It may be your first birth. It may be your tenth. But sooner or later, you will have that marathon birth. The thirty hour birth they tell legends about, the birth that you will be processing for weeks, the birth that balances out the shorter ones. This is the beauty and the difficulty of doula support: there are no shift changes. Your continued presence is so valuable to provide continuity to a family who is working long and hard to meet their baby through a rotating cast of care providers, nurses, position changes, comfort measures, and more. The family will be blessed to have you, and you will know you made a difference. But that doesn't make it any easier to recover, especially after the birth feelings wear off, and you're at home, tired, with a crazy messy house, maybe crazy children, and there's not enough coffee in the world!Read More
Guest post by McRae Brittingham of Aunt McRae's New Family Support. McRae is a postpartum doula, breastfeeding peer counselor and child passenger safety technician. Read more about McRae here
With input from Amy Washington, postpartum doula of Mom4Hire, & Erica Angert, postpartum doula of Erica the Doula, LLC.
This is a two part series. This week, we'll be talking about recovering from a long night as a postpartum doula. Next week, we'll tackle recovering from a long birth. If you want to learn about a day in the life of a postpartum doula, click here.Read More
I feel like the hardest part of doulaing (if I can turn that into a verb) is doing nothing. Many of us, myself included, feel that urge to do something when labor is going. Sometimes, though, the best thing to do during labor is to hold that space.
What is holding space?
Holding space doesn't mean inaction. Sometimes it can be coupled with massage or hand holding or talking. However, many times it is almost literal in the sense that one can hold space simply by being near someone.Read More
Brandy Buckel shares her inspirational birth story in this week's blog post. We thought it was beautiful to read! Thank you, Brandy, for allowing us to share your story with the world!
If you'd like to share your birth story on the RD blog, please email it to us at email@example.com, along with a few photos. We are looking for all kinds of birth stories to help normalize any kind of birthing experience in RVA!
Being a plus sized girl, when I was pregnant I was already overweight. I was 4'11 at 185lbs and wore a size 16. I didn't care about my weight when thinking about how I wanted to labor; it wasn't even an issue but I found out quick while at my first visit to the birthing center that weight DOES matter. I was told if my BMI hit 50 I wouldn't be able to labor at the center. I KNEW i wouldn't hit that but it still kind of hurt to hear.Read More
You mean, you just go to a birth when you’re called? What do you do with your kids? What about work?
For a lot of people, it’s not sustainable to just up and leave your job responsibilities and/or leave your kids with someone to go to a birth. Childcare and job responsibilities are the number one reason why there is such high turnover in doula work. Maybe as this profession grows, we’ll figure out other models that allow more people to enter and stay in this field—perhaps a pregnant person would hire a team of doulas who take turns being on call. But for now, most doulas work on the model of being on call 24/7 for their clients. On one hand, this consistency and certainty that the person you've built a relationship with will attend your birth is one of the reasons why, I think, doula presence can be so effective. But on the other hand, while being invited into a birth space is a sacred invitation, the logistics are not always easy to arrange. This blog post will explore how to make the logisitics of being on call 24/7 a little easier.
This is a two part blog post. Part One will explore the resiliency of your children, and how to prepare and reunite with your kids. Part Two will explore different options for resources on where to drop your kids--other doulas, your friends/family/neighbors, your partner, paid childcare. Stay tuned and join the conversation!Read More
Sarah is a kind and knowledgeable woman who brings so much to the birth community. She is dedicated and so passionate about this work. If you're pregnant, take some time to sit down with her and chat and find out if she has any availability for birth!
She is the tenth doula featured for Who is Richmond Doulas. If you want more info on what the series is about, click here.
So you're pregnant and considering hiring a doula. Maybe you knew all about doulas for months before you were expecting or maybe this is all new to you! You know that you're inviting this person into your birth space and those first few vulnerable and sweet weeks postpartum...what should you consider when hiring them?
What is more important: how many births they've attended, what kind of training and certifications they have? Or their personality and whether you vibe with them? Of course their fee has a lot to do with your decision. If you qualify for Medicaid and are located in Richmond, be sure to check out Urban Baby Beginnings to connect with a volunteer birth or postpartum doula. (You can self refer on their website).
If you're able to afford the standard birth doula fee of $500-1000 or postpartum fee of $25/hour, you can find yourself with a long list of potential available doulas! (If you have questions about the cost of a birth doula, check out this blog post where we talk about getting covered by insurance and other questions about what goes into a birth doula fees.)
We asked some of our members (many of whom entered the birth world by hiring their own doula for their pregnancies) what they think is important to consider when hiring a birth or postpartum doula. Here are their four major themes to consider.
As doulas, we consider being hired an honor, and we know that being invited into this time of your life is a very special decision!Read More
Truly, this is what you are paying for. Presence. A birth doula is ready to join you and your family for your birth at any time of day or night. Birth doulas answer your email, your text, your phone call, your question. We are here for you.
Until insurance and Medicaid catch up to the amazing work that parents and birth doulas have been doing together for the last thirty years, we appreciate clients' partnership in navigating this ever evolving market. Humans have been supporting each other at birth for as long as we have been giving birth. But professional labor support is rather new in the long view of things! Controversies and uncertainties over fees, whether doula services are a luxury or should be accessible to all, even at a doula's expense, whether we should charge extra for longer births, or charge less for precipitous labors, what to charge as we gain experience--all of these discussions are just evidence of our profession's ever evolving growth and push towards legitimacy. Just like in pregnancy and postpartum, there is sure to be uncertainty, questions and discussions as we evolve and grow. Thank you for walking this path with us, as we walk your path with you.Read More
Guest Post: Music Therapy and Birth
by: Megan Martin, MA, MT-BC
Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth Clinician
Healing Sounds RVA
Imagine this: you're pregnant and you're nervous. Maybe you're nervous about labor and delivery. Maybe you're nervous about bonding with your baby. Maybe, you've heard stories about birth and newborn babies that have made you afraid. Pregnancy. Birth. Newborns. These are all words that bring enormous amounts of excitement and an enormous amount of fear to women. There are a lot of resources and strategies available for women these days to help you have a healthy pregnancy, a low-intervention birth, and support in those first months post-partum. One resource is not as well known- music therapy.Read More
Mothers and women, this one is for you!
No sleep, weary to the point of tears, stained shirt, messy bun, piles of dishes and laundry. The kids calling you every time you go to sit or eat. In fact, when was the last time you ate? Showered? What on earth happened to your other sock?
People like to talk about motherhood as beautiful, angelic, where you look amazing in leggings, messy bun, and still find time to put on a smidge of makeup. Not everyone will talk about the time you realize you only shaved one leg in the shower, and forgot the knee cap on the other leg. Or how your oldest child mentions the dark circles under your eyes.Read More
"You are already doing what you are telling me you can’t do! You ARE strong enough."
Business Name: All Things Doula
Services: Certified birth doula, twice-trained postpartum doulaBirth Doula, DONA
Years in practice: 6.5|
Number of births attended: 93 ( 95 by the end of the year)What is your fee? $875 / this fee varies by military discount, etc.
Sarah is kind, competent, friendly and so knowledgeable about all things birth! If you're pregnant, do yourself a favor and set up a time to sit down with this knowledgeable and compassionate woman. New to Richmond this year, I think she is such an asset to our birth community! She never hesitates to reach out for support from the birth community, and also is so generous with sharing her own wisdom and is supportive of newer doulas in the area.
She is the ninth doula featured for Who is Richmond Doulas. If you want more info on what the series is about, click here.Read More
Hunter has a wonderful presence, bringing a compassionate and supportive energy to a room. I feel like she must bring such a calming, reassuring and yet joyful presence to the families she supports in labor. In this following interview, you'll get to learn more about this empathetic and competent birth doula.
She is the eighth doula featured for Who is Richmond Doulas. If you want more info on what the series is about, click here.Read More
Richmond is a wonderful place to be on call! There are so many fun things to do within city limits or within an hour of Richmond if you can afford a day trip. And cell phone service doesn't fade out in Richmond like it might in some mountain cities.
There are judgment calls--it's hard to promise my sons anything in advance because I am not going to head an hour out of town if a client has had contractions all night, has been advised by their care provider to take castor oil, or just texts me that she has gastrointestinal upset and moodiness. My kids will probably grow up thinking their mother is a super spontaneous person who loves last minute day trips! "Guess what, we're going to York River today!" I'm sure they think the idea just struck me, instead of it being planned but not promised for a week.
Still though, if you can afford a day trip, you have solid child care set up so you won't need time to find a sitter, and all is quiet, the list below may give you some ideas!
Here are some of my favorite places to go within an hour of Richmond.Read More
Business Name: clarity postpartum
Services: daytime postpartum doula, DONA
Years in practice: 2
Claire is such a lovely woman and I can only imagine the quiet and thoughtful attention she pays to her postpartum clients. She is very knowledgeable, competent, professional and warm. In the following interview, you'll get to learn more about this nurturing mother and doula.
She is the seventh doula featured for Who is Richmond Doulas. If you want more info on what the series is about, click here.Read More
Services: Birth Doula; Acupressure; Rebozo
Years in Business: 4
Max clients per month: 2
Clients served: 28
What drew you to doula work?
I went to childbirth education classes at A Brighter Birth and found my doula through them. Her help was invaluable to my husband and me. Even with an unsupportive environment during my first birth, I felt a difference. I’m pretty sure my doula helped me avoid a cesarean. After my second birth I was hooked on anything birthy: books, research, everything. The more I learned, the more I realized that doulas helped to improve birth. Plus, they were there supporting families in such incredible moments. It really is amazing and humbling to be invited to such intimate times.Read More
What do postpartum doulas do? You can read about the benefits here and if you’re interested in becoming one, there is a great training coming to Richmond in November. But what might a typical 3-4 hour shift look like?
This entry describes a typical four hour day shift in the life of a postpartum doula. Overnights are very different! Stay tuned for "Night in the Life of a Postpartum Doula."
*This is a fictional client to protect privacy.*
My client’s baby is six days old and she has two older girls, a five year old and a three year old. I met her prenatally for an hour to get to know her, to meet her girls and to get familiar with her house and where everything is. She signed up for a twenty hour package. When her new baby boy is born, she emails me a picture and I send her congratulations and a list of my availability for the coming month. She picks out five shifts of four hours each.Read More
Ruth is a source of wisdom for the birth community and the family she serves. She goes out of her way to advocate for doulas in Richmond and to mentor new doulas. In the following interview, you’ll get to learn more about this nurturing and knowledgeable woman.Read More
"I don't need a doula, because I'm getting an epidural! In fact, I may ask for one as soon as I walk off the elevator!"
"What would a doula even do once an epidural is in place?"
"I don't want a natural birth. Aren't doulas a little...you know...hippy? Aren't they all about no drugs at all?"
I'm pretty sure that every doula has heard some variety of the above. There are many different misconceptions about doulas. For instance, I'm pretty sure there's a certain percentage of the population that thinks we all smell like patchouli and throw essential oils all over the room when women are laboring. Others combine our job description with that of a midwife's. And, of course, others think that the only reason someone would hire a doula would be to help with a completely drug-free, "natural" birth at home or in a hospital.
Here's the secret: a few doulas smell like patchouli (because they love patchouli perfume), no one throws essential oils anywhere, and women who want "natural" births hire us....and women who want the most textbook, medicated births hire us as well. Essentially, there's a doula for everyone.Read More
"Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we're supposed to be and embracing who we are." -Brené Brown
Business Name: Encourage Doula Services
Services: Postpartum Doula (DONA)
Years in practice: 3
Families Served: 20+
When meeting April for the first time, I noticed her positive energy. She came to my Centering Pregnancy group to introduce us to the idea of postpartum doulas when I was pregnant with my second son, and I remember thinking how lovely it would be to have her in my home. She is a source of sunlight in a room and a lovely person to spend time with. I can imagine her bringing a sense of quiet joy to a family's postpartum period. In the following interview, you’ll get to learn more about this knowledgeable, competent and kind woman.
She is the fifth doula featured for Who is Richmond Doulas. If you want more info on what the series is about, click here.Read More