I’ve worked in this field long enough that I can recite my spiel about the work I do in my sleep. I understand the ins and outs of this job and I connect with the deeper meaning of what it is we do as doulas. I see the transformation of the families I work with and I witness clients pull a strength out of them that surprises even themselves and their partners.
But what is a doula? What does a doula do? What doesn’t a doula do?
Let’s play a fun little game of comparison with a field of work you may be all too familiar with.
The fabulous realtor. She works closely with a person/family to find the perfect home for them and helps them navigate that process. Let’s establish what she’s not: she’s not the builder. She’s not the inspector. She’s not the mortgage company. She doesn’t tell you what kind of house you have to have. She doesn’t decide on what house you’ll ultimately buy.
She works with you to help you set goals. What kind of home do you want? What size? Location? What are your must haves? What can you sacrifice? How do you want to feel in the space? She spends time connecting with you and establishing the big picture.
She’ll help show you the steps to finding those homes. She might even put together a fun algorithm in a program so you get emails with the homes that match those criteria. She’ll walk with you through each home and ask you questions about how you feel, what you like, what you don’t. She understands more deeply what it is you want with each house you see.
She helps you access resources. Need an inspector? Need a contractor? What about that window guy? She’s knows what’s what in your area and can point you to the most relevant resources.
She understand the process. What contract needs to be submitted by when? What inspection date? Oh right, the mortgage! What wording might work best in this paragraph to help us get what we want in the offer process? What the hell does that phrase mean in the counter offer? She translates the jargon of the industry. And if all hell breaks loose, she’s the calm in the storm, guiding you like a lighthouse in the stormy sea.
And she walks with you every step of the way. Providing informational and emotional support. Could you buy a home without a realtor? Sure. But you’re in for quite the complex journey that can be difficult to navigate when you aren’t familiar with the process like they are.
And now you understand the role of a doula.
The doula is not your doctor. She’s not your nurse. She’s not your partner or your mother-in-law. She doesn’t decide what kind of birth experience you want or make decisions for you along the way. She’s an expert in options and showing you what’s available to you.
She helps you set goals and asks what you want out of the birth and postpartum experience. She gets to deeply know your family & establish the big picture. She walks you through how to achieve those goals through various comfort measures or techniques that will hopefully get you one step closer to the experience you want. She knows all the resources in your area (OB/GYNs, hospitals, Pediatricians, chiropractors, boutiques and all their products, parenting groups, therapists, etc).
And she knows the process. She understands the policies and procedures for the various hospitals. She has wonderful relationships with your medical team. She answers your questions about what early labor looks like, or when to head to the hospital, or what to expect when you lose your mucus plug, or asks for you to demonstrate, once again, how to get that perfect swaddle on her precious baby. She understand the ins and outs of labor and the postpartum experience.
And when all hell breaks loose and you’re scared and don’t know what to do….she’s that calm within the storm.
Your doula walks with you every step of the way. Could you deliver or raise baby without one? Sure. But you’re in for quite the complex journey. There’s nothing more comforting than knowing you have expertise and guidance from a professional who is in tune with you and the process you’re going through.
Authored by: Lacey Bauer