Birth has always been a magical experience that I am privileged to take part in, first as a mother (of 4) myself, as a birth educator, and as a doula, someone who helps women give birth and also helps in the days and weeks after birth.
I became a certified childbirth educator in 1978 and taught fitness to pregnant and postnatal women for twenty years. I also started attending births as a labour companion in 1978, which evolved into a doula (pronounced doola) service for childbirth and postnatal home care. My depth and breadth of experience and training has helped me support numerous new parents with a high quality of care both in the US and in England.
Doula – Catalyst and Companion
Being a companion who helps women experience the power of natural childbirth has been a lifelong commitment for me. As a doula, I see myself as a catalyst who helps the mother feel strong and confident when she is giving birth. Once a woman has successfully given birth and overcome the challenges inherent in the birth process, she often feels she can do anything. It is a joy to facilitate this growth and development for birthing women.
What is a doula and why would you want to have one?
- Are you anxious about your upcoming childbirth experience?
- Are you looking to have a natural and active birth experience?
- Are you concerned about you or your partner’s readiness to be a parent?
- Do you wish you could have a knowledgeable guide at your side in those early days after birth?
- Are you concerned that you won’t know the person who is going to be your birth care provider?
These are some of the concerns facing expectant parents, and they explain the rising popularity of professional doula services. Because childbirth can be intimidating as well as exhilarating, more women/couples are hiring trained assistants to ease the transition into new parenthood. Families who are having another baby are helped to integrate the new child into the family. Birth and Beyond is a doula service that provides compassionate and caring support and security to women in labour and for the early postnatal experience. This care also frees the partner to be present offering the emotional support that women in labour need.
What are doula services?
A doula (taken from the Greek word for ‘servant’) is an empathetic and caring mother’s companion, knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of childbirth, breastfeeding, baby care and development, postnatal healthcare, and homemaking. Such a companion can be an invaluable asset, increasing available family resources and supporting mothers whose relatives are not available to help and/or may be unfamiliar with breastfeeding and current child care strategies.
I work to facilitate this process by letting the mother lead and I take my cues from her. I have resources that I can use to enhance this experience and I will use them as and when it is appropriate. I help to shepherd the woman through the challenges that birth brings, providing the continuity of support that comforts and reassures her on her journey. Sometimes it’s a look, sometimes it’s a remark of how strong and powerful she is, and sometimes it’s a gentle back rub to ease the pain.
I act as a collaborative co-labourer and my concern is for the wellbeing of the mother.
How do you use a doula?
Starting in the days before your child’s birth, doula support can help you create a positive birth and postnatal experience. I encourage mothers and partners to trust their own instincts, buried under layers of conditioning that have taught us to mistrust nature and our own intuitive abilities. Having someone there for you who is dedicated to your wellbeing can be an empowering moment, especially when you have an established relationship with that person. When mothers are well supported in birth and the early days of mothering, they are able to tune into the still small voice within and bond beautifully with their baby. Let us not forget the father, who can participate more fully, and with less stress, during birth and in the early days of newborn care, when supported by a trained, knowledgeable doula. It also means that the partner can take some guilt-free breaks knowing that the constant support will not be interrupted.
Working as a team
When the partner is there, we work as a team to help the labouring mother to be as comfortable as possible while she is dealing with the power of her contractions. I also work collaboratively and cooperatively as a team with the midwife or other birth professionals that might be in attendance.
Birth and Beyond Doula Care offers professional care and knowledgeable encouragement to new parents, helping them to create a joyful and empowered childbirth and newborn home experience.
- Pre-birth counselling to support the transition to parenthood
- Compassionate and professional labour assistance throughout labour and birth
- Postnatal home care for families
- Assistance to partners during childbirth and the early postnatal days
Postnatal doula home care includes:
- Breastfeeding support
- Newborn baby care instruction and support
- Assistance/play with older children making an adjustment
- Maternal postnatal healthcare
- Attending to the baby while mother rests, takes care of herself, and/or interacts with older children
- Light housekeeping
Having Diane as our doula helped us to achieve the birth we wanted. Knowing that I would have someone present who knew me and my family and who knew my previous experiences and my hopes for this birth gave me confidence and strength. Her experience, knowledge, warmth and kindness supported us throughout our pregnancy journey. The birth of our son was a wonderful and joyous experience and we are very grateful to Diane for the key role she played in making it happen! — E. Tangye
I am also a psychotherapist specializing in the psychology of parenthood (for which I hold a Master’s Degree), the psychophysiology of birth, postnatal depression, and birth trauma, in addition to a practice in general psychotherapy and hypnotherapy.
I would be delighted to hear from you if you think my doula services would be a good fit for you. Please contact me and we can start the conversation.