I guess the short explanation for why I became a doula is that I have been lucky enough to receive excellent doula care during 3 of my births and I know the impact that it had on both me and my husband - and I hope to positively impact other families in the same way.
The first time I'd heard of a doula was in our last antenatal class almost 17 years ago. The teacher announced that she was starting out as one and I immediately signed her up, we became her first clients. It's actually hard to fully explain how much Lucy's support improved our experience of those next few months, but if I were to choose some highlights, they'd be:
- she helped us clarify our wishes on our birth plan, finding our voice ahead of the day made us more confident about going into labour
- we laboured longer at home and were more active than I might have otherwise been too, she even had me walking around the neighborhood, something I would never have done without her encouragement
- during labour, her trusted presence really took the pressure off my husband, Nick - freeing him up to take a break when he needed to without feeling like he was abandoning me
- Nick was also able to support me more emotionally with Lucy there doing a lot of the practical support
- she was much better at massage than Nick ;)
- Postnatally she visited, helping with my baby's latch, did some light housework and generally made me feel cared for
Her support really was invaluable to us, so much so that we booked her for our next few births. We moved to Sydney during my last pregnancy otherwise she'd have attended that one too!
Over the years I toyed with the idea of becoming a doula but it never felt like the right time. As ex-pats our support network was limited and the work involves being able to walk out the door and not know when you'll back. Now that my children are older and more independent I revisited the idea and found a course at the Australian Doula College, which I took in the first half of 2017. Doing the course was wonderful, it really cemented my passion for this work and the need for it within our society.
I believe there's something special about the support of another woman during birth. It's primal and natural and something that has been lost in many Western cultures. Birth is a rare and defining moment in a woman's life and that of her family, getting the right support is one of the best ways to make the experience as positive as possible. I feel very privileged to be a part of that.