This is a guest post brought to you by Julia, founder of the Catholic Doula Network. I hired a doula for my second daughter’s birth and still have fond memories of the support I received from her during that time. When Julia reached out to me, I realized I’ve never chatted about doulas here and said I’d be happy to have her explain what a doula is. If you’re pregnant or planning to conceive, read on to find out more about how a Catholic doula can support you before, during and after your baby’s birth!
Perhaps you are pregnant or post-pregnant—in that “babymoon” postpartum phase. Have you thought about having some extra pregnancy support or postpartum support? A Catholic doula can help you!
In this day and age, we get bombarded with a lot of stuff as a mom about what to do and not do. Even pregnancy myths such as not having a cat around (because it will suck the baby’s breath—LOL—by the way cats are safe) still abound. Seriously!! But do we moms have any real support during pregnancy or after baby’s birth?
Most of us go through pregnancy and new motherhood alone or with only our husbands, who maybe clueless (especially for your first baby) on what to expect at birth and afterwards. In fact, this lack of support can lead to a lot of fighting afterward baby’s birth—like “I didn’t know the baby was going to keep me up at all hours of the night!” Right? Okay, so what can parents do to obtain that extra support?
Hire a Catholic doula!!!
What is a Catholic Doula?
What’s a doula? Isn’t that the same thing as a midwife?
A doula is a support person professionally trained to give physical comfort, a listening ear, and even spiritual support before, during and after birth! Many doulas focus on just helping with pregnancy support and going to the hospital or birth center with you to be with you during your delivery. However, there are also postpartum doulas who specifically help mothers after baby’s birth in their homes, giving you much needed rest for this time period.
The word “doula” was coined by Dr. Marshall Klaus, but the word means “handmaiden.” That’s how Mary referred to herself in the Bible. Our Blessed Virgin Mother was a type of doula to her cousin Elizabeth while Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist.
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. ~ Luke 1:39-56 NRSVCE
What does a Doula do?
A Catholic doula helps parents usually by meeting with them twice for “prenatals” (after the first free consult, which can be a phone consult). The doula helps moms with their birth wishes (such as writing a birth plan) and helps both mom and dad learn about comfort techniques for labour. Each doula may offer slightly different items in this department.
I usually offer rebozo tools and skills to go with that time frame. I also provide Hypno-Doula services as well. This means I work with parents to learn self-hypnosis relaxation techniques for their birth time.
A doula will then come and attend the labor and birth with the mother, which is anywhere from 12 hours to 24 hours onwards. Many doulas will have a back-up for longer time frames, to give themselves a break and come back to the birth when things speed up more and baby is ready to arrive! Some doulas will stay beyond 24 hours as well. This depends on your doula so ask her! I usually stays continuous through labor and one hour or so after to make sure baby is breastfeeding and mom is doing well.
A doula for birth usually does one postpartum visit. After that, mom is on her own.
However, if you hire a postpartum doula, you can find someone who will come and visit and take care of household tasks, light cooking, meals, etc. for a few weeks after the birth. This time frame varies with each postpartum doula. Usually you get a discount if you book a certain number of hours, etc.
But wait there’s more—now we have virtual doulas!! This is a great way to help mothers who live further out from the normal range of where a doula lives. I have done virtual doula support before and in fact that is where I am focusing my current services to help mothers. The cost is a little lower than regular doulas but I still charge for my time working with parents. I offer doula sessions through slides put together with the option for a webinar as well. You can see an example of what I can offer at Ava Maris Stella Birth. Check it out if you were wanting to learn more!
Virtual doulas are available usually by texting, phone, and other technology during labor time. I only offer support up to birth time. However, if you want phone or email support after birth, then that is an extra package. I do send a postpartum “physical” item in my gift boxes for mothers after you hire me as a birth virtual doula. I help take care of mothers afterwards too.
I hope this helps you see that there are multiple ways a doula can help parents with their birth and postpartum needs. You can even hire one virtually!
How do you find a doula?
And what if you want a Catholic doula? Is there such a thing?
Yes, there are Catholic doulas. In fact you can probably find one at the Catholic Doula Network. I established this network to give expectant mothers access to uniquely Christian labor support. As birth is an intimate and spiritual process, we are proud to provide prayerful and powerful labor support to all mothers who seek our help.
Become a Catholic Doula
There’s even something better—there’s a doula training program specifically to train you in the prayerful and spiritual support of mothers at Catholic Doula Program. This online program is a prayerful, spiritual and supportive training for women who want to become “doulas” for other mothers during their birth time. Because the program is entirely online, you can study at your own home and not have to attend a workshop in a city that is not near you.
Why did I start up this doula program? I feel there is lack of support for parents. No matter whether you want an epidural or natural childbirth, you go to a hospital birth class that’s usually just a one-day class and doesn’t teach you what to really expect at birth. Then, once you have your baby, there’s a lack of support after. Your care provider may offer a few postpartum visits to check that baby is nursing well and growing enough, but otherwise you are on your own as a new mom.
Would you like to know more and learn more about our program? Please explore my website. I have a current special sale for 40% off through November 2nd. I also offer free samples in my Facebook group.