What is a doula?

The Delhi Doulas explain what doulas do and the benefits of having a doula during childbirth and through this journey

Hello and welcome. We are the Delhi doulas and we are herewith to talk about what we do in the world doula week. On March 22nd to March 28 every year is the World Doula Week. So welcome! The biggest question that we are ever asked is what is a doula? And I have with me, Sonia, Neha, and Urshita, and I’m Divya, and we’re going to talk about what doulas do and many other things that you’d like to know before you consider a doula for your pregnancy and birth journey.

So I’m gonna start with Neha and I’m going to say, tell us about yourself Neha, and your practice. I think my journey towards birth work began when I became a mother and the experience of birthing my children changed many things in me and I realized the importance of that extremely critical and vulnerable time.

And at the end of it, I felt that. Maybe it would have been nice to have some more information, better support, through that journey. And that made me want to do something in this space. So I decided to quit my corporate career and figure out, how can I support birthing families? And so I started off with childbirth classes and I certified to be a Lamaze childbirth educator.

And through that, while I was supporting families to have better information and be more prepared for birth, what I also realized is that it’s not just about the information and being prepared, but also support. And there is this, hard to define the value of, having this feminine support with you during birth.

And, I started seeing that, this is the other thing that women really sought, and especially in the medicalized world today where everything is, cold and harsh and everything is about, everything about birth is outside of you and what you need to do and what tests you need to do and what interventions may be required.

No one was really listening to that woman. And what she was experiencing and what she was going through. And I came to realize that that is really, really important. What that woman is, what has been her experiences that have brought her to where she is, what she fears, what she would like her birth to be like.

All of that really matters and it significantly affects the way her birth goes. And so that’s when I learned about the concept of a doula and decided that this is something that I would love to do. I would love to be able to offer that kind of support to women at birth. And that’s where my journey kind of started.

So now you’re practicing as a doula. Tell us what does your doula service involve? So, basically as a doula, I am with you to offer you whatever it is that you need, which means that, first of all, I would like to spend some time understanding, which is really the first interaction that I have with my clients. To understand what’s on your mind? What are your expectations? What are your fears? What it is that you need to have a better birth. And then the basis that we discuss what it is that I can offer. Maybe. You just need a couple of prenatal interactions and already have a really great birth companion and don’t need me to be there with you in the birth.

So then we do childbirth classes. Maybe you do, would like to have someone with you during your birth to support you, to help you to cope better with the pain, to help you to, have a better experience during births to help you to assimilate the information that you’re receiving. So in that case, then I’m on board with you.

I’m on call, once you are full-term, we do meet at least two to three times, and these prenatal interactions are extremely important. Spending time with both the mothers as well as the father or whoever is the birth companion. Because when we meet and we talk about everything related to what’s going on, there’s a sense of comfort that develops between me and my clients, and it is that sense of comfort that then helps you when you’re in labor. When, when I walk into the room, you already know me. You feel safe when you see me, you trust me because we know each other and then I’m there for you to support you in whatever way you need. Whether it is physical support in terms of helping you with positions, massage, helping you to get a shower, to get into the birth pool, taking a walk, getting you food, water.

That’s one part of it. Emotional support – trying to help you, go back to what you need. Think about what could be holding you back and helping you to release these fears and informational support. So there is something going on. The doctor comes in and says something about progress and dilation in the basement and, and, and sometimes that information is overwhelming.

So I would help you to understand what that means and to integrate that information and not let it bother you and make informed decisions basis that. And so I’m with you throughout that process until the baby’s born and then for a few hours after that to help you to settle down with the baby and help you to initiate breastfeeding.

And also then after the baby’s born, I definitely come back and see you at least once to talk about your birth and, and how the experience was for you and for the baby and how things have been so far. And if you need anything else. That’s kind of what I offer. Oh, okay. So that seems like that is something that we would need in a, in a time when we are in the urban areas, we are living really busy and isolated lives that we don’t have community support around us.

So you’d say that do-nothings in that role of that familiar face or have that relative or of that sister you would have leaned on. But the additional benefit is that you’re getting all the information and you’re helping each client, their families do dissolve this information and use it for themselves.

Would you say that is one of her? Absolutely. I think that women have always had women to support them at birth for centuries. It’s only in the last 50 years that both have moved into a hospital and you have doctors and nurses and your husband with you actually during birth. And that feminine energy is really missing.

And so it’s not a very natural environment to have a natural birth in. And Sylvia, just trying to bring back that kind of an environment into the birthing space and that kind of support, for mothers giving birth.

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