The first question I get after, "What excatly does a doula do?", is "How will a doula help me and my family?" I shiver when I have to answer this question because I feel like even upon our first meeting I can't answer that question with a solid answer, and the pressure for that "right" answer is suffocating.
I figured this blog post would shed some light on how I, as a doula, have supported past families. First off let me start by saying that I feel there is no textbook answer on how I will help you and your family. It is such a fluid ever changing answer because I tailor techniques to meet each families needs that some times aren't planned. I have supported clients undergoing inductions that needed encouragement and information, and thats what THEY needed (in their prenatal meeting we would have never guessed that but we did prepare for it). I have supported clients that thought they wanted a lot of hands on, so we practiced technique after technique, and in the end they wanted nothing hands on. They wanted to labor in the quiet, not being touched, and I helped them by watching and making suggestions on how to change positions to labor and birth more efficently. I have also helped clients by only being that voice in their ear giving them every affirmation I could muster to keep giving them strenght to meet their goals. Some clients wanted to achieve a natural birth, and when that wasnt a possibilty, I help them with providing a family centered ceaseran section.
So, when you meet with your prospective doula for your prenatal meeting, and you want to know, how will she help you...She should give you examples and theories, but know that labor and birth don't always go as planned and the key to a great doula is that she has many skills and ideas to help you and your families work through your birth plan!