“So, that’s like a midwife, right?” is the most common response I receive when I tell people that I am a Doula. I would often stumble on my words trying to explain that doulas do provide emotional and physical support, like a midwife, but they don’t deliver babies. This exact situation is why I had to learn to pull together my elevator pitch, to try and communicate to people everything that a doula can be, in a very short period of time.
Your Doula the Personal Trainer
We can all go to the gym and work out, and it will probably do us some good. Over time we will see improvements, maybe in weight loss or muscle build up or increased cardiovascular health. However if you hire a personal trainer you are bringing in someone who has the education, experience and encouragement to help you achieve your goals faster and better. Your personal trainer helps you plan diet and exercise and is there pushing you along the way.
Doulas work in much the same way. We are there with you planning for your birth and postpartum experience; we bring a lot of information and knowledge to the table. Then we are there with you during your labour and birth experience; we encourage you, we give you ideas on how to labour better and we get our hands in the mix by providing physical support. Whether it’s giving you some water and a massage like a boxing coach, or going with you up and down the stairs like a running coach, your doula is there full of the information and encouragement you need to help you reach your goals.
Your Doula the Life Coach
As a doula, you can spend a lot of time with a particular family, and you get to know the clients quite well and build an amazing relationship of trust. This allows our clients to find in us a safe place to talk and discuss their problems. Much of this time is spent listening to our clients. As a mom-to-be or new-mom the world can be very isolating and overwhelming. Doulas are there to listen and help you identify what your challenges and obstacles might be, and then help you come up with an action plan and connections to resources that will help you achieve the life you want.
From struggling with birth anxiety, suffering from postpartum depression, marital issues, or worries about returning to work and weaning baby; doulas are there to listen and support clients through all the different scenarios and issues life has to throw at them. Doulas are excellent resources and can connect clients to the community and professional resources they need. There is nothing that is outside of our realm when a client is in need (even if you have to Google it!).
Doulas Offer a Wide Range of Support
What I want people to see is that a doula is so much more than just someone who is there to help yell “push” while the mother is giving birth. The doula is skilled in providing such a variety of support (informational, educational, physical, emotional) that it really needs to be recognized by society on a mass scale.
So this is how my current elevator pitch came about, check it out below!
“I’m a doula; I’m like a personal trainer and life coach for all things pregnancy and parenting. I help them plan for their birth and postpartum experience; I physically support them through the birth, and I provide support to the family after the birth. I’m also there to help with any emotional and relationship needs that the family are facing.”
It’s not perfect, but it’s a start, right?!
So, does this make you think a doula is more than just a midwife who can’t deliver babies?
I'm a doula and nurse who is passionate about creating happy and healthy moms, babies and families. Currently living in Guelph, Ontario while breaking into the world of business and enjoying the four beautiful (and often very crazy) boys in my life.