By the eighth month of my pregnancy, I had become accustomed to the blank stares and raised eyebrows I received at each mention of my doula. Maybe it was the “doo” or maybe it was the “lah,” but there was something about the tone and feel of the term that rendered the uninitiated people in my life either instantly confused or quickly judgmental.
If a rain-stick dance is what I felt I needed to enhance my birth experience, there’s a good chance that a doula would deliver. But my reasons for enlisting the services of a doula were much more simple, going back to the origin of the word.
Since they focus solely on nonmedical care, doulas can spend their energy comforting and encouraging the mother and her family and helping them navigate the slew of questions and decisions that often need to be addressed during labor and delivery. “When I’m working with parents as a doula I want my role to be uncomplicated by the clinical aspects of birth,” says Young. “I’m there to meet their emotional needs, physical comfort needs, to help them with information.”