Doula. It’s an odd word isn’t it? Most often when I tell people I am a doula, I receive a confused look back, or get ‘huh? A jeweller?’ to which I patiently explain who a doula is and what they do (note: I don’t know if also half the time they are confused by my half Canadian/half-Aussie and supposedly half-Irish accent, when they hear me speak this word).
I must say though, since becoming a doula in the last few years, I definitely hear and see the term in more volume – perhaps this is because I am attuned to it, or perhaps our society is finally waking up to the benefits of what having a trained birth support person looks like. Either way, as a doula, it brings me great hope and excitement for the future of our birthing culture, but… there is still a long way to go.
Before I get ahead of myself here, I will give you a brief little ditty on what a doula is. A Birth Doula is a support person for women and their partners in pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period. She provides informational, physical and emotional support for the woman as she transitions towards a pivotal role in her life, motherhood. A doula is there to ‘hold space’ for the woman, protecting her and advocating for her birth choices. While not medically trained, she is well-versed in the medical arena, being able to translate medical information provided by caregivers.