectations. At least that’s my view on it.

But, even though it wasn’t necessarily in my plans to have two babies so close together, I couldn’t be more excited about our expanding family, and I say that with my whole heart. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew that God’s plan was bigger than my own, and I felt an instant sense of peace. I can handle this, because it’s His will for me and our family.

Here’s what I’m most excited for this time around:

– Clara becoming a big sister. Clara is obsessed with babies. She cannot handle a baby being in the room if she’s not within inches of him/her. She carries her baby dolls around everywhere and continuously tells me that they need to eat or have a diaper change. (It’s very frustrating that I need to change her doll’s diaper more than hers, but such is life.) I actually don’t know where she got this nurturing instinct, but it is so sweet and I cannot wait to see her in action. Although, I know it’s going to be exhausting because she is very bossy when it comes to how to care for a baby!

– Finding out whether Baby Beni is a boy or a girl. We don’t know the gender, and I’m excited for the big moment!

– Experiencing labor and delivery. Weird that I’m excited for this, right?! We had a terrible time at Clara’s birth, and I’m hoping Baby Beni’s birth is a redemptive story, of sorts. I would love to have a natural birth experience, but I’m open-minded that anything can happen.

– Watching my husband (Tim) with two babies. I am fortunate enough to be married to a man who loves babies. He was so excited to become a dad the first time and he’s extra-excited this time, now that he knows what to expect! I know that our marriage is going to go through some rough patches in the adjustment, but I have no doubt that he will be the most devoted dad to our two little ones.

– Snuggling a newborn. I’m one of those women who love newborns. I love everything about them. I loved Clara’s entire newborn stage. I realize it’s going to be a different experience now that I won’t be able to lounge around all day with a newborn (it turns out that toddlers have a lot of demands), but I’m so excited to snuggle a little body to sleep.

– Introducing another baby to our family and friends. It’s always so special to see my loved ones instantly fall in love with a new little person. It makes my heart melt just thinking about it. Isn’t it awesome how we all have such an infinite capacity of love, and meeting a new person just creates more room in our heart?

– Beginning a new chapter. I fully embrace life changes and transitions, and my life has been full of them lately! in 2012 I got engaged and married and moved to a new apartment, in 2013 I got a new job and got pregnant, in 2014 I had a baby, in 2015 we moved across the country, and in 2016 we’re having another baby! I’m ready for this new chapter to begin, and to see where we’ll go from here.

Even though this baby isn’t coming at my most ideal time, and I’m a little worried about my ability to handle a newborn and a toddler and eventually two toddlers, I’m also excited for everything that is to come. Our friends who have kids with similar age differences have admitted that the first few months are hard, but that it does get a lot easier. And then way further down the line, everyone has said that it’s really nice when the kids start playing together. It is my biggest hope that our family only grows closer with this new person in it.

Do you have kids that are close in age?! I would love to connect with you at my blog or through social media!

 

Lisa Benroeck bio photoLisa is a lifestyle blogger at ‘Naptime Chai’, where she writes about embracing life and its simple moments from one naptime to the next! She loves writing about a little bit of everything, but the topics closest to her heart are marriage, pregnancy, and motherhood. Through her writing, she hopes to encourage other women and mothers in whatever stage of life they’re in. She resides in the PNW with her laid-back husband, a very-fast-moving toddler, a high-strung dog, and the soon-to-be newest member of the family who is due to arrive in April!

You can connect with Lisa via her blog, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Related Posts from The Motherhood Journey

Project Lead Kindly: Help Homeless Moms

bloggers leading kindly
I am passionate about helping moms especially those facing a crisis pregnancy. Recently, another blogger asked for help with this project and I enthusiastically volunteered because this project fits so well with The Motherhood Journey’s mission. It is so important that these mothers receive the help that they need.
Project Lead Kindly is based in California but there are shelters and maternity homes that serve pregnant women across the country. I have compiled a list of  housing resources you can view here. Check out Project Lead Kindly and see how you can participate below.
As bloggers, we use a lot of words. We have realized that WORDS are POWERFUL and we have decided to use our words for good and spread a message about a great cause…
Today, I wanted to introduce you to Project Lead Kindly and their 2016 Pregnancy Shelter Hop.

Project Lead Kindly is a nonprofit organization that assists mothers & children affected by domestic violence and homelessness. They are also on a mission to encourage, inspire, and remind everyone that we ALL have the potential to serve & “lead kindly,” no matter our circumstances. Each year, Project Lead Kindly provides a BIG service project to the community. Last year, they organized a children’s book drive.This year, we are raising money for Project Lead Kindly’s 2016 Pregnancy Shelter Hop. We will be assisting 5 different shelters throughout California that house homeless, pregnant mothers and their children. We will be donating newborn necessities to:Harvest Home, Precious Life Shelter, Casa Teresa, Angels Way Maternity Home, and Elizabeth House. We will also be throwing two events to assist the mothers serviced by Elizabeth House & Angels Way Maternity Home.

How you can help!

While the events are local to California, we wanted to find some way for the amazingly supportive online community to help out! We’ve set up a GoFundMe with a goal to raise $1000 for Project Lead Kindly:
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All funds donated will go to Project Lead Kindly & help:

1) provide these necessary items for the mothers & their babies at all 5 shelters,
2) throw the events for the mothers from Elizabeth House & Angels Way,
3) help spread the Lead Kindly message (the reminder that ALL have the potential to do good and to be an example to others, no matter what trials they face) to these women who need to be encouraged & reminded of their worth & potential and that they are cared for!

Please consider donating even $1 to the cause. Every little bit helps. In addition to donating, if you want to share the cause with us, please:
1) take the image below
2) share it in your own blog post and social media

3) encourage others to join our initiative & donate!

You can also email projectleadkindly@gmail.com your blog post link so they can share it with others!

And if you don’t have a blog, but simply want to share the cause, we encourage you to take the image & share it on social media! We have a goal of $1000, and if we all use our words together, we can reach it!
We also wanted to include a fun giveaway as a thank you for your support! This giveaway is sponsored by the bloggers and not Project Lead Kindly directly.
bloggers leading kindly

The prizes:

Raewyn will be giving away a $25 Starbucks gift card and ad space on Be a Warrior Queen.
Pam will be offering ad space on Hodge Podge Moments
Emilie and Laura will be offering ad space on Burke Does

Check out our giveaway hosts:

How to enter:


Any little bit helps! If you want to find out more information about Project Lead Kindly, visit www.projectleadkindly.com

Thank you so much for leading kindly with us!