So we have all heard to news, Meghan Markle has hired a doula! I’m not going to lie, I did a little happy dance when I heard. I am so thrilled for her but I am also thrilled this will open up the conversation about doula support to the wider community. I co-own DoulaCare Ireland, which is a national doula agency and I am so happy to answer any questions you may have.
So why would Meghan hire a doula, when she has Harry and all the medical support she could ever need?
A recent Cochrane review found that having a doula (continuous support additional to that of the medical team, friends and family members)
-Improved women’s experience of labour and birth
-Reduced the need for medical interventions
-Improved babys Apgar score after birth
-Lowered the rates of PND in mother
There are two main types of doula. A birth Doula and a Postpartum doula –
A birth doula supports parents through pregnancy, labour, birth and the first few weeks of parenting.
A postpartum doula supports the family from the day the baby is born, until the family are confident in their new role as parents. At no point is it ever our role to take over from the partner/husband. We are there to offer the family unit support and encouragement from the day we are hired until they are confident in their new role as parents and ready for us to leave.
A doula supports the mother and her partner every step of the way. Helping them to gather information about their chosen birth place, think about how they would like to give birth and empowering themselves with evidence. We are not only here to support unmediated birth. We are here to support the mother and her partner through the transition of becoming parents. For every single family that is a unique experience.
We support each family in their choices, with no judgement. You are the guiding light in everything we do.
We answer emails when you have read an article online and want to know if that happens in Ireland. We answer texts at 7.00am when you have had a terrible nights sleep and need someone to vent to so you can start your day on a positive note. We chat over the phone to bounce ideas and be your sounding board. We meet for tea to show your partner how to offer massage and counter pressure during labour. We practice different positions that can offer comfort during labour and birth and explain the science behind using gravity to help your labour progress. We chat with your partner, ensuring they feel supported and confident in their role. We help you decide what to pack in your hospital bag. We discuss what it’s like to become parents. We help to prepare you for caring for a newborn.
When labour begins we are there. We offer a calm presence.
We hope to make each and every mother feel like a princess. We massage you, wipe your face, help you into the shower or bath, play your favourite music, sit by your side offering sips of your chosen drink. Keep you focused and positive. Keep your partner focused and calm. We are with you throughout. Sometimes that is for days at a time. We take naps in our car and ride the roller-coaster with you. No questions asked. We are a team. With the agency model you will work with two doulas, who can tag in and out if required – meaning you are never alone.
When your baby arrives we are there. We help you to get comfortable. We take photos. We again help you to feel empowered. Remind you of all the knowledge you have. We protect that wonderful new parent bubble. We prepare meals, sort the house, offer support. You will never feel alone. Your partner will never feel alone. 24/7 no matter what you need. We are available.
Doulas are not just for royalty. We work with families from all walks of life. We work with mothers who need help debriefing previous birth trauma. We work with families expecting twins and triplets. We work with families of preterm and sick babies. We work with mothers who feel fearful of birth. We work with partners who are unsure how they can help. We work with families who want to understand all their options. We work with families who chose caesarean births and need extra support during recovery. From teenage mothers to mothers in their 40’s. From single mothers to married couples on their 6th baby and everything in between. There is the perfect doula for you.
Sound like it is too good to be true? Don’t you deserve a positive birth experience? Don’t you deserve to enjoy every wonderful moment with your new baby? Those moments will be the most memorable of your life. Think about what most people pay for their wedding day… maybe it’s time to put as much value on the amazing experience of becoming parents.