October 1st, 2018
A doula, also known as a birth companion, birth coach or post-birth supporter, is a non-medical person who assists a woman before, during, or after childbirth, to provide emotional support and physical help if needed. They also may provide support to the mother's partner and family.
I met Cody earlier this year when I started volunteering with the Young Moms’ group at Youth Unlimited Niagara. I have had the pleasure of working alongside her and learning all about the wonderful and caring person she is. Earlier this summer I was even fortunate enough to get Cody in front of my camera. She has such playful personality and was a blast to work with! You can find Cody at Storybook Birth Doula Services. Below is an interview that I had with Cody where she breaks down what it is like to be a doula and what future mothers can expect from one.
Why did you become a doula?
I became a doula because I was working with a young mother's prenatal class and we were seeing these young women treated differently because they didn’t fit into the ‘traditional’ rolls our culture tends to associate with pregnancy. How a mother is treated during her pregnancy and while she is in labor can have a long-lasting impact on how she sees herself as a mother. I wanted to help equip these young women to be able to advocate for themselves with current, evidence-based information.
How many births have you attended?
I’ve attended 16 births in just over 3 years.
What training did you receive? Are you certified? If so, from where?
I am currently certifying as a Birth Doula through DONA International, as well as certifying as a Childbirth Educator through CAPPA.
Do you attend all types of births? Hospital, home, etc?
Currently, all of my clients have had hospital births (with both midwives as well as obstetricians), however two of my upcoming clients are hoping to deliver at home. I wouldn’t participate in an unattended birth.
How do you work with healthcare providers and hospital staff?
It’s usually a little tense when you’re first introduced as a Doula because the healthcare provider doesn’t know you. I’ve been very fortunate to have gotten to know the nurses and healthcare providers at our hospital. They know I’m not going to step outside my scope of practice, and only wish to assist my client and them to the best of my abilities.
How do you work with the partner?
I like to make them the main support for the laboring person (if that’s what everyone’s wishes are). I’ll show them the same techniques and touches I would use to help the laboring person, supply them with as much or as little information as they desire, and make myself available to answer their questions as I would their partner’s.
What does your pricing include?
Two prenatal visits where we’ll discuss everything from birth preferences and special wishes to the different practices and procedures offered at the various hospitals in our area (including pain reduction - both physical and medical, coping mechanisms and comfort measure).
On-going informational support via phone, text, email and social media. This becomes 24 hour support once a client has reached their 27th week.
Labour, the birth and immediate postpartum.
Two postpartum visits to discuss the birth experience, assist with breastfeeding (if desired), answer non-medical questions regarding newborn care and to see how everyone is settling in.
This is just a basic idea, as all contracts are as unique as the clients. Some laboring people might need more or less care, and that’s established typically during a free consultation.
How long are you on call for a birth?
As of the 37th week, I am available 24/7 and remain that way until either the client has delivered their child or they’ve reached their 42nd week. Anytime I am unavailable (such as a pre-set social engagement, or family emergency) my back-up doula will be on call.
Do you offer any additional services? (Birth photography, placenta encapsulation, lactation consulting, yoga, massage therapy)
No, though I can and will offer suggestions as to other people who do offer these Services. I’m also looking forward to adding pre-natal classes of my own soon!
How many clients do you book a month?
Typically I’ll book no more than 2-3 clients a month, depending on their due dates
How would you describe your doula “style”? What do you see as your strength?
My doula style is very fluid, as in I will adapt to what a laboring person and their partners need as best possible. Though trained and knowledgeable when it comes to pregnancy and birth, I realize that I’m just a spectator in the grand scheme of things. How a laboring person experiences their pregnancy and delivery will be something that they will always remember and I want them to remember it as authentically and positively as possible.
What do you do when you are not doulaing?
When I’m not doulaing, I’m a mom to three amazing and energetic kids; Chloe-Lee (7), Eli (5) and Emmett (3), and happily married to Kevin. I’m a volunteer with Youth Unlimited Niagara, helping to facilitate two groups. Our Young & Pregnant in Niagara group is a free prenatal course aimed at young mothers (think 23 and under) that covers the whole pregnancy and the first few postpartum months and the Young Moms group is a place for younger mothers and their children to meet and interact in a safe, non-judgemental location, enjoying a variety of activities. I also work part-time as an office administrator with The Play Clinic. In whatever spare time I have left I absolutely love reading, cross-stitching and Netflix.