Finding the Right Doula Can Change Your Life
I have connected with several families recently, who all have a very similar story. Their sister, cousin, teacher or friend had the support of a Doula through their birth and postpartum journies, and every person stated that it was “seriously THE best decision we could have ever made for our family."
Research tells us that parents remember their birth experience for their entire life, right down to the most intimate details. And what happens on this journey can have a significant impact on self-esteem, confidence, and parenting. It's not as much about what interventions someone does or doesn't have, but it is how they were treated. Were they respected? Did they have a voice, and ability to make their own thoughtful decisions — and did they even know that was possible?
Studies show that at least 9 percent of women in the United States experience diagnosable PTSD after their birth, and even more have post-traumatic stress symptoms. This doesn't have to be. Birth Doulas can transform every experience into one that feels safe, loving, and 100% supported. I get so upset when I hear parents say, "I didn't know I had the choice." With a Doula whom you have built trust and feel deeply connected to, you will never find yourself in this position. You have every right to make your own decisions, and we can help you with this. Your birth, your baby, your voice. Whether I am encouraging families to communicate with their doctor or midwife, filling them in on options they aren’t yet aware of, or helping them find their way as new parents, I have absolutely no agenda. I lift you up to make important choices, because they belong to you.
In the U.S., we can do a much better job of supporting new parents. Humans are meant to have a village around them after having a baby. In cultures over time, new mothers have been nurtured and supported in the days, weeks and months after they give birth. People come with food, they care for the older children, help with breastfeeding, and make sure the new family gets plenty of rest. We need to heal after birth. We're learning how to parent either for the first time, or with the new twist of a busy toddler and a newborn. We need time, space, encouragement and suggestions for bonding. We need healthy, nourishing food, rest, and ideas for self care. We need to find our own way, and our own voice. Most Americans sadly don't have this kind of postpartum experience. We send people home to their isolated little boxes and tell them to read books and figure it out. But too many parents suffer through those early months, and Doulas feel strongly that it can be totally different. We help parents savor the fourth trimester with their babies, instead of just surviving it. Educating and watching Seattle families transform and thrive in the early months of parenthood is what sets my soul on fire more than anything else.
A Doula’s education and research is ongoing, and never done. We have an evolving, vast amount of knowledge, hands-on training, and deep rooted wisdom in childbirth, adjusting to life as a new family, and learning how to mindfully care for your new baby. Doulas are the experts in these areas, among others. I revel in sharing evidence-based information because I can see, across all of my work, what an impact it makes on each family’s unique experience. Actually, it can be life changing.