Jen with baby born at Humber River hospital.
“Okay, but why do I need a Doula?”
Great question! Oftentimes people wonder why they would need a doula if they already have an obstetrician or a midwife. Or maybe you are giving birth at a hospital, and think you won’t need a doula. Your mother might come, and your sister has also offered to be at your birth with you.
Whether you are under the care of an obstetrician or midwife, I will often get to you before they can, providing physical and informational support. My training has provided me with the tools to see where you are in the birth process. While I cannot make medical decisions for you, I can help you remain calm in these situations and. It might sound amazing to have your mother or friend or sister there with you, but you may need someone who is not as emotionally connected. A doula is present with you and your partner (if you have a partner), working together and towards the same goal. They can be in the moment objectively. And you will learn how to advocate for yourself while making informed choices in your birth space.
“Why did you choose to become a Doula?”
My own birth and postpartum experience was definitely a catalyst for choosing to become a doula. My doula gave me invaluable support and information. I was able to make all my choices and felt validated and loved during my entire labour (it was long!). I heard such different birth stories from other mothers. Since I lived far away from my family and other support systems, I decided to make sure I had a support in plce by creating my own mama meetup group called “The Mama Strollers.” I curated fun events for us to meet up in Vancouver. We had a rule that if anyone decided to host an in-home drop in, then the visitors would bring something to eat or drink, and the host only needed to provide a space to drop in. I recognised that my nurturing, empathic and instinctive qualities are the key virtues for birth work and postpartum care. This “work” comes so naturally to me that it doesn’t feel like work. I love a good puzzle and finding resources or referral guides in relation to pregnancy and any other health issues. As soon as I looked into the training modules to become a Doula, I knew it was my calling. “Mama Bear Doula Care” came to me during my first class in 2016 and I never even thought twice about the name for my Doula Business.
Jen with a baby born at St. Joseph’s hospital.
“How will you support me during the birth?”
Depending on how things go and which birth package you choose, I will be with you in early labour – at your home if you like – or I can meet you at the hospital (wherever you are giving birth.) If you have a partner I will teach them how to help you, by guiding them and making sure they feel involved in the process. I can offer acupressure, suggestions of movement, other comfort measures. I will make sure you understand what’s going on and can remind you of your birth preferences along the way. I will offer encouragement and make sure you are hydrated, and comfortable. I will remind you how to breathe, and how to calm your mind, and also keep your partner calm! If you get an epidural, I will make sure you are comfortable and can even suggest changes of position to make sure your baby is still moving down. After your baby is born, if you choose to, I will stay with you and assist with feeding, and ensure you are feeling settled in your recovery stage.
“How did you become a Doula and what other training have you had?”
I first trained with DONA which is recognised world wide as the first birth doula training organization. When I moved to Toronto, I decided to further my training with Bebo Mia, which includes the in/fertility aspect of pregnancy, plus postnatal care. I am certified with Bebo Mia. Since I have decided to specialize in high risk births, I completed a course in complicated birth and high risk pregnancies with Doula Canada. I am also a Full Spectrum Support Doula which includes miscarriage, loss and abortion. No matter the questions you may have for me during any stage of your journey, there is absolutely no judgement. “Your choices, my devoted support.”
“What tips do you have to find the best doula?”
You should try to interview a few doulas. I recommend that you hire a doula who shares the same values that you have. So for example, you may feel very strongly that you want an epidural. Ask each doula how they support clients through an epidural. Will they support this for you or try to talk you out of getting any medicine? And while you might think it’s important that you have someone with experience, maybe the doula you connected with best has only attended 2 births. So go with your gut instinct and hire that doula. If you are having a high risk pregnancy, find someone who specialises and thrives in a hospital setting. Remember you are going to be with this person through one of the most important transitional stages of your life. Don’t rule out a brand new doula, as newly trained doulas work just as hard to help you get the birth you desire as a doula with years of experience.