My husband is a Kiwi, and we live in the U.S. I work as a birth doula, and my husband's family has commented several times that doulas are not really available in New Zealand. We would love to move back there in the next few years, and I am very curious about what the birth culture is, and whether doulas are available?
I am a NW Washington native living in Williston, ND, where I have been since 2005. My hubby and I have six children (his, hers, ours), are foster parents, and run two businesses from home, including www.cyberdoulas.com -- the birth doula business that is changing my life!
Hey BriasMommy! I'm a kiwi, married to a Canadian and we moved back to NZ a year ago after spending 3 years in Vancouver. I worked as a birth doula while I was in BC, and quite a few people I knew in NZ had mentioned similar things to me which I initially brushed off thinking that maybe they didn't really know since they weren't involved in the birth community, etc. However, now that I'm home I've realised it really is true! I know of only two or three doulas working in NZ as a whole, it's pretty crazy.
So, since I'm a teacher by training, my husband didn't have a work visa and we're in a bit of debt from our move I've gone back to teaching for now but am really interested in getting back to birth work. I think the thing with NZ is that we actually have fairly progressive maternity care and our midwives are really well respected, homebirths aren't totally on the fringe, etc....so because of that it's almost as if people don't see the need for extra support like women in North America might, if that makes sense? Of course I think a doula is beneficial no matter what, but when you bring it up here often the response is - 'But, I've already got a midwife' or 'Well, I can just have my mum or sister at my birth to do that'. The kiwi mentality is also very much one of not wanting to put anyone else out or be a burden in anyway, and combined with being pretty laid back I think lots of women don't see the point in having a doula or feel like they'd need one/could ask someone to do it.
That being said, the NZ Homebirth Association is pretty great here, super supportive, so I'm hoping to get to know my local chapter a bit better and see if that can help with spreading the word. It's actually a bit exciting being potentially at the beginning of people knowing about doulas and beginning to use them, so even though I'll be teaching this year I'm really hoping to start getting the word out and promoting doulas. It does feel a bit overwhelming though being on my own!
Hopefully this has been helpful, please let me know if there's anything more you'd like to know or if you just want to chat about it more :)
Doula, teacher, designer, maker. Living above the mangroves, looking out over the water in beautiful Aotearoa with my husband, our dear friends and a little grey cat.
I'm an American, and we moved to NZ last year for my husband to do a 1yr stint. I got a work visa as well, hoping to work as a doula here and...was sad to find out they pretty much don't exist.
I think the main reason is that birth here is SO VASTLY DIFFERENT from birth in the US. Here, midwives are the standard of care. I would guess that less than 10% of women see an OB...you ONLY see one if you are high risk or need a c/s. Here, OB's are specialists, not generalists like they are in the US. 7% or so of women have homebirths, so while they aren't totally commonplace, with a population this small, you can bet just about everyone knows someone who has had one, so they aren't "weird" or "out there" like they are in the US. Also, hospital births here are really more of what we'd think of as FSBC births in the US. They are midwife attended, they encourage you to eat, drink, move around...the hospital in our town even encourages women to do waterbirth (or at least labor in the tub). It's a truely amazing system compared to what I came out of in the US.
So all that to say...don't count on working as a doula here. :( sorry!
Vallere - Daugher of YHWH, Wife to Dr. Adventure, and Mama to DS(5), DS(3), DD & DD(1)
about our move to New Zealand!
Actually, I think doulas are just starting to grow in popularity here. I'm interested in connecting with other doulas in NZ - esp with World Doula Week coming up in a fortnight - maybe we can network and raise some awareness of our existence while we're at it?
Hi weegee !
I am working as a doula in the south Island of Aotearoa, and its somewhat a lonely job!
I believe I am the only birth and postnatal doula in the nelson region and as far as i know there are maybe 4 others scattered around the south Island. I have been trying to offer my doula services for free here, but no luck in even that as yet!!
However I have had one paid birth doula job in the last year and am currently employed as a postnatal doula!
I do feel the awareness of doulas is growing here yet us NZ doulas need to get together !!
Check out www.doula.org.nz
It has just got up and running for us NZ doulas to join forces in getting the word out there!!
I´m looking into training here in Aotearoa to become a Doula. I have done some research and have found that Birthworks http://www.birthworks.org/site/ has a course and childbirth international http://www.childbirthinternational.com/birth_doula/main.htm that have trained kiwi doulas. I´m based in Auckland, I see that there is a birthworks Doula workshop happening in November through http://www.joyfulchildbirth.co.nz/ and that sounds great as does there whole course, however i´m also quite impressed by the prospectus of the childbirth international course! I´m drawn to the inclusion of the spiritual side of the birthworks however i´m just as drawn to the practical side of childbirth international!!!!
Does any body have some advice for me??
Hi Stefi, I realise you may have already given birth (!) but I'm a doula in Kaikoura and am happy to travel up to Blenheim if you're still looking for someone :) I'm newly trained so I'm currently working voluntarily. Hope everything's going well for you. Katie
Hi Katie.. no I havent given birth as yet, I am due mid may. Everything is going well, personally I have no complaints. A worried mid wife as my baby is enormous and Im low in iron. Im not worried as I have tonnes of energy. How would it work for you to be my Doula? email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if your keen.
Hi Katie / Nature Within
very keen to connect with either of you. I'm a kiwi married to an American, living part of the year in California and part on d'Urville Island (Marlborough Sounds).
Currently at 27 weeks and (due to a change of circumstances in business), it's looking like we're going to have to head back to NZ to give birth there. I had my whole team here in LA sorted (doula, OB, Maternal Fetal Specialist), and now looks like I'm back to the drawing board this late in the game. I'd love to birth with a doula, but I'll have to be under hospital care as I'm in a high risk category. I'm thinking Nelson rather than Blenheim at this point as I've had a few bad experiences with Wairau hospital.
Would really appreciate having a chat with either of you about this. email@example.com