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The Doula is just sitting there doing nothing

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Are we really doing nothing? 

Walk into a room when I am supporting a couple and you might think that I am just sitting there doing nothing. I won’t be talking. I won’t be touching the client. I won’t be using anything in my bag.

What I am doing:

• Watching mom’s breathing and sometimes breathing loudly alongside her to remind her to slow down her breath

• Scanning mom’s body during the contraction to make sure that she isn’t holding any tension

• Monitoring the temperature and lighting to create the peaceful environment that she desires

• Calculating how long it has been since she emptied her bladder

• Thinking about how long she has been in her current position and thinking about the next position that she might try

• Timing contractions to see if they are longer, stronger and closer together

• Thinking about when mom and her partner last had a snack

• Reviewing her preferences to make sure that everything is going close to her plan

I could go on and on!

What other things do you do as a doula when it looks as if you are doing nothing?

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  • Alice Turner
Comments 11
  • Emma
    Emma

    I wish I had seen this list before my birth – my doula actually did virtually nothing, I tracked contractions, went into another room because the comfy chair was taken…by the doula!, and then found out I was having back to back baby but no massages, positions etc. Learning from this is to get very clear up front on doula specifics … Because I’ve heard very good accounts from others, and can only assume it’s in the communication, and choice of proactive, engaged doula. Can be too easy to hide in the ‘best births are where I seem to be doing nothing’ category!

  • Kelly
    Kelly

    Allowing the dad to play an active role, to make his presence known to speak to his child. To let mom & baby know they’re safe and to affirm that he can be as useful as their doula (me) who’s taking this all in…it’s a beautiful thing!

  • Ramona
    Ramona

    I could see myself in the post and in some of the comments.Giving your clients privacy and respecting it is so important and supportive during the time we spend together.Being a Doula is soo much more then some people do think.. ;)

  • claire
    claire

    I think it’s one of those jobs where people really notice more when your not there and they need you.

  • Doily Penet
    Doily Penet

    I consider myself as “the oxytocin keeper”

  • Shalene Massie
    Shalene Massie

    Often, my clients desire me to guide the partner in doing more hands on support. I also give the couple privacy when Mom (or both) are in the bath, shower, or on the toilet, unless they need me in the bathroom.

  • Chloe Dierkes
    Chloe Dierkes

    Holding Space for the mama to do her thing.

    I find especially in the hospital it can be easy to feel like I should be ‘doing’ more, because everyone else is running around looking important. In reality the quality of my ‘being’ is much more valuable.

    When just one person in the room is really Present, there is a noticeable shift in the whole energy of the room. People bustle in and then start whispering, birthing women become more grounded and uninhibited, birth partners become more calm and at ease.

    If I am the only one in the room taking long deep breaths and connecting to the divine sacredness of birth, I know it’s not for long, because soon the atmosphere will change and it will allow the birthing woman to feel safe, protected, empowered, and relaxed.

  • Gil
    Gil

    Sometimes mom & partner are in their zone and there’s no need for me in that moment. I get to sit back and watch the magic happen…but mentally I’m thinking of all the things you listed too!

  • Shanti Bradley
    Shanti Bradley

    Just being present! It doesn’t sound like much, and I admit it doesn’t feel like much as I do it, but I’ve had so many clients say afterwards that just knowing I was there gave them the confidence they needed to be able to speak up for themselves. That’s a big deal in my book.

  • Shari
    Shari

    A sitting doula means there was a lot of work done at prenatal visits!

  • Tiffany Miller
    Tiffany Miller

    Sometimes, I am filling in birth notes during a quiet moment, trying to maintain a basic timeline for mom and her partner.

    Sometimes, I am maintaining space when mom and partner need to be alone.

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