What Is A Doula?

Print this recipe!
EXPLAINED BY KARMA TUDOR, MEMBER OF MAMA GLOW

Karma Tudor, is a mother, a doula trained by Mama Glow and a yoga teacher in New York. After working in the insurance field for 10 years, Karma left corporate America to pursue her passion of personally interacting and providing services to women of the world. In 2018, Karma read an article about the increasing black maternal mortality rate in the NY Times. She felt a connection with the story as her healthy pregnancy could have had a different outcome. Karma decided she wanted to assist mothers with their prenatal and postpartum experience by becoming a doula.

Below, Karma explains the ins and outs of being a doula, what training entails, and why she feels everyone needs a doula.

If you are interested in learning more about maternal wellness, check out our Q+A w/ Alli Kasirer, founder of Robyn, Jackie Stewart’s post How To Stay Grounded While Mom-ing, and Amanda Warsavsky’s post How to Balance IVF and a Demanding Career.

 

First things first. What’s a doula? A doula is a certified professional that is trained to educate, support, nurture, and assist the pregnant mother and their partner, if available, during her prenatal and postpartum periods.

In other words, it is a huge task with an even greater reward. Many underestimate the level of responsibility required to be a doula. Some will try to downplay the need for a doula. Why would they do that, well, the simple answer is that the medical field and insurance industry are all about that money making. If they aren’t getting monetary value from it, they aren’t as interested. 

Doulas are not medically trained they are emotional, educational and physical support. Doulas are not doctors, nurses or midwives, nor do we attempt to be for our clients. We are there to support and advocate for our client’s needs.

This doesn’t mean that we do not need to be trained and undergo a certification process. In order to educate and prepare an expectant mother on what to expect in ANY setting, whether it’s a hospital, birthing center or home, the doula themselves need to be educated for these different scenarios.  There are patient rights that doulas need to be educated on so that they can then teach these rights to their clients. This allows their clients to make sound decisions for their birth plan.

A question I get often is, “Why do I need a doula, I have family?” During doula training, doulas are trained in a multitude of ways to comfort and manage the pain of clients. Some of those ways include aromatherapy, movement, rebozo integration, or the mere act of just being present. Families, if available, are emotionally invested – and while a doula is as well, a doula is a professional and will advocate for their client under intense circumstances at the drop of a hat. 

The doula training process also requires that the doula in training attend multiple births, to ensure the pending doula is prepared to handle the unexpected.  Every labor, delivery, and family make-up is unique. The doula-in-training needs to be as prepared as possible, and while all the training in the world will not prepare you for every instance you may encounter, it does open your eyes to a day in the life of a doula. 

Being a doula is a calling.  It is not a career that you just wake up one day and say,  I think I will try this on for size, it seems simple enough. It is far from “simple enough”. A doula is responsible for the heart and souls of so many birthing people, to the point that we at times neglect to take care of our own heart and souls.  

Which brings me to one of the most important parts of doula training: self-care. As a doula, it can become so easy to drop everything to ensure that your client is safe and feels safe. Individuals that provide healing work are natural givers, who at times have to learn how to provide themselves with self-care to avoid burnout. Self-care comes in the form of sleep, meditation, yoga, vacation or anything that allows the doula to hit the reset button.

Doula training is imperative. Who wouldn’t want the person a part of one of the most important moments in their lives to be trained? Doulas can be the difference between a good and a great state of mind during your pregnancy.

xx Karma