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July Doula Tips - Day 21 - Sometimes all we need to do is 'hold the space'.

August 08, 2012

This tip was inspired by the giant sea turtles that came onto the beach in Cancun to lay their eggs.  At first glance they looked like they needed help, but really all they needed was for us (the hotel guests) to 'hold the space' for them and allow them to birth not their own time and ot be interrupted. It was amazing and inspirational!

What are your thoughts on "holding the space" for mamas?

Stacy Nicholson Maitha I love the phrasing of this. I have used "protecting her bubble" but I like this much better.
Heather Keeney I think that holding the space is one of the hardest concepts for a new doula to grasp.  The first birth I attended where that was all my client needed from me, I felt like I hadn't done anything of value, and wondered why she'd even hired me if all I was going to do was sit in the corner and be quiet.  A few months (and a few births) later, someone shared this essay with me, and I had my "ah ha!" moment.  It is a challenge and a reminder to be fully present in each moment---just because you're not doing something, doesn't mean you're doing nothing.
Andrea Alexander-Shandri I have a hard time with this because I always feel I  need to be doing something. It's hard for me to tell when a mom needs physical comfort vs holdign the space.
Amber Skye Morrisey I do most of my best learning "holding the space".
Amber Roman I have attended two births that were stalled and becoming difficult. The moment I sat still and quiet a few feet from the mother, intently watching her (which felt awkward at first) I noticed a change and relaxation in the mother. It was like she knew I wasnt "needing" anything from her and that she could completely let go. The baby was born within two hours of that both times.
Kimberley Fernandez-Doula I find my role as a doula is mostly protector of the space. Help momma create it and then guard it as she uses it.
Nicole McKay I love this part of birth work. I love being there and keeping the space for the birthing family. To simply be present in every moment - when you do, you learn so much about them, about birth. It is also an art to combine keeping that sacred space while doing other things.
Colleen Downey I'm definetly still working on this.  I have a hard time being still but everytime it gets a little easier!
Rannveig Stefánsdóttir Anyone that has watched another mammal give birth you know that you have to be quiet and you can't disturb the animal or it will be stressed. Why is it so hard to transfer that over to humans. Of course a woman in labor needs to have her space protected by the people around her and that is what Doulas are for :D
Diane Rasmusson Nelson I don't always chat between contractions, especially during hard active labor and if mama has found her "zone". I just offer her a drink, gently rub her back to help relax her shoulders and observe. I am a firm believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". If mama and partner are handling it well, I will sit in the corner and watch (I bring a small knitting project). I chime in every half hour at least to offer position change and ask her how she thinks she is doing. If mama is struggling, then I am more active. The goal is to empower mama and strengthen the bond of the parents. If that is best accomplished by my being quiet and just being a prn resource - I'm OK with that. There is usually a period of at least an hour or two with every birth where I don't "do" anything.

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