Do you know? This is a question I get a lot in my personal life when I meet new people.
The simple definition put out by my certifying agency, ProDoula is:
“A trained person without emotional attachment to the family, offering supportive services in an unbiased, nonjudgmental way. This is done in exchange for a fee that is equivalent to the time, energy, commitment and sacrifice they make.”
Fairly simple right? But what do I DO?
One of the best explanations I’ve seen came from a non doula, on a facebook thread.
“It’s like the difference between a teacher and a school counselor. The midwife (teacher) oversees the whole operation, tells you what to do and how and when, to get the work done and make sure nothing goes awry. And the doula (counselor) hears your problems (or sees them) and offers you coping mechanisms, or helps you know what’s coming and how to prepare for it; they also want to see the work done right, but with their focus on your well-being and comfort and self-assuredness during the process. I’ve always thought, like, the midwife is more clinical with the focus on the physical of the task at hand, and the doula is working with the mind and soul side of things, as it connects to what the body is doing…” Nikki Birk
I love this analogy, because not everyone needs or wants to see the school counselor, but they’re always out there to be of service, whether you’re in kindergarten or college. You can decide at any time when you need that extra support, or not at all.
Doulas are the guide that some people choose to access at any point during their baby planning, gestation, or postpartum period.
Doulas support you in your decisions.
At every step your doula educates by showing you your options.
Doulas physically and mentally support you, by working alongside of you and your partner, taking on a bit of the work so that you are not overwhelmed.
Using physical and emotional, nonjudgmental support, your emotional needs are met in a way that friends and family, who are emotionally attached to you may find difficult.
Your doula does not have expectations about the way you birth or parent your child.
Your doula has no preconceived notions about how you SHOULD do anything.
You take the lead in all decisions.
Your doula guides you when asked.
Your doula’s primary goal is your comfort and confidence in yourself throughout the entire process.
Your doula is here for you.