Claire talks about what it means to be a doula and explains what it is they do
I’m Claire and I’m 36 years old. I’m a Mum of four and a doula from Leeds. I get asked all the time, what is a doula? What do doulas do? So I have written this piece to explain all.
First let me tell you a bit about me. I’ve always had a deep need to serve pregnant women and their families, and have always had an interest in pregnancy and birth. I became a doula as I believe all parents have a right to choose the care that is right for them and their family. I completed my training with Red Tent Doulas and since have completed courses in aromatherapy and breastfeeding support.
So what is a doula and what do we do?
A doula is there to support your choices, we know what you need to have a successful birth, we know what birth looks like, know all births are different and sometimes unpredictable. We do not replace your partner, we are invisible but there when needed, plugging in where necessary. We aren’t there to replace your midwife or doctor, but work respectfully alongside them to provide you with a positive birth experience. Doulas don’t carry out medical procedures. As doulas it’s our responsibility to equip you with the information that you need throughout your pregnancy and birth, so you can make confident and informed decisions about you care and birth. We can help you ask the right questions and help you find alternatives when the risks outweigh the benefits.
The greatest tool a doula has is love, unconditional and non-judgmental support. We use things like massage, aromatherapy, breathing techniques, coping techniques and positions to help you manage labour one contraction at a time. Doulas help you to remember your own strength and remind you of whom you are when you feel ready to give up, helping you to stay positive and ready for what lies ahead. If you have fears, we give you factual information to help you stay calm.
Doulas set aside a whole month before and after your due date to be on call for you whenever we are needed. We are available anytime for support.
Since completing my doula training, I have really enjoyed working with the Leeds Maternity Voices Partnership and helping to improve our maternity services in Leeds. I recently attended the continuity of care workshop at St James’s and there are some really exciting times ahead with our services. I have learned a lot working with the MVP especially around my passion of informed choice in both pregnancy and birth.
How can I find a doula?
There are a few ways you can find a doula, Doula UK lists local doulas but not all of them are listed. I have a Facebook page ‘Claire Licence Leeds Doula’ and a lot of doulas have websites, so just search doulas local to you.
I just want to finish this piece with a quote:
Giving birth requires a woman to relinquish control over her mind, body and spirit. It puts her outside the “normal” human behaviour, but that’s perfectly alright. Rather than something to be ashamed of this is something to celebrate. It is beyond amazing that our brain and body work together for an optimal experience without our conscious effort. Embrace the instinctual. Allow yourself to “let go” and experience the power yourself, whatever form that takes during birth, no matter how you do or don’t act, you aren’t a cavewoman. Birth is primal and that is goodClair, Doula from Leeds