It’s one of my favorite times of the year – World Doula Week! That’s right, an entire week to celebrate and empower the work of doulas around the world. This year, World Doula Week takes place from March 22-28, 2021, and all week long I’ll be highlighting my work on Facebook and Instagram – I’d love for you to join me!
World Doula Week was founded in 2011 in Israel as a movement to better educate the world on the value and benefits doulas provide for parents, families, babies, and siblings when a new life is brought into the world. According to the founders, “The purpose of World Doula Week (WDW) is to empower doulas all over the world to improve the physiological, social, emotional, and psychological health of women, newborns and families in birth and in the postpartum period.”
This year, World Doula Week is especially poignant to me because of the challenges doulas around the world faced in light of the pandemic, including me. We coined the hashtag #DoulasFindAWay to highlight just how creative my cohorts and I became in light of a global pandemic.
From video conferences to masks, and eventually the COVID-19 vaccine, we never once gave up on our families and we powered through some of the toughest months of our careers. I’m so incredibly proud to be a doula every year, but especially this is.
In light of the #DoulasFindAWay movement, I wanted to share some of the outcomes doulas are able to provide, even in the most challenging of situations. Doulas:
- Reduce the incidence of c-sections
- May shorten the length of labor
- Help reduce epidural and analgesic requests
- Increases breastfeeding initiation and continuation
- Increases mother’s satisfaction of the birth experience
- Can reduce the incidence of postpartum mood disorders
- Increases new parents’ confidence in the care of their newborn
And as hard as this year has been, I’m honored that I was still able to also walk alongside and support many families that faced heartbreaking losses during pregnancy and birth.
In 2020, On top of attending dozens of births in person, I supported 12 families virtually during the pandemic – virtual birth support was something I have never done before. Admittedly, it wasn’t without tears and a huge learning curve, but with a lot of grit, technology, coffee and whiskey, I actually found ways to safely and effectively support families remotely.
One birth that I will never forget included one family I supported during the height of the pandemic. As many families do, they needed emotional support – but especially because it was such a scary time for us all. The hospitals were not allowing doulas in at this time. So we did lots of virtual prenatal work together. And in order to provide safe services we settled on using wireless earbuds and zoom throughout the process – one for the laboring person and one for the partner. I was in their ear (like the secret service), which enabled them to tune out the distraction and stress in the room. I helped the parent push, coaching her through her earbud, and gave her partner tips to offer physical support and encouragement through labor and pushing.
My voice – which was familiar and trusted – really helped them through the process. The laboring person had an unmedicated birth, and the partner had the guidance needed to offer effective support and lessen his fear. Despite the unconventional manner in which I provided doula services for their birth, the family was very happy and felt my guidance throughout.
I am incredibly fortunate to work as a doula, and I’m damn proud to celebrate my calling this week, and every week, frankly.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me to be your Fort Collins and Northern Colorado birth, postpartum, and bereavement doula. And thank you to each and every one of you who have referred me to your friends and family members. I wouldn’t be able to celebrate this week without each of you.
And while I’m so proud of the work doulas around the world have done this year, I am so thankful there is a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. But no matter what life throws our way, #DoulasWillFindAWay now and forever.
Sending my love,
And as always, I’m here for you. Don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be of any support.