You may already know about all the informational, physical, and emotional support we birth doulas provide our clients.
There are the long meetings with you before the birth to discuss how you’re feeling and prepare you for what you might expect during labour and afterward. There’s the five-week on-call period surrounding your estimated due date, when our phones are always on—ringer turned up high and buzzer turned on—and we’re prepared to cancel any personal plans at the last minute. During labour, we might massage you, apply acupressure, hold your hand, tie your hair back, walk you to and from the bathroom and remind you that yes, you CAN birth this beautiful baby. And of course, we help you make sense of those first delirious weeks as a brand-new parent.
Here are ten other things your doula can do for you. (In fact, I personally have done all of these or some variation thereof!)
1- Transform your hospital room into a spa. OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s amazing what some flameless LED tea lights and a few spritzes of an essential oil mixture can do to change the ambiance.
2- Dash out to a chain café at 3 a.m. in a snowstorm to pick up an extra-large coffee for your exhausted partner because the hospital cafeteria is closed.
3- Construct an ice pack out of a medical glove (or anything else available in the room)
4- Search Spotify or YouTube for that one song you can’t believe you forgot to put on the birth playlist you spent hours creating and the title of which escapes you just now but it’s by Jay-Z (or Sigur Rós or whomever).
5- Follow you around, pushing the IV stand and holding your too-loose fetal monitor belt in place on your belly so you can move around the room and get into different positions while labouring during an induction.
6- Order food delivery from your favourite Thai place (or whatever you’re craving) mere minutes after birth and meet the delivery person in the lobby because you’re starving but would rather avoid the hospital meal.
7- Help you express a tiny cupful of your colostrum while you are recovering post-C-section, then walk it down the hall to your partner and baby who’s in the NICU for monitoring.
8- Give your partner a hands-on tutorial on how to give you the best hip squeeze ever.
9- Help you wrap your baby in a holy cloth blessed at a Sikh temple.
10- Get teary-eyed and lump-throated the moment your baby makes his/her appearance. Every. Single. Time.
About the Author
Heather Marr is the certified birth doula behind Rio Doula in Montreal. She’s also a mom of two, native Californian, world traveller and lover of long runs and coffee (though not usually at the same time). She strongly believes that when it comes to pregnancy, birth, parenthood and, well, life in general, it’s about the journey AND the destination.