Like many parents, I wake up groggy, huffy, and disheveled. My hair is usually shaped in some ungodly form, and I’m half blinded by the light on my iPhone, shrilling its daily reminder to get up and get my day started.
Most days, like a lot of parents, I’m cooking, cleaning, washing, drying, picking up, dropping off, crying, yelling, apologizing, yelling again, cleaning boo-boos, preventing fires, putting out fires; in other words – The Works. However, I cannot begin to express how excited I am to hear my alarm during first week of August. I’m sure you’re wondering what in the world would have me waking every five minutes, right?
The first week of August marks the beginning of the best week ever – World Breastfeeding Week! Guess what else! We get to celebrate Breastfeeding Awareness for the entire month! You’ve probably already guessed that my excitement for the month blossomed from my love of being a (former) breastfeeding mom. My love for breastfeeding grew when I became certified in Lactation Counseling and, even better, certified as a Community-Based Doula!
According to American Pregnancy, “The Doula is a professional trained in childbirth who provides emotional, physical, and educational support to a mother who is expecting, is experiencing labor, or has recently given birth. They aim to help women have a safe, memorable, and empowering birthing experience.”
As a Community-based doula, my work continues through emotional, physical, and educational support. I also provide hands-on assistance for lactating individuals if help and education are warranted. I take great pride in providing helpful information to my birthing persons.
Here are four amazingly simple reasons why having a community-based doula is more important than ever.
1. Community-Based Doulas Advocate For You To Advocate For Yourself
An article by Evidence Based Birth says, “Advocacy is defined as supporting the birthing person in their right to make decisions about their own body and baby.”
We all know that pregnancy is a precious yet intricate process. As a birthing person, the experience can be exciting and daunting all at the same time. I can speak from experience. When I began going to my OBGYN visits regularly, I would often leave feeling overwhelmed with all of the information thrown at me in the short timeframe I was there. I was apprehensive about asking questions because I figured that, at some point during my pregnancy, the physician would explain things later on. They never did, not in a way that I thoroughly understood.
Had it not been for my Community-based doula and having a little knowledge of medical jargon, I’d probably look like a deer in headlights at every visit. She was careful to practice questions with me before office visits and educate me on medical terms I wasn’t familiar with. She was persistent in reassuring me, advocating for me, and reminding me that NO question involving my health and wellness was foolish.
2. Community-Based Doulas Make Giving Birth A Little Easier & A Lot Less Scary
It’s True! According to The Bump, “Birth coaches help facilitate an easier birth. Having one present at your birth can cut your laboring time by 50 percent. According to Mothering the Mother by Marshall Klaus, John Kennell, and Phyllis Klaus, studies have shown that the physiological effects of continuous support during labor reduce: chances of needing a c-section by 51%, length of labor by 25%, use of analgesia by 35%, Pitocin augmentation by 40%, epidural anesthesia use by 60%, and use of forceps and vacuum by 30%. Moms who work with doulas report greater satisfaction with childbirth, fewer incidences of postpartum depression, increased self-esteem, better mother-infant interaction, and improved breastfeeding success.” How awesome is that?!
3. Community-Based Doulas truly stand by “MY Body MY Rules!”
It’s YOUR body, and the importance of making your birthing experience authentically yours is what we aim to achieve. We take special care in providing an experience that families will discuss for years. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the importance of protecting a birthing person and their experience is more critical than ever. The birthing space for any of our clients is sacred. Our ultimate focus is cultivating a culture of peace and serenity, relaxation, and safety. As a wise Community-based doula once said, “The doctor is the medical expert, but the birthing person is an expert on their own body!”
4. Community-Based Doulas Are There For You Every Single Step Of The Way
Here is the most important takeaway. This moment is so very precious. It only happens once. “No matter what occurs, your Community-based doula will be there to support you every single step of the way.” Just read what Amazing Births & Beyond says, “…the birth of a child is a transformative, powerful, and impactful experience that only happens once. You may have multiple children, but you will only birth this child once. You wouldn’t be expected to plan, set up, decorate, and coordinate your own wedding all by yourself…think of your doula as your birth coordinator…and when the big day comes, they will remind you to breathe deeply and to think about the beautiful baby that will soon be in your arms.” There’s nothing more precious than that.
I’m preparing to snuggle up close to my iPhone-sized bullhorn on the eve of World Breastfeeding Week. I’m also prepared to continue supporting, educating, listening to, advocating, uplifting, and encouraging my expectant families. This Breastfeeding Awareness month, we will no longer whisper the word Doula in uncertainty. We’ll shout loud and proud that having a doula is now more important than ever.