The word “doula” comes from an ancient Greek word and is now used to refer to a woman who helps other women. It has been applied to childbirth to refer to “a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth.” (Klaus, Kennell, and Klaus, in Mothering the Mother).
Every woman deserves another experienced woman to guide her through the rite of passage into motherhood. As a doula, I have no personal philosophy on childbirth; I take on the mother’s philosophy. I empower women to decide what birth choices are best for them and to give birth as they choose. I provide information to assist in decision-making and give total support of the family’s decisions. My role as a doula is to assist women in having the birth experience that they desire and deserve.
A Trained Doula:
- Understands that birth is a life-altering experience that the woman will remember for the rest of her life.
- Is aware that labor and birth are normal physiological processes.
- Is aware that labor and birth are emotional, social, sexual and spiritual life events.
- Understands the emotional needs of the laboring woman.
- Stays with the laboring woman continuously.
- Believes that women are strong and capable.
- Is knowledgeable about the anatomy and physiology of labor and birth.
- Has expertise in comfort measures and coping skills necessary during the birth process.
- Provides an objective viewpoint.
- Can act as a liaison and facilitate communication with other health care professionals.
- Believes the pregnant couples should have trust in their caregivers.
- Helps strengthen the relationship between the mother and her partner.
- Believes that decisions about pregnancy, labor and birth should be made by the pregnant couple with input from their health care professionals.
- Supports the decisions of the mother and her partner.
- Respects the mother’s individuality and uniqueness.
- Trusts mothers and their partners to help them make the best decisions for themselves and their babies.
- Helps create a positive birth memory.