Becoming a Doula - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 02-04-2010, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi!

I am currently working on my doula certification (through CBI) and would like to hear from the childbirth professionals on this board:

- what do you love about being a doula/CBE?
- is there anything you don't like or did not expect?
- what tips would you give a doula starting out? (methods for helping women through labor, communication tips, etc...)

I am already getting a lot of this through the education and reading materials, but I would love to hear directly from others.

Thanks for the feedback!
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#2 of 7 Old 02-06-2010, 01:20 AM
 
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In the same boat. Subbing.

Single Mama to Vincent 3/30/09
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#3 of 7 Old 02-06-2010, 01:58 AM
 
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I love what you'd expect to love about being a doula, helping mamas have great births and seeing how happy they are when their babies arrive. It's a pretty amazing thing and I still get teary eyed at every birth.

THe hardest part of it for me is when the parents have to fight for what they want in a normal birth situation with no complications. I think part of advocating for parents is not to fight their battles for them but to inspire confidence in them to speak for themselves because it means more coming from the parents. It's a fine line and sometimes it is hard not to want to just jump in and say what I think should happen.

I think the best piece of advice ever given to me and the one I'd pass on is to listen. Listen to your clients, let them speak, hear them, understand them. Respect their wishes and support their wants.

As for methods to help in labor, learn all the comfort measures and keep them handy in your mind but also be creative, you never know what might work for someone. Pay attention to the mom and her needs, let her lead and set the tone and set her rhythm for her labor. She is the most capable of doing it and then you can join in with her rhythm to provide comfort measures. It may be something as small as an encouraging smile or holding her hand or telling her she's doing great or it may mean complete hands on massaging or counter pressure that doesn't stop even in between contractions. I think sometimes providing support in labor is intuitive and sometimes it is a matter of paying attention.

Good luck! You will find your way just trust the mamas!

Amy, Army wife living in S. Korea, mama to my inverted t c/s baby 04.05.08 and my VBAC with inverted t baby 07.24.10
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#4 of 7 Old 02-06-2010, 11:58 AM
 
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I am still on the path to being certified but I have operated in this capacity for close friends and my sister for 3 years now.

What I love:

-providing information so that the mama can learn more and make decisions that she feels is best for her and her family.

-watching their supreme feelings of accomplishment when they realize how HARD labor and delivery really is and they have just done an amazing thing!

-being around to welcome a new person in to the world.

-being an advocate to help the nurses and docs stay on the mama's birth plan.

What's hard:

-the degree of emotional strength and reserve that you need in order to give to the mama.

-the physical strength that you need if it becomes a long labor.

-putting your desires aside if the mama decides that medical interventions are best for her.

Tips for helping mamas:

-Figure out her rhythm and help her stick to it when things start getting tough.

-Help her honor her decisions that she made before she went into labor.

-Make short goals to meet i.e. "let's do 4 more contractions and then we'll go to the bathroom." "After you are done with the bathroom, we're going to walk to the end of the hall and come back." "In 15 minutes, the nurse is going to come in to listen to the baby." This will help the mama a lot but it will also help you if you are in the middle of a long labor. I just helped a mama through a 23 hr labor w/4 hrs of pushing and we definitely needed the time chunked up.

-Offer things and if she doesn't like/want it she will tell you. Don't ask her and expect her to make a decision. For instance, just offer her a cup of ice water in between contractions instead of asking her if she wants water first.

Read the Birth Partner by Penny Simkin.

Hope this all helps!

Annie wife v2.0 to DH and joyfully parenting DSS 18 jog.gif, DSD 15 knit.gif, DSD 14 banana.gif, DSS 12bikenew.gifand heart hero DD 2superhero.gif. angel1.gif 8/2010

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#5 of 7 Old 02-06-2010, 02:33 PM
 
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What I love most is infusing women with confidence in their body. I love meeting a woman who has asked me to be her doula, who is maybe scared, or unsure, or untrusting of the process of birth, and helping her to transform herself. i love seeing the momment where she realizes that she can do it! Or when I look at her to realize that she may still be nervous, but there is a sparkle of excitement in her eye too! I love being the person who really believes in her, and seeing this in her doula can give her strength to do what she needs to do.

What I find hard: I find being diplomatic in the hospital hard sometimes. I really am very sweet and kind and lovely to the medical staff. I try very hard to listen to them to let then know I value their knowledge and respect their job. I appreciate them. BUT sometimes this is super hard. many times I do not agree with their assessment, or their values of what a birth "should" look like or their hospital procedure. Sometimes I feel like yelling "no fair!! hey!! seriously, this sucks!! (or worse!)" But I don't , because for one I am not a doctor with a medical degree, and also, bringing that anger into the hospital room does not do anyone any good, and three, if I make all the staff my mortal enmy, they will make it very hard and uncomfortable for me to be there, and if i can not comfortably be there, I can not help my ladies! Sometimes this gets hard.

Advice: Learn how to take care of yourself! It is very important. Learn what and when you need to eat, and what yoru stragety will be for getting this food to your mouth if you can't leave your momma. I eat a lot of soda crackers, because i find i need carbs or I feel neausous, and I can shove one into my mouth between ctx. Or cut a protien bar into little cubes! Learn how to cat nap, learn when you are at your limits and need to take 10 min to yourself... find a way to do it. Can you call in another doula for 1/2 an hour? Can the moms sister or husband hold things together for a few? Sometimes this 10 min will allow you to be a great doula for the next 10 hours!

Also, allow yourself to be inexperienced. Don't expect yourself to be the same as the doula with 10 years under her belt. Accept that you will always do teh best you can do, keep learning and pushing yourself and growing. But let yourself be where you are now. Forgive yourself for saying "I don't know, let me find out" And believe that even a young doula, even with limitations on her skill set and knowledge base, can still provide wonderful support. You always have your heart and your kindness and your intuition!
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#6 of 7 Old 02-06-2010, 04:59 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ferndoula View Post
Also, allow yourself to be inexperienced. Don't expect yourself to be the same as the doula with 10 years under her belt. Accept that you will always do teh best you can do, keep learning and pushing yourself and growing. But let yourself be where you are now. Forgive yourself for saying "I don't know, let me find out" And believe that even a young doula, even with limitations on her skill set and knowledge base, can still provide wonderful support. You always have your heart and your kindness and your intuition!
This is great advice! Welcome to MDC, btw.

Trying to balance a preschooler and peace....
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#7 of 7 Old 02-08-2010, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is all great!

I am so excited about the prospect of doing something worthwhile. I've been in a corporate job for so long, I welcome the frustrations that may/will come with being a doula.

Keep the advice coming!
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