Dedicated to the Development of Doulas and Our Profession

When the Midwife Doesn't Recommend Doulas. Text over image of prenatal check up.
When Midwives Don’t Recommend Doulas

So your local midwife told a prospective client of yours that she didn’t need a doula.  You feel surprised, even betrayed, at her lack of support.  What’s going on?

First, the midwife is right.  No one is compelled to have a professional doula.  Some women have friends or relatives who can serve in that role.  Some midwives have an assistant or student who s/he prefers to doula her client.  Women and their families have needs in labor that a professional doul…

Women meeting in a park
Want To Change Birth Tomorrow?

Talk to the teens in your life today.  From what I can see, the decision about where to give birth and how to cope with labor is made long before conception.  Unlike previous generations, teens today are exposed to media misrepresentations of labor and birth on multiple television shows (Elson, 2009).  Based on a recent literature search (Toohill, 2014), it seems that more young women and men today are afraid of birth than at any previous time.  While the issue is mu…

Please use Back Door, painted on sign.
Back Door or Front Door?

In Jennifer Torres’ article, “Breast milk and labour support: lactation consultants’ and doulas’ strategies for navigating the medical context of maternity care”, the author makes a declarative statement.  She says that both professions have filled a niche in maternity care practice that is not covered by nurses or physicians.  However, lactation consultants have been able to influence medical practice directly.  They entered through the “ front door” and have been w…

Doulaing at Midlife
Doulaing At Midlife

“When my 60 year old mother insisted she was middle aged and I wasn’t, I replied, “Mom, how many 120 year old women do you know?”    -paraphrased from Postcards From The Edge by Carrie Fisher

I went to my first birth when I was 20 and my first birth as a professional at 24.  Most of my clients were older than I was, some by more than a decade.  As I aged it seemed that my clientele youthed.  At first I was their hip, knowledgeable young friend.  Then a sister…

Black and white image of 2 people holding hands.
A World Where We Didn’t Need Doulas

Maybe it comes from being weaned on Star Trek reruns but I’ve often contemplated alternate universes.  The kind where if a different decision had been made the whole future course of humanity would be altered.  Recently I’ve contemplated what if we had a birth culture today where professional doulas weren’t necessary?  Going back in time, the critical point seems to be a little over one hundred years ago with women deciding to give birth in hospitals.

Like mo…

Amy Gilliand Portrait
How Doulas Undermine Our Own Value (it’s not free births)

Anytime I read a “doula” writing online that she knows everything she needs to know already, I want to burst. You know what? You don’t. When you say that, you devalue the entire process of skill development in labor support. What you imply is you already know everything you need to and that anyone can do labor support effectively with only a few days of training (or a few months in a correspondence course). I have never interviewed an expert doula or one who had been…

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