In her mid-twentieth century work on the cross-cultural practices of breastfeeding, Dana Rafael refers to “those individuals who surround, interact with and aid the mother at any time within the perinatal period” as doulas. So, what exactly does a doula do, and, really, do you need one? If having a baby or being a new parent is a new experience for you, or even if it is a repeat experience for you, you may find that having a guide on this incredible trip is really helpful.
Doulas pass on their knowledge and experience to help you make good decisions, so that you make decisions based on real information, rather than on fear. A doula provides the reassurance in labor, and early parenthood, that women and their partners need, to know that everything is normal and going great.
If you want to have your best birth and be your best new parent selves:
- get informed
- know your options
- get good, non-judgemental, comforting, and consistent support for yourself and for your partner
- get clear about what you want
- and stay flexible