“It was SO different the second time around”
Updated: Aug 26, 2019
I am beginning to pick up on this phrase the more I immerse myself in birth and postpartum work.
Last week, I supported the sweetest little family in bringing their strong, beautiful babe earthside. After baby arrived, Dad was talking to our Midwife, and spoke these title words, and I stopped and asked him “what made your experience so dramatically different the second time around?” Here is what he said…
"From the moment you entered the birth space, it just felt so chill. Your soft voice. Your calming presence. The LED candles and music you used which really helped to create the most mellow vibe. Last time we were in the hospital and it was all bright lights and scary sounds.
And our birth team. The support we received from everyone made us feel so safe. So heard. And well taken care of. Every single need was met. And communication was spot on amongst everyone- overall it just felt really peaceful, and so empowering- such a different experience than with our first baby. Now I understand why so many of our friends told us to hire a Doula…”
There is serious, evidence based research on having a Doula present at birth. I could go on for days about the evidence. If you are getting ready to welcome your first babe, or if this is your second or third time around (or fourth or fifth), I encourage you to research local Doula support.
Start with birth support. Connect with several Doulas. You are looking for the person you feel the most drawn to and connected with. Doulas vary so much in personality and methodology, so when you find your person, you will know.
Once you begin your work together, your Doula will be your go-to during pregnancy for questions, worries, community resources, and referrals as needed. They are literally your walking dictionary when it comes to everything pregnancy and birth.
During labor, the beauty of having a Doula is that they provide uninterrupted support. You are never for one minute left alone. If your Doula needs to step out they will ensure someone is there to take over for them. This being said, we are also mindful not to overstep. We are your space holders, and we must be conscious of the energy in the room at all times. If you are needing space with your partner we are able to read and honor this too. We can also assist in guiding your partner towards the best positions and techniques in supporting you if needed. Essentially, we help you guys do the crazy ass birth dance together.
Within the work you do together in the birth space, your Doula will guide you through helpful position changing, pain management, massage, aromatherapy for relaxation, and guided meditation, among many other things. Upon entering the room, your Doula can help create the chillest of spaces to help soften the intensive work it takes to bring your baby into the world.
Essentially, Doulas are your greatest support from the neck up. It is outside of our scope to perform anything medical, from cervical checks to taking your temperature. Our primary focus is to empower you, to help you build trust in your body, and to mindfully guide you through each and every wave that we ride right alongside you.
Your Doula will stay with you 1-2 hours post birth to help with breastfeeding, or bottle feeding, and make sure you have a good meal, enough blankets and pillows, and are settled in for rest with baby.
We visit one week after baby is born to check in and make sure your transition into new parenthood is going smoothly. Your Doula can help tremendously with this transition by providing evidence based verbal guidance, resources, and referrals if needed. The postpartum period comes with its own set of unique challenges, and in my opinion is not talked about enough in our culture. If you are needing postpartum support, daytime or nighttime, a lot of Birth Doulas are certified in this area as well, so be mindful of this while you are doing your research.
I hope this is helpful to you on your journey- postpartum support isn’t always a necessity, but if I could have one single wish, it would be for every birthing person to have the gift of a Doula supported birth. It makes such a difference, and you and your family are so deserving of this sacred type of care.