Tales of a Pregnant Doula, Pt 2

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Its been a crazy couple of weeks for me, being at my last birth before my next child arrives and teaching some prenatal privates. However, I thought I was long overdue for a post… and what better to write about than a follow-up on my last post about being an Edmonton doula (while pregnant)!

There have been times I’ve hummed and hawed about taking on more clients closer to my due date, but I think my cut off of 2ish months is perfect after my last experience. Here are a few cool and interesting things I’ve observed about attending a birth during my own pregnancy:

Sleep is a must

During this particular birth, I found myself very keen and committed to helping mom have a wonderful experience. I don’t know if it was all of the training and education that I’ve been doing, or just the fact that I wanted to finish off big before my temporary leave from the industry… and by no means am I saying that I’m not always so keen. Either way, this was the first time in a long time that I headed over to the mom’s place well before labour really kicked into high gear and helped with positioning and pep talks. While I don’t regret doing this as it was wonderful to bond with mom and dad before heading to the hospital, sleep was definitely an issue this time around! I found myself hitting a wall after being up all night and this time I couldn’t just rely on adrenaline to stay awake. I remembered the advice that a few senior Edmonton doulas gave about grabbing rest when it’s needed to be more effective at your job, and once this mom decided to have an epidural and get some much-needed sleep herself, I ran home for a quick cat nap. Boy did it make a difference! So when in doubt, sleep it out.

People always listen to the pregnant lady!

Walking in with your doula tag on, sporting a round tummy definitely catches some eyes, but when it comes right down to it, I really found that I was heard well this time around. The nurses in the hospital took what I said very seriously and my clients seemed to be focused in on what I was saying. I can’t help but feel that being pregnant played a role in this. I mean, it could just be that I was giving some stellar, well-backed information and tips on how to keep the labour progress moving along. Maybe… but I’m going to stick with that I physically looked like the pregnancy expert 😉

Consider your body mechanics

I, like many other Edmonton doulas, always attend births with my “bag of tricks” (for lack of better term) to help mom through the intense parts of their birth. My strongest assets are physical forms of support, like counter pressure and supportive labour positions, but I’ve never felt so spent after doing a belly sift before! I’ve never put much thought into HOW I am performing these services for mom, but I think it’s about time that I do. Having lasting energy through an entire birth  process is crucial in order to do your best work. I also think speaking to a physiotherapist might shed some light on how to ensure what I do is body ergonomic.

Watching a birthing mother brings more passion and love than ever before

For any of my previous clients who know me, I’m definitely one to shed a tear when baby makes his/her entrance into the world. Watching a baby being born is one of life’s most miraculous sights! However, watching one while your hormones are at an all-time high brings on a whole new level of emotional fluctuations. I’ve never been so proud of a client and of myself for helping the clients get a birth experience that they will look back on with joy. Also watching that inevitable turning point, where the mother feels she can’t go on and having to bring her back and ensure her she can – I felt I was really able to shine at this moment with one of my infamous motivational talks. And you know what? A lot of it this time was me telling myself the same things that I want to hear before my own birth!

So being a pregnant doula is not an easy task, but all-in-all it’s so incredibly rewarding and humbling. When you start to have doubts in yourself, seeing other women do this amazing thing really restores your faith in female preserverence and heightens the importance of a strong connection with your partner. I can’t wait to return to supporting births in Edmonton once my mat leave ends!

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