I am a certified doula through an organization called, Embodied Doula Trainings. The core focus of their instruction is for the birthing person to be in tune with their intuition and embodying the entire experience of birth emotionally, physically, and spiritually. In our training textbook, the first few pages focus on what the word embodiment is defined as:
"For Embodied Doula Trainings, the word offers connection, integrations, fullness, relationship, and also gives a voice to the body itself."
"As doulas, we can help our clients to navigate their birth through embodiment, not only centering them in their experience (which is essential in our work), but also guiding them to listen to the messages of the body, the voice within, and holding that information as equally valuable to evidence based information, medical advice, and intellectual engagement. Embodied birth is a choice to engage with one's entire being as they navigate the choices they face in birth. Embodiment is the knowing that the body has a voice, that the body is not a vessel, but an intelligent being unto itself, worth listening to and worth trusting."
It is this type of natural and instinctual trust within oneself that has guided me to becoming a labor and postpartum doula. I wish to hold space, bear witness, and support birthing people through their childbirth experiences. I wish to honor their process of navigating the various stages of labor and birth. I wish to support them through the labor experience with comfort measures that are soothing and provide relief so they can focus on the task of listening to their body and their baby. I wish to be a confidant and guide to mothers that are new to the process of pregnancy and birth. I wish to listen to their concerns and questions and offer guidance and education where needed.
I view the scope of my doula practice as offering my services from pregnancy, through labor and birth, and within postpartum support and care. My prenatal support to birthing people and families will include journal writing as a bonding experience between mother and child. Writing in a journal and translating the emotional experience of pregnancy into words is an extremely therapeutic practice. I hope to encourage birthing parents to connect with their feelings as their baby and body continue to grow and evolve ahead of birth. Meditation is a beautiful practice and daily ritual that parents can practice as a way to calm the mind and settle the nervous system. Methods and techniques used in meditation can also translate well to birth practices that provide relief for fears and anxieties surrounding birth.
My labor and birth support will include my calming presence and emotional support through birth mantras, mindfulness practices, and visualization exercises. When parents are open to it, I hope to offer music as a comfort measure during the labor process. I will provide the birthing person with hands on comfort and physical support techniques that offer relief through various pressure points, massage, and physical support. If my birthing clients have a personal preference for calming rituals, I hope to learn them and utilize them when needed. I wish to offer open communication with my clients. I wish to be honest and transparent with them regarding their progress and give appropriate encouragement when necessary.
Within the next year, I hope to become a certified prenatal yoga instructor in order to offer my clients small group session together. My hope is that these meetups provide a sense of community and movement that is supportive for all who choose to participate. I hope to carry this movement practice into their postpartum care to include their baby as an engaged participant. My goal is to assist parents through the healing process with yoga as a way to reconnect to their postpartum body and find new strength within.
Just as the process of becoming and maintaining a pregnancy is filled with emotions and expectations, the same rings true for this new business of mine. This process of website creation, stating my intentions as a doula, and becoming a part of the birth community is an on going commitment. With the support of other birth workers, continuing education, and research, I feel comfortable with the choices I have made within my doula practice. I feel that I have aligned myself with peers and certification programs that align with my core beliefs and values. I feel confident that I will provide support to my clients in an honest and educated fashion and support them in achieving their ideal birth scenario.