Its safe to say becoming pregnant for the first time is the beginning of an entirely new journey in every woman's life. Child birth is one of the most magical and life changing experiences for all. I know it was for me. I didn't hire a doula because I simply didn't have the knowledge of what it means to be supported in such a way. Having gone thru a very long natural labour I can confidently say a doula will be present at my next birth, no questions asked. Important to mention they are covered by most insurance companies, so please check your benefits to not lose out on the benefits of one!! I met Angela on instagram and I felt her woman power with every post. She makes you feel badass just because you have a womb! Shes on fire and even if you are done having babies she is a must follow for her daily inspiration to celebrate womanhood every day and stage of your life. Her work is so important in this day and age I cannot say enough how much I appreciate her for being a huge part of why motherhood, sisterhood and womanhood is rising! Enjoy the candid answers which will bring you to tears remembering your birth story and if you're pregnant for the first time you will be inspired and very excited to birth your baby!
Besides fear why do you think there is a stigma around postpartum support workers, doulas and midwives?
I have about 50 different answers for each of those. Where does the stigma come from? Disconnect from our bodies? Loss of intuition? Total trust in the medical model of care. The unfortunate belief that birth isn't important and that 'only a healthy baby matters'. Our obsession with looking like we've got our shit in control and our inability to ask for help. Where does it start and end? Look, it comes down to this. We don't understand what we don't know. Until we personally experience and understand the benefits of postpartum and birth workers, it is impossible to understand the importance of this line of work. On top of it, we live in a world where birth is terrifying, modern medicine is God and many people find it difficult to believe that anyone without a Doctor of Medicine should be taken seriously. And don't get me started on the misconceptions about Doulas, Midwives or other support workers! But that is okay, I like a challenge ;) I do my part in breaking away at the stigma every day, and I know many others who are fighting for the same thing.
Explain to us the shift that occurs in a woman who feels 100% supported during labour, who feels she has the power to birth her child into this world.
That shift is incredible. Something almost impossible to explain until it is experienced by the laboring woman herself. That support allows a completely unhindered flow of some seriously powerful energy. When a mother is loved unconditionally and supported in the most unwavering of ways, she can instead focus her attention on just...being. On birthing. On being present. This removal of stress, this clearing of any anxieties, this connection & trust with her tribe - it is empowerment in it's purest form. Anything is possible.
Why is it important to you to educate other doulas on how to succeed on their journey of birth work?
I am so, so, so very passionate about moving this movement and industry forward. I believe that if I encourage birth workers to build profitable businesses from their passions, based on sustainable & successful business models; we will undoubtedly see that professionalism trickle out into the experiences laboring women are having with their respective birth teams. I want to offer Doulas and other perinatal professionals the opportunity to work closely with me in hopes on inspiring them to soar in the birth world. Better support = better births = better maternal outcomes and experiences. That's what I am aiming for!
What would you say to a person who says they don’t believe in midwives or doulas?
That's a tough nut to crack. We all have different needs and desires. We come from different backgrounds and lived different stories. We all will not want the same things. But if someone is adamant about their disbelief in Midwives or Doulas, there isn't much I can say other than, 'That's unfortunate.' There is so much amazing information available but so much terrible misinformation, too. It is very sad to see how often Midwives and Doulas are the victims of smear campaigns, but alas, what else can I do but keep pushing on and being me? Yes, there are some crap apples who spoil it for the bunch. But I believe in our work so very much. I know we are changing lives. I know we are improving maternal outcomes & experiences for women and families. I see that slowly but surely, people are recognizing the epic importance of the birth and post partum period. And because of this, they are looking into other options. Midwives and Doulas are some of those options. I am confident that in the long term, we will see more people believing, than not.
To me a Doula is someone who supports the birthing mother in ANYWAY she needs you to, is this a correct statement?
Yes, in theory this is true. And of course, I do whatever I can to make sure my mama client is entirely catered to. This could be massage, reflexology, aromatherapy, a variety of verbal or physical reassurances, tidying up the house or even walking the dog. A Doula is there to support a woman emotionally, spiritually and physically in any capacity that women may need. But I also believe in 'over-supporting' and I believe in healthy boundaries. What does this mean? I make sure that I prepare the mother I am working with extensively so that when the time comes she feels confident & capable. A Doula can easily 'over support', and in doing so, she risks becoming a crutch or white knight very early on in labour. If a mother relies on external help too soon and does not tune in to her own rhythm and develop great coping techniques in mild labour (when she is still in sound mind to), she is likely to panic when labour intensifies. Where as, if a Doula were to encourage a mother to find comfort independently in early labour, she is more likely to feel confident managing the increasingly intense stages of labour if she already has those coping techniques mastered.
Why should a woman hire a doula?
I think the question be, why shouldn't she? In all honesty, rarely do I ever find myself saying, ' You probably shouldn't hire a Doula.' I have never felt that way. I think Doulas (or any fantastic support person!!) are the bees knees. I would never birth without one. The evidence is abundantly positive, study after study produce overwhelmingly positive stats for women who do hire a good Doula. Less intervention, less surgery, less need for pain relief, better emotional and physical recovery PLUS partners are heard saying they feel more involved, they feel safer, they feel heard and catered to emotionally. We are talking about a life event that takes us to the brinks of our personal limits - why don't have an experienced, compassionate, enthusiastic professional to guide you? It takes the pressure off and gives you the breathing room, confidence and tools you need to just enjoy your journey.
Three words that describe what being a doula means for you.
Life changing. Ethereal. Magical. Intense. Emotional. Complex. Rewarding. Sorry, 3 words just wouldn't cut it!