Doulas are those crunchy maternal figures who burn incense and dabble with crystals during an outdoor waterbirth, right? Not any more! If you’re confused about what a doula is, or stuck on a stereotype of their role, I have good news: there is a renaissance happening in the profession. Doulas are beginning to recognize that their worth appeals to mainstream culture, and women are beginning to realize that mental and emotional support during labor and birth is just as important as getting that baby out safely. The marriage of these two ideas is where I come in.
I’m a Birth and Postpartum Doula and Co-Founder of CLEbaby. CLEbaby is a modern, full-service agency providing birth and postpartum doula support, and childbirth education. We want to dispel the misconception that doulas are only for natural, un-medicated births. Doulas are for women who want a supportive birth experience, however they envision it.
So what the heck are these modernized birth doulas, and why would you want one at your birth? If you Google ‘what is a doula’ it will tell you that we are non-medically trained professionals who support women physically, emotionally, and provide information during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. We are not doctors or midwives, but work in conjunction with your care providers. This last part is especially important to us. There are doulas who are antagonists to the medical world, operating on the antiquated idea that birth is “natural or bust.” We are not them. We embrace evidence-based research, recognize that technology in obstetrics is valuable, and work hard to build positive, mutually respectful relationships with OBs and midwives.
On a personal level, doulas are trusted confidantes who work to make you feel comfortable during one of the most intimate and important moments of your life. You can trust her to provide information if and when you want it. We answer questions such as, “What are my options for childbirth,” “How is birth different than the movies/my mom’s description of birth,” “What happens during an induction,” and so much more. Continuing education is an important piece to our mission, so that we can provide you with unbiased, up-to-date information on pregnancy, birth, and beyond.
We’re dedicated to making sure you’re progressing through your epidural, while keeping you comfortable and giving your partner a break. We love supporting women in the OR as they welcome babies through cesarean birth. And we have even been known to give a mean shoulder rub and help you voice your birth affirmations during a natural waterbirth. We do not minimize emotions, pains, or fears; rather, we instill confidence and strength in you and your partner. Birth is a remarkable life experience, and it is made even more extraordinary with the help of a woman who knows what it looks and sounds like. There are countless benefits to hiring a doula, but most importantly:
· We provide reassurance, unbiased support, and work with you to address your fears or concerns about birth and parenting.
· You are the architect of your ideal birth. We have the expertise and experience to help you fine-tune your birth plan.
· We can help you navigate your birth according to your personal values and preferences.
· If you’re an information-seeker, we have a wealth of knowledge and local resources to answer your questions 24/7.
· We are skilled at easing pain and discomfort during labor, and making sure your partner is comfortable with his/her involvement.
· During labor, we want you to feel like your only job is to birth your babe (we know, it’s a huge job!). Leave the rest to us.
The days you birth your children will be some of the most memorable of your life. You will recount your birth stories with friends, your partner, and – someday – your kids. CLEbaby wants to transform the birth and postpartum experience with you so that you have an epic story to tell. We want to help you navigate this unpredictable time. But most of all, we want you to have beautiful, unforgettable births.