What does a doula do? This online event for new and expectant parents explains it all
A doula can help expectant parents to feel more in control and make their birthing experience more enjoyable
The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” means something different to everyone, but for new mothers in 2020, it’s especially pertinent. With Covid-19 restrictions affecting everything from family cuddles to public health nurse visits and check-ups, new mothers are feeling especially isolated as a result of the pandemic, and if you’re expecting, this can be a scary and confusing time.
A doula is a role that many families in Ireland may not have heard of, but that can be of huge help and comfort during pregnancy. But what do they actually do? A doula is a person who supports an individual through their pregnancy journey, the birth and after the baby/babies are born in the 12 weeks postpartum. A doula will also support the partner and/or family of the individual and can offer support for miscarriage, stillbirth and abortion.
If you’ve ever heard the term, or wanted to find out more about what exactly a doula’s role is in your pregnancy, a new online event launching next week may be for you.
Meet your Doulas
‘Meet your Doulas’ will take place on Saturday, 21st of November, and will allow expectant parents to sit down and have a cuppa with five doulas, as they explain what they do and how they can best support you to make your pregnancy, birthing and postpartum journey an enjoyable one.
Lucianne Hughes, one of the five doulas taking part in the event, is a postpartum doula, which means that her role is centred around “mothering the mother who has just given birth, to be a listening ear without passing any judgement at all”. She began her work during this pandemic to support new parents who may be feeling isolated and scared about the birthing process.
“The saying that “it takes a village” to raise a child and support a parent, is a cliché, but it’s true,” Hughes said. “But new parents of 2020 have no village and no one is talking about it or addressing it.
With restrictions for labour, grandparents cocooning, bans on household visits, social distancing, no public health nurse visits, no breastfeeding clinics and no baby groups, new parents have been left with not only just no village, but with absolutely no access to one.”
She added: “Maternity services right now are being pushed to their limits with hospitals understaffed and partners only allowed in when the mother is in active labour and for a short while after the baby is landside. Extra support is not only necessary, it is essential.”
The role of a doula
As Lucianne explains, the role of a doula is to support new parents through the inevitable confusion and imposter syndrome that they feel with a new baby. “Being a parent myself, I know just how much we question our gut sometimes,” she said. “We might see a new mom on social media who is out and about and looks like she really has it all together while we sit in our pyjamas in the same spot we have been for half the day because our baby is cluster-feeding and we wonder what is wrong with us.
We then question what we are doing, we start doubting what our instinct is telling us to do. A doula’s main goal is to give parents the confidence to listen to the one tool that is innate in us, our second brain, our gut. We want to support parents through these early months (the trenches) so that they thrive and baby thrives, so they get to a point where they say “Yep, I got this”.
Lucianne will join four other doulas on November 21st, who each deal with different areas of the birthing and parenting process.
- Kitty Hackel is a Birth and Postpartum Doula, Hypnobirthing Instructor, Antenatal Educator General Nurse and IBLCC Board Certified Lactation Consultant.
- Lorraine Lozano is a Fertility, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Breastfeeding Educator and Antenatal Instructor who is Trauma Informed
- Sandy Connolly is Full Spectrum Doula and Breastfeeding Counsellor
- Shirani Bolle is a Miscarriage, Abortion, Bereavement Doula and a Full Spectrum Doula, and a Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher
The Meet your Doulas event is free to attend, and you can register on Eventbrite