What's a birth doula?
Birth doulas are and do many things, but the all encompassing word to describe a doula would be "guide".
A birth doula is just that - a guide (or wizard - whatever you want to call us!) A guide to a better birth experience. A guide for your partner. A guide for you to better understand your own birthing situation. A guide to help you find your voice. A guide to help you find peace during surges/contractions. A guide for your mindset around birth. A guide for the physiology of how to labour best and what positions or activities work for each unique situation.
A birth doula could also be compared to a wedding planner, if you will..
What does a wedding planner do?
Well, they make sure all the vendors are booked and organized for the day.
They make sure everyone knows what their roles are.
They help with prep, before the wedding. They make sure the couple is happy and that everything runs smoothly on the big day.
They may help with clean up, and they might also help plan the honeymoon.
So what are the roles of a doula?
Doulas prep their clients before their due date, making sure they have resources in hand for things they need, while also educating them on what to expect during the birth and postpartum.
A doula joins a client or couple on "the big day" (or three days), and makes sure they're comfortable and taken care of.
Doulas often lighten the load of everyone in the birthing room, and help everyone to work together as a team.
A doula guides their client emotionally and physically, helping them to have a good experience, and to advocate for themselves.
Doulas clean, and they can help their client plan for their postpartum period.
A wedding planner is like a wedding specialist, they know what to expect and how to help.
A doula is like a birth specialist, who knows what to expect (to an extent) and how to help.
Would you want a guide to help you through your day, whether it was your wedding day or your birth?
"Asking your husband to be your sole guide through labour is like asking him to lead the way on a climb of Mt Everest. He may be smart and trustworthy, you may love him, but in the Himalayas, you'd both be a lot better off with a Sherpa!"