Friday, August 29, 2014

Doula! How I Love Thee: Why Every Pregnant Mom Deserves a Doula & How to Get One

Masaya saying hello to Yui at 35 weeks in utero.

Hello friends and goodbye summer. Though I'm sad to see this season come to an end, I rejoice in the new season coming our way. And with every change we learn and grow. Which is why I have to dedicate a post to the wonderful women who we call doulas. What's a doula you may ask, well keep on reading and you'll find out.

Now for those of you who read my last post, you know that for my second pregnancy I aimed to have a VBAC or vaginal birth after cesarean. And with the amazing help from my doula, my ideal birth was reached. A doula, literally translated from the Ancient Greek as "a woman who serves", is a non medical professional who assists before, during and after birth to expecting parents. A lot of people confuse midwives with doulas. A doula cannot deliver your baby, although if no one was around, I'm more then confident that she could. She does not preform medical examines, etc. The doula's whole purpose is to support the pregnant woman. In my opinion, its like having my very own personal pregnancy assistant. She is not like everyone else, who focuses solely on the baby its self, but she puts total focus on the woman, who will bring the baby forth. I mean, how amazing is that. My doula, Pam Gay, was a god sent. And frankly, I do not believe I would have achieved a drug-free VBAC without her. She met with me (even at times Kenji and my mother, since they both would be present at the birth.) several times before I was due with Yui.  We worked on relaxation and focus techniques, visualization and meditation. She preformed Reiki sessions if I was feeling fatigued or overwhelmed. And sometimes we just talked. Pam was a friend, a sister and a confident to me. Hell, she supported me when I decided to leave my practice at 29 weeks because I no longer felt support and she did it with no judgment. She helped me to demolish any fear that I had, so when I did go into labor, I was confident and knew that I had the power to bring my daughter into this world. And truly, I cannot thank her enough for being with me at one of the most sacred and beautify moments in my life.

Now that I've waxed poetic about my love for Pam and all the doulas across the globe, lets talk about how you fabulous mamas to be can get one. Here we go:

1. Understand what a doula is and what they do. Now I hope I helped with this point, but if you still need help, there are links at the end to help.

2. Talk to other women and men who have had experiences with doulas. Nothing better then a parent to parent discussion.

3. Research doulas in your area. I used the DONA International website, Doula Match and other sites

4. Once you've narrowed down your choices, start setting up interviews. The DONA International site has an awesome list of questions to ask.

5. After interviews, check credentials and references. You want to make sure you're hiring the best.

6. Pick the doula that's right for you. I CANNOT stress this enough. You may meet a woman who has the best references and training for days, but if you and your partner do not feel comfortable with her, its all for nothing. You are hiring a person that you connect with. This woman will see you at your best and your worse, so don't rush into anything. Take your time and pick the right one. Also, don't let money detour you. Price ranges for doula can range from free to into the thousands. If you meet someone you absolutely love, but they are out of your price range, try to negotiate. I did this and it worked for me. Plus, if you are really strapped for cash, you can always hire a doula in training for free. She won't have the experience or references, but working with a  newbie can have lots of advantages.

Well, there you have it. My love letter to doulas everywhere. I cannot speak about this enough and if it were up to me, every pregnant woman would be allotted a doula during her pregnancy. Take care friends, enjoy the weekend and be blessed.

Love Malinda xoxox

For more information on doulas and two of my favorite ladies here are some helpful links:

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