Let me share the power of a witness and why people giving birth need one. People giving birth feel a certain kind of way. And I’m not talking as much about what it feels like to give birth physically (that’s another post) as I am referring to what the emotional journey is like. It feels like, “wow!” There truly is no adequate language to describe it! It can be a combination of, “Oh my… what just happened?” and “I did that!” and “Oh my… what next?” A witness to birth has “knowledge of the event or change from personal observation or experience.” “Someone who is witness to something sees it.” “A person … who promises to tell the truth and answers questions about something that was seen or is known.” So I’m not just talking about any witness. I’m not talking about your co-parent/partner, or your friends or family members, or your medical providers. I am talking about someone outside of your immediate social circle who is a non-clinical birth specialist: a birth doula. If you are looking for information about my specific approach, take a look at my upcoming Hypnobabies class in northern Virginia.
The simplicity of birth doula support is what makes it so difficult to understand culturally. Why do we need to pay doulas a hefty sum to simply show up to our births when the room is already full of people?
When you’ve been through a powerful event of any kind: a birth, a death, an accident, whether expected or unexpected, you want a witness by your side who understands fully what they have seen. You also want someone who validates your experience. That is something a skilled birth doula does well. It helps to lessen the intensity of the “Oh my… what just happened?” Birth doulas also celebrate with you! We add to your joy of “I did that!” We remind you how amazing your capabilities are. We support you in what you are already equipped to do, which is necessary because birthing and parenting can be so challenging! The experience can also be easy and joyful with some helpful preparation. It is usually going to be a unique combination of challenges and joys. And so birth doulas also help you with “Oh my… what next?” We stay in touch with you after your baby is born to direct you to helpful resources and check on you to see how your adjustment is going. We can even continue to support you as a postpartum doula, to help you get more rest and nourishing foods and to help you build confidence for the ins and outs of caring for a newborn.
And so the value of having a birth doula with you in a professional capacity, being outside your social circle, is that we are not having our own experience and emotions related to a close relationship with you. We are also not focused on clinical or medical concerns. This allows us to stay laser-focused on what YOU are feeling and experiencing. So a witness may be a simple role to fulfill but it is a powerful one. If you are looking for a northern Virginia birth doula I’d be happy to chat with you!