As doulas, what we bring to our client's births changes constantly.
Every doula has their own little (or not so little) bag of supplies they bring with them. We often refer to them as our "birth bags" and they may have any number of things in them, like:
- the birthing person's information and birth plan
- oils for massage or aromatherapy
- cloth for wrapping bellies or hips
- tools for massage and counter pressure
- a book or two with additional information about birth and comfort measures
- a change of clothes
- snacks and water
- lip balm
Every doula has their own favourite tools and techniques and, as you can see from the list, there is as much in our bag for you and there is for us because supporting someone through labour and birth is physically and emotionally tiring work.
Doulas bring so much more.
Much more important than the tools and supplies you will find in our birth bags is what a doula REALLY brings to your birth. Experience, an evolving understanding of bodies in labour, a belief in your ability to bring a baby into the world, and a familiarity with the different choices and options you may come to along the way are individual to each doula. We learn from every experience, book, training, and challenge.
Your doula can be an interpreter.
As doulas, we work alongside midwives, nurses, and OBGYNs all the time. We come to know them and the language they use. Ideally, we have a relationship with them that allows us to ask questions and learn from their perspective. A doula cannot speak for you, but we can help prompt you in asking questions that will further the conversation between you and your care provider.
Your doula can be your rock.
Giving birth is without question an intense experience - physically and emotionally. This is true not just for the person giving birth but for their partner and family, too. Perhaps the biggest obstacle during labour is fear and doubt. They creep in because whether this birth is your first or your third, the way it unfolds in unknown. As a doula, we can ground you. When you are working hard, swaying, moaning, and turning inward it is not at all uncommon for your partner or family to look to us, your doula, for a sign that this is "normal" and that all is well. It is our job to be steady and confident and because we have seen birth many times, we are.
Your doula can be your wind.
Sometimes, as a doula it is our job to push you towards your goals. When you are tired or doubting yourself, we are there to remind you of your hopes for birth and how you planned to make it happen. We will keep you moving, suggesting position changes, offering comfort and pain relief with our hands and words. We work with your partner and together, we do our best to fill you back up so that you can regain your rhythm and have the birth you hoped for. Sometimes, a doula's job is to shake things up a little!
Your doula can help you have a positive and empowered birth.
Whether your birth unfolds as planned or circumstances lead you to make different choices, your doula is there with you. There is no expectation about birth coming from us - what is most important to us is that when your baby is born and you reflect back on your birth you feel that it was YOUR birth. For a doula, that is a sure sign that we were a valuable member of your team.