calling all doulas! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 12-30-2010, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello! I am attending a friends birth any day now! I am really excited as I love the birth process, but I have never been to a birth aside from my own two nor do I have training as a doula. I was just wondering what your tips are and suggestions for ways that I can be most helpful.

 

TIA!

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#2 of 6 Old 12-30-2010, 11:23 AM
 
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My biggest tip is to remember that this is her birth and to try hard not to compare your births or how you labored and birthed with how she is doing it.  Also just really be present for her - meaning don't use it as social hour.  I can't tell you how many births I have attended as a doula where the family and friends sat and talked the entire time while mom labored more or less on her own - it really felt like everyone was there for the "show" only.  It is so sad when there is a room full of people, but the mother is still alone.  

 

Good luck.


Michelle married to my highschool sweetheart and mom to: DD '88, DS '90, DD '91, DD '94, DD '97, DD '98, DD '01, DD '08, and DS'09

(Non-profit Organization Director and Program Coordinator / Doula / Educator / Massage Therapist)

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#3 of 6 Old 01-01-2011, 07:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks so much! great advice! keep it coming!

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#4 of 6 Old 01-01-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momto9kidlets View Post

My biggest tip is to remember that this is her birth and to try hard not to compare your births or how you labored and birthed with how she is doing it.  Also just really be present for her - meaning don't use it as social hour.  I can't tell you how many births I have attended as a doula where the family and friends sat and talked the entire time while mom labored more or less on her own - it really felt like everyone was there for the "show" only.  It is so sad when there is a room full of people, but the mother is still alone.  

 

Good luck.


I totally agree with this statement. As a doula, I have seen this too. Just being present and available is a huge deal to a woman in labor.
Will there be a doula at this birth? What is your role supposed to be? I would talk to this friend and ask her that question.This will help you know what you should do and how you should act. 

 

Understand general relaxation techniques such as cleansing breath, various positions, etc. Be ready to encourage and hand-hold, and look for little opportunities to help.

 

As a doula, you have to gauge everything and observe everything in order to know what the appropriate response would be to different situations. Remaining calm and keeping a light atmosphere as much as you can is important sometimes, but other times, a mom just needs you to go into that deep place she's in and just be there with her. Just be prepared to experience every emotion there with her, and be open to doing whatever needs to be done.

 

I hope the birth is wonderful! Hope this helped!

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#5 of 6 Old 01-02-2011, 12:24 AM
 
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Follow your intuition! You'll know exactly where and what and how. Bring some knitting or a good book and prepare to spend some time alone while the couple connect. Many of my births have been spent observing while the father attended to her every need. I was merely there to encourage him and to bring a calm presence. Lots of nodding and smiling and quite whispers of "that's the way". Your intuition will guide you in knowing when to leave their space and when to come back. Don't worry about doula training. The knowledge used as a doula will grow with each birth. No training or books can compare to the actual experience. Keep it simple for now.

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#6 of 6 Old 01-06-2011, 06:56 AM
 
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Congratulations - what an exciting opportunity!!! I agree with the other posts, and here are my two cents. Don't underestimate the value of your continuous presence...even if you're not "doing" anything. Some births I "do" alot for the family, and others it's more holding the space for them and offering reassurance. Take a deep breathe before you walk into their house when she's in labor - you need to be the one bringing the calm into their birth (since many times, esp. if it's a first baby, they may be feeling a little frantic). Introduce yourself to the staff if it's a hospital birth, and let them know you are a friend who is playing the doula role for the mom/partner. If you have time, read The Birth Partner (Penny Simpkin) for a crash course in labor support. And lastly, don't doubt yourself just because you've never seen a birth other than your own...there's a reason your friend wants you there with her :)

 

~Jenn (birth doula)

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