Monday, November 2, 2009

My Role as Your Doula

First I want to thank you for considering including me in your special day. My wish is to help you create as positive a birth experience as possible. Birthing is an incredibly intimate moment. It should be shared only with people that you trust.

My role begins during your pregnancy. My first responsibility is to foster a trusting relationship by getting to know you, your personal and medical history, and your hopes and fears for this birth. Creating trust extends beyond my relationship with you. It includes all the people on your birth team, doctor or midwife, friends and relations planning to attend the birth. I am a communication facilitator with all potential parties during pregnancy, labor and birth. I will ask questions for you, give you questions to ask, and give you things to think about. Additionally I will help you craft a birth plan which has clarity and will be well received by the people you have chosen to work with on this amazing journey.

It is critical to how you feel about your birth experience that you feel emotionally supported and respected as a person throughout the process. Team building is essential. Prenatally I will help you become clearer on what the most important issues surrounding this unique experience 
are for you. I will help you reach out to the resources in our community to create a team you feel confident matches your vision for your birth.

During pregnancy, labor and birth I will be a physical guide and emotional support for you and your entire team; offering suggestions to you or your primary support person on ways to create a healthy pregnancy, a productive labor and ease your journey. During pregnancy these may include; utilizing alternative health care providers, providing nutritional guidance, explaining how herbs, homeopathy and essential oils can safely ease pregnancy issues. Once labor begins I may guide you into physical positions or new attitudes, and possibly encourage you to utilize an alternative suggested by your medical care provider that you have reservations about. It is always your choice which, if any, of these suggestions you accept or act upon.

It is important to me that you understand the range of options available to you concerning your pregnancy, labor, birth, postpartum, and newborn care. As your doula it is my responsibility to educate you to the best of my abilities, to encourage dialogue between you and the medical staff and to foster good communication between birth partners. As the laboring woman and parents of the baby, it is your responsibility to make your own choices. Ultimately you are the only ones who know what is best for you and your baby. You are the ones who are going through the experience, and will need to feel OK about your choices and their outcomes, when the birth is over. Please be assured that you will not hurt my feelings or lose my respect no matter what course you choose to take, and I will be there to support you. I trust you to know what is best for you.

I am not a medical professional; therefore there are things I do not do. I do not perform any of the tasks a trained nurse would typically perform, such as; checking labor progress through vaginal examinations, checking on the laboring woman’s health by taking her blood pressure or temperature, or checking on the baby’s health by taking heart tones. It is not appropriate for me to speak for you at your birth. I will support you in asking questions, getting information about risks and benefits, and understanding how this might change your overall birth experience. All decisions relating to the health of the mom and baby, and choices that arise during labor that pertain to how the labor will be “managed” are the responsibility of the laboring woman, and her partner.

After your birth I will help you create, from the immediate postpartum period into the first few weeks, an environment that is optimal for breastfeeding. I will continue to be available to you for support in this area until weaning has occurred. I will check on your postpartum recovery, physical and emotional, giving you guidance and resources for weathering this exhausting time. Together in your home we will review your birth experience. I will answer your questions; fill in any missing pieces to your puzzle. My hope is to bring you clarity and peace. Birth can not be planned. We must learn to live in the moment, work with what we are given, and accept what we can not change.

Every birth I witness is a blessing in my life. I look forward to getting to know you and sharing this life-altering moment with you.

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