I had the honor to attend and support a couple who are dear friends of ours as they welcomed their first child into the world last night. I am continually amazed and in awe at the wonder of our creation(the human body, spirit, mind) by our Creator Himself, our Father God, as I see a mere mortal bring new life into these tiny hospital rooms. Not to discredit the male species in any way, but man, a WOMAN's body is the benchmark in excellent craftsmanship from THE Creator. The strength, will, stamina, bending-without-breaking quality that I have witnessed during these births by these laboring mothers has left me speechless (in fact I 'm having trouble putting my experiences into words presently).
I got to thinking today about what a "doula" does/is. Of course I can give the scripted answer about how we provide continuous emotional, physical and informational support to the laboring woman and her partner. BUT, there is SO MUCH MORE to it.
I guess you could say the the doula is the "jack of all trades" (or in my case the "jill of all trades!). I thought I would compile a modest list of some of the ways in which I personally have served some of my doula clients. This is not a "brag list" of accomplishments or skills that I have, just a mere description about ways in which a doula can serve (that you probably never knew!):
Here are the "skills" (every time I talk about my "skills", I can't help but think of the movie "Napoleon Dynamite", although as a disclaimer, I do NOT have nun chuck skills!):
- ability to enter a most-personal setting and yet, not become an "intruder"
- tying a woman's hair back as she is contracting, at times taking out your own ponytail and giving her your hair band
- ice cup-filler and spooner
- holding a cold cloth on a forehead, neck, back or anywhere else that is overheated
- stabilizing a birthing ball with your legs/knees
- massaging a neck, back, arm, foot or leg
- getting face-to-face with a woman and telling her that she is safe, that she is not alone and that she is so strong
- ability to contort your body to fit in between bed rails, IV poles, monitors and stools in order to be physically close to the woman
- squeeze a woman's hips with all your might to alleviate back pressure
- gently suggest position changes to the woman without being irritating or bossy
- be able to support WHATEVER decision that couple makes about their birth or baby, regardless if it is what YOU have chosen for your family
- hold food and offer it to your client bite for bite
- help a woman learn to cradle and nurse her baby and tell her that she will learn the art of breastfeeding
- take photos of baby, mother and father
- put your own needs on hold and remain with that couple continuously until the birth of their baby