Why do I Doula?
Why A Doula?
I was recently asked several questions for an article.
I really enjoyed answering them and figured I would share them with you!
When did you become a doula?
I took my postpartum doula training in Feb of 2017, I soon will be fully certified.
I completed my New Parent Educator training in March of 2018, I will have classes available soon!
Why did you become a doula?
When I graduated from SDSU in 2011, my godmother, who is a doula in Colorado, contacted me and said she thought that being a doula would suit me. I initially pursued a different carreer but when I learned about the postpartum doula and the importance of mothering the mother, I was hooked. Once I had started the journey and I learned more about how beneficial a doula was for the wellbeing of mom and baby and for the harmony of the family after a newborn was brought home, I knew it was for me!
What made you decide to become a doula?
I saw a need for more support during the postpartum period! And I love serving people and helping them feel more confident as parents.
Were you ever (or are you now) a labor doula as well as a postpartum doula?
My main interest and focus are serving as a postpartum doula. I did take a labor and bereavement training, but did not certify.
I have attended two births since beginning my doula journey and do find the process incredible, however, I find I prefer postpartum work. Plus we have many wonderful birth doulas in the area, see South Dakota Doulas for a local listing.
What did you do before becoming a doula?
Retail, food service, management. I have always been in customer service. I am happiest when I can use my skills and compassion to fill someone else’s need!
Fun fact: As a student, I worked at Blockbuster Video for nearly 7 years, I miss walking through the rows of cover boxes to pick out a video!!
What is the best thing about being a doula?
Providing confidence and support in pregnancy and parenting.
What are some challenges you face?
People don’t know very much about doulas, but the people who know one or have used a doula’s services, absolutely rave about them! I spend a lot of my time educating clients about how a postpartum doula is different and in what ways I can support a mother in the precious time following the birth of their little one/s!! Hiring a doula here in Sioux Falls, SD, regardless of her chosen specialization, is like hiring a whole pack of them. Our doula community is alive! We are helping many families absolutely thrive.
What is something people would be surprised at what you do?
How quickly I am able to make a referral and how often I am in contact with my clients.
What surprised new mothers most about parenthood?
The thing I hear the most, and see many mothers post on social media, is that they “never knew they could love someone so much”.
There is a special moment when a father sees his child for the first time, all that waiting for this tiny being, it’s beautiful! I think many women are surprised how easily and quickly their partners can also feel that connection and bond they have already established with their unborn child.
Are there common things you see that new mothers need assistance with?
Daily tasks. A new mother and baby or babies should be enjoying at least 6 weeks of time just focused on developing that bond and giving the mother a bit of sanctuary and healing time. The following quote is from Mothering the New Mother: 2nd Edition by Sally Placksin, “the components [of a home-based support system] are fairly universal: the practical-meals, laundry, baby basics, and your immediate environment; the physical-help with sitz baths, showers, breastfeeding, massage, and rest; and the intangible-all the emotional and psychological factors that might suddenly and unexpectedly erupt on this delicate landscape.” A postpartum doula provides support.
What is one of your favorite experiences as a doula?
The euphoric feeling after birth, as I mentioned the realization that “two are now three”. I also very much enjoy watching my clients gain confidence in their roles as parents.
Do you work with one family at a time?
It depends on how many hours per week a family needs me to come, and for what length of time they hire me. If I am only working with a family for a few hours per week then I am happy to take on more clients in a week. Additionaly there are other postpartum doulas in town who I can make a referral to if my time doesn’t allow taking on a client myself.
How long do you work with a family, six weeks?
Six weeks is my goal. I think this is a special time and I enjoy being able to help a mother feel unburdened by household responsibilities. I will work with a family until they are confident. My ultimate goal is to work myself out of a job!
Is this a fairly new practice in our area?
Reasonably new yes. The professional practice of certifying as a doula and operating under a Scope of Practice is newer to South Dakota. However, the general roles of the doula have been around for centuries. In Mothering the New Mother: 2nd Edition by Sally Placksin she makes reference to Dana Raphael in The Tender Gift: Breastfeeding, “Raphael used it [the word doula] to denote that a supportive person who in many diverse cultures is always on hand to nurture, support, mother, and protect the new mom and free her from other responsibilities so she can rest, take on her new role slowly, and breastfeed her baby successfully. [The doula is the] personification of this special being who mothers the new mother.”
Have labor doulas been around longer than postpartum doulas?
I honestly don’t know the answer to this and you have peaked my interest! I do believe that you were able to certify as a labor doula previous to there being an offering of postpartum certification. There are actually many different ways you can practice as a doula; antepartum, labor, postpartum, bereavement, fertility, adoption, abortion, surrogate, to name the ones I currently can think of.
What do you find rewarding about what you do?
All of it, but I really enjoy seeing people being successful, in any facet of their lives, not just birth. There is something totally neat about connecting four or five other businesses in the community with a family in need! I enjoy all the connections I have made and am so happy to have so many wonderful people to refer my clients to!
Have you had a range of families (multiples, special needs, babies with medical issues)?
Since I began certifying, I have worked with a mom who just needed a sick day, a couple having their second baby who had struggled with breastfeeding the first, a single mother who had never held a baby, a family adding a fifth to their tribe, and a mama with multiples whos husband worked long hours. Each has been a wonderful experience!
Are there many people in our area that perform the roles of labor and postpartum doulas?
SouthDakotaDoulas.com would be an excellent resource for information about doulas in the South Dakota area! Some are actively taking clients and others will take an occasional client. Quarterly hold Meet the Doulas events for prospective and new parents.
How long have you been doing this?
I have been helping my friends with their little ones for as long as I can remember. And before that as a teenager, I was known in my neighborhood for being good with infants and young children. I made it official and took my postpartum doula training in Feb of 2017.
How many families/clients have you had?
If there is one thing that you want to let others know about the role of a doula and/or the needs of a new mother, what would it be?
Before you ask to hold the baby: Feed the new mother, ask if she needs water, ask if there is anything you can accomplish for her quickly; try and be specific (load the washer, put dishes away, etc.).
Ask to hold the baby by saying, “I would like to hold the baby to give you a chance to X,Y, Z (use the restroom, take a bath, shower, etc.)”.
If she wants to talk, listen! There is nothing better than for her to be verbal!