Doula Support during an Epidemic...
How Covid-19 is changing the face of birth in the US.
Doula support has proven time and time again to be highly valuable to expecting families. With the support of their doula they feel more educated, supported, confident and more than likely have more positive birth experiences… but what about during an epidemic shut down? Covid-19 has changed the face of our daily lives drastically. More than ever, expecting families are exploring new ways to receive the support they desire and need for their births. To the doula community’s delight, more and more families are seeking birth centers and home birth options. This is what we have always wanted to see in the maternity world, for birth to return to its roots. Unfortunately, it was prompted by the outbreak of a virus. This virus FORCED us to take a new look and open up to all the birthing possibilities, to remind ourselves where this all began in the first place.. Women are reconnecting to nature in a beautiful way and finding ways to remove the fear surrounding childbirth. Realizing the hospitals are NOT always the safest place to have your baby and that there are bigger possibilities. As a doula it is my sole purpose to support you and prepare you for this challenge. As hard as it is to experience this challenging time in our world, I choose to embrace the good that is coming from this. Nothing will stop me as a doula from giving people the chance to take charge of their birth story through education, guidance, coaching and compassion. Birth should belong to the woman birthing, not the birthing place.
Regardless of COVID-19.
Doula Support for Hospital Births As of now in Minnesota, hospitals are only allowing 1 support person. The environment has become increasingly tense for birthing families as we fight this virus and the birth community is seeing a lot of disappointing outcomes at hospital births. Birth plans are harder to honor, the fear of this virus is creating unhealthy and damaging policy changes and procedures, and we’ve even seen families get separated or restricted. Birth is exceptionally vulnerable, as a doula, part of my role is to help you advocate for yourself and your rights with factual, evidence based information. During this epidemic, expecting families have to do double the work to prepare for a birth at the hospital because their doula cannot attend in person. We CAN be there by phone or virtually, but our presence, our eagle eyes watching over you, are NOT present. We are anxiously doing our best to support you from afar, silently dreading the “would-ifs” and “If I could only be there to help with (xyz)”. So, virtual doula support is now more than ever about preparing you to enter into this environment as if we are there with you, even though we are not. Instead of in-person prenatals we meet virtually and chat on the phone more to facilitate the opportunity to learn, prepare, grow, practice and embrace this birth. A Doula’s role is adaptable and forever evolving. It is such an amazing job and why I personally love it so SO much. We are working hard during COVID-19 to accommodate the new and challenging needs of our clients. I love a good Challenge. Especially when it is something I am wildly passionate about. Designing a new service and molding my practice to the restrictions of this virus, has been hard and at times frustrating and stressful. But I have also seen this as an amazing opportunity to expand how we connect. Dig deeper into discovering the capabilities with you as my client from afar… And watching my clients bloom brighter and stronger than ever has been an honor and privilege. We got this.
Explore more of this option here:
Birth Center & Home Birth Options As I previously mentioned, the doula community is seeing a boom in interest for birth centers and home births… and we couldn’t be more excited about that! I absolutely love attending births at centers or at home. The environment is such a different atmosphere. The heavy gravity and pressure that comes with hospital births is completely gone. For a low risk, healthy woman and pregnancy, these two options are a beautiful opportunity. An opportunity they have yet, with the dozens of families I have supported for these types of births, to regret. Peaceful, calm, loving and comforting, Birth Center and Home births are a completely different experience than a hospital birth, in all the best ways. Women are free. Free to dictate their environment and experience without anyone looming over their shoulder giving them nothing but limitations and restrictions. Home Birth Midwives are angels, a calming force there to watch over you with a confidence that they are only there to catch your baby and understand that the rest is up to you. You, your body, your baby, and your partner (...and maybe with a little help from your doula ;) are in complete control. It’s dreamy. Simple as that!
(Ok, so I may be a tad biased but shoot me for loving to see families have a beautiful experience that is all their own!)
And another beautiful thing is that because of the current crisis, birth centers are accepting late transfers up to 38 weeks gestation! Contact me for recommendations :)
Embrace your Birth Birth is beautiful, regardless of where it happens or how. We can’t control all the aspects of the process, only prepare and help the body along the way. It doesn’t matter where or how you plan to have your baby, what is important is that as the expecting family, you take charge of your experience and birth story. This is true during and NOT during a crisis aka COVID-19. Advocate for yourselves. Surround yourselves with those who will honor, encourage, and provide you with the education, resources, and coaching to give you the confidence you need. The common denominator within my client base is simple. Women, birthing people, expecting families, want to have the opportunity to have the birth they deserve. Staying Safe and Protecting Yourselves We have been advised for over a month now how to stay safe and virus free. The invisible enemy is tricky, as they always are. Staying aware and safe is important. We can no longer be careless about the precautions that we know prevent the spread of sickness and disease. Washing hands, wearing masks, social distancing/quarantining and most importantly taking care of our bodies and immune system!
As a doula this was an important routine long before Covid-19 (minus the masks) These practices seem like such common sense it is almost embarrassing. Everyone seems to have their own take and level of concern surrounding this virus. Among the doula community there have been countless discussions about how to stay responsible and protect clients whilst also wanting to provide our services and support. How to manage that has yet to be mastered. Personally, I want my clients to feel safe and secure at all times, no matter what. So if that means I do all my visits and support virtually, that is A-OK with me 100%. I also feel comfortable meeting with my clients who are healthy as long as I am also healthy. I pride myself on the knowledge I have gained about the human body, wellness, holistic healing and have the confidence I can stay healthy and still serve my clients. We don’t have control over anything. WE could all get sick regardless of the precautions because that is simply how sickness works. No on has a force field around them 100%
(although it can feel that way with the right blend of Essential Oils haha!) The bottom line is you as the client are in control. As you should be. You get to decide the kind of support you want and need during this spectacular time of bringing a child into the world. It CAN still be beautiful. You CAN still have the birth story you want. It may just be a different version of that story… And if we work together, it could become something even better. Light & Love The Village Doula