– By Michelle Stroud –

I have a long history of working with prenatal women with my maternity reflexology practice. For a long time I hesitated to take doula training even though I knew I would always work with pregnant and birthing women. Why? Because I often wondered if being a doula would be enough to satisfy my strong desire to work with birthing women. I am extremely passionate about pregnancy and birth. I want to be able to help women as much as possible and the thought of squeezing hips and wiping brows left me feeling like I might not be fulfilled in my pursuit to contribute to beautiful birth experiences with my clients.Would this be a stepping stone into midwifery for me? I was not sure. Now I fully understand how
significant and important our role is. It is so much more than I originally thought.

As a doula we are often the first go to person when a client has small concerns. I find my moms will text me with questions and I like being in that role. I take much fewer clients than midwives do every month and much, much fewer clients with Obstetricians. I really enjoy the intimate relationship that I build with my clients.

We are not regulated and that has some major advantages. We get to dodge the radar and avoid the politics for the most part. As long as we are well intended and staying within our scope of practice, no one besides our clients really tells us what to do. That makes a doula practice very woman centered, which is nice. I am free to create my doula business and within reason, do with it what I want.

Midwives, Nurses, Obstetricians all have paperwork to take care over, insurance companies to answer to, a ridiculous amount of documentation to keep (even throughout the duration of labour) where I can focus completely on my client and her needs. I am frequently asked “If I have a midwife, do I need a doula?” Absolutely! I can free your midwife to take care of essential clinical tasks, if counter pressure is working for you, I don’t have to stop doing it to take your blood pressure or listen to your baby’s heart rate. Doulas and midwives work really well together.

Birth is safest and easiest for mom when it is really hands off. The fewer interventions from the start, the better the outcomes are statistically. As a doula, I am not trained to intervene anyway. So in birth’s purest form, I am able to be witness to one of life’s greatest miracles. I get to be a teacher, a servant and a coach and hold space for mom to have the best birth she can have.

I love the freedom and intimacy of being a doula.

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