No, I’m not a midwife. We might both work in birth, but we do very different jobs. Complementary jobs, yes, but they’re definitely not the same.
Midwives are amazing. Just like doulas are amazing. But a doula is not a midwife. A doula is a trained support person.
Want to hear your baby’s heart beat? Call your midwife.
Want to know your fundal height? Call your midwife.
Want to know how dilated you are? Call your midwife.
Want some help breathing to manage your labour? That’s me!
Want some great ways to focus? Want some massage? Want acupressure? That’s me!
I can help you tap into your natural pain relief measures, as well as offer you a whole host of non-medical pain relief tools. I can help you find comfortable positions, help you find your labour zone and help you protect that zone.
Great, doesn’t my midwife do that? In theory, yes. But in reality, usually not. And not because they don’t want to be, but because midwives have clinical responsibilities, exorbitant amounts of paperwork, and work in shifts. This means there are gaps, and I fill those gaps.
You contract me for your birth, whether it falls neatly into a shift slot or not. I don’t have a roster, so if you go into labour, I’ll be there. If it takes longer than the time frame we’ve agreed on, you get covered by my back-up (who you will have had the chance to meet during your pregnancy and feel comfortable with) while I take a short rest. This way I can join you again refreshed and give you the unwavering focus you need.
I meet with you during your pregnancy so we can grow a great relationship, so I can best support you to have the birth you want. Instead of meeting a new caregiver each appointment, you and I work together. And on the big day? It’s me again.
I can’t give medical advice, but I can give you evidence-based information on any topic you need me to, even if it’s not well known. I don’t tell you what decisions to make, I’m just here to support you in those decisions, because I’m not hired by the hospital – I’m hired by you.
We have different roles, and they do a whole lot of things I can’t do. But then, I do a whole lot of things they often won’t do, or just don’t have time to.
I’m here to be your coach, your cheer squad, your own personal meditation guide, and give you that amazing double hip squeeze. However, I can work with your midwife or doctor so together we support you to have your best labour. I don’t focus on clinical tasks at all – my job is to focus wholly on you. So while they’re doing their irreplaceable roles, I’m here just for you.
In fact, I can help them be the best support partner you ever imagined. You know those stories of partners gaming/Facebooking/nervously pacing/constantly ducking out for food/saying really unhelpful stuff? In my experience, no partner wants to do the wrong thing. They just don’t always know what the right thing is. And even if they do, they often need a fair bit of help working out how to do it. And this is where I come in. Rather than replace your partner, I reinforce the amazing bond you already have.
I could go on. I really could. Supporting you in your birth is what I love doing. I love believing in your birth, in your ability to birth, in your ability to have the birth you want.
I’m not a midwife. I don’t want to be a midwife. They do a wonderful, unparalleled job, and I have enormous respect for them.
But I’m a doula, who supports you – your birth, your way.
*For more information regarding this study please refer to Mothering the Mother, How a Doula Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth Klaus, Kennel, 1993.
© Anna Siebert and Anna Siebert Blog, 2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anna Siebert and Anna Siebert Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.