Celebrating World Doula Week

Celebrating World Doula Week, I'd like to take a minute and give a shout out to all the amazing, professional, compassionate doulas who have joined to work alongside Baby Caravan over the past two years.

I'm so inspired by the excellent work they do with their clients. The best part of my job is supporting parents, through connecting and facilitating the working relationship between a doula and their family. So thank you BC doulas!!

As doulas, it's our job to serve. The origins of the word doula is Greek, and it means to serve. We do this by providing emotional, educational and physically support to our clients. Doulas work with clients at anytime during the pregnancy, though often in the second and third trimesters in preparation for the birthing day, through the labor and childbirth process and during the days and nights of the extended postpartum period.

In practice a doulas work might look like this: preparation during pregnancy, the attendance on the birth day for Birth Doulas, and help at home during the following weeks and months of the newborn period for Postpartum Doulas.

Preparation during pregnancy consists of prenatal visits in the third trimester. This is a time for birth doulas to meet with expectant parents to clarify and go over their birthing preferences or to create a Birth Plan. For postpartum doulas it may be a prenatal meeting shortly before the baby is born to help parents assemble the needed baby gear and make a plan for after the birth. It's also an important time to establish report and get to know each other. Doulas provide a lot of education to their clients, as well as emotional support through all the various life changes.

Birth doulas are on call 24/7 during those last few weeks of the pregnancy, so that whenever their clients labor begins, they are ready to provide assistance. The big day arrives- and this is the bulk of the birth doula's role. The expectant mother and her partner are supported continuously start to finish. From phone and text support in early labor, birth doulas
often help to answer the questions, "what do I do now?" The start of labor can often be surprising, exciting, scary, and most often a combination of many emotions. Birth Doulas are available to assist through the labor, birth and the first 1-2 hours after the birth.

Postpartum Doulas begin to help their clients, often when the new parents and baby arrive home from the hospital. The Postpartum Doula is able to ease the transition home, but providing 1:1 support and education, and to help parents attend to the new baby care. Postpartum care can be arranged for the day time, to help families adjust, assist with food preparation, help with baby care so mom and dad can have a nap or shower. Postpartum Doulas are great at reading social cues and jumping in and helping with any newborn tasks that need attending to.

Postpartum Doulas can also work at night, to help new parents get some much needed sleep. The doula attends to the baby care- shushing, swaddling, diapering, feeding if the baby takes a bottle, or bringing baby to mom to breastfeed. Some doulas even do some meal prep or laundry overnight while the family sleeps. It’s common for Postpartum Doulas to work with families from anywhere of a few weeks to a few months.

As doulas, we offer a variety of education, support, camaraderie, encouragement, and confidence to the families we work with. It is an absolute honor and privilege to serve families during this special time in their lives. It’s amazing how much the support of a doula can truly help and guide a family through the transition of new parenthood. If you’re interested in learning more about how working with a doula can benefit you and your family- please don’t hesitate to reach out, we’d love to hear from you!

Jen Mayer