When it comes to your birth, you are the coach; you’re the one setting the expectations, laying out the plays and everyone around you has a role to play to execute the outcome you’ve set. Doulas are your assistant coach, being your voice and support to make sure the playbook is followed as best as can be provided. The playbook is your birth plan; this can be written or verbal but it lays out how you would like your birth to go if circumstances allow.
Now birth is by no means a game but it is definitely a team sport. Everyone must work together to allow for the best possible outcome. Doulas clear the emotional and mental field to allow the doctors, nurses and midwives to cover the medical and physical fields (though these roles can, and often do, intersect). Birth partners are an essential support player, being the intimate link between personal life and this surreal moment in time where we are just guests. We all come together for this important, brief time to support our star player and coach – you.
Creating a playbook, your birth plan, is a great way to get everyone on the same page and create cohesiveness around how to better serve you. Yes, we are here to serve you, the client, the customer, who have come to us for a service. We will all do our best to follow the playbook, though circumstances may arise that cause us to alter the plays for a better outcome. Unless deemed medically necessary, your birth plan should be honored by the team.
As the assistant coach, doulas support you and get you ready for the big day. We prepare you and your birth partner with what to expect (for real, not the movie version), we educate, provide comfort and remind you of your options. It’s always up to you which path you choose to take in birth and beyond; we simply offer evidence-based facts and essential support.
Even outside of the hospital team, doulas have a network of subs ready to come off the bench should we need them. The backup doula is there to cover for the primary doula should they need relief should labor go on for days or they be indisposed to attend a birth due to illness or other unforeseen circumstances. The lactation consultant is there for any major breastfeeding issues that require expertise attention. The yoga instructor is there to help with movement to aid in stiffness and flexibility, the acupuncturist for sciatica, the pelvic floor therapist for prolapse or incontinence; the list goes on. It’s an all-star lineup of professionals to serve you. Be encouraged to ask for the birth you would like, there is a team out there waiting to serve you.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of the magazine or editing team. Please consult with your doctor before making any choices.
Reva Minors is owner and operator of Loquat Roots: Doula Services & Holistic Therapy. She is mother to two energetic children, doula, tea maker, home birth facilitator, author and entrepreneur. Visit her website www.loquatroots.com or her social media accounts @loquat.roots for more information about her and her businesses.