Birth Sherpa

23 Mar

A Nepalese porter walks with his load from Everest base camp in Nepal

A Birth Sherpa is a doula who walks with you on this journey, climbing this mountain.  Birth is the beginning of a journey, and pregnancy is our time to prepare.  There are many things to consider, from where we’ll birth to which carseat to buy (and how to install it) to when to call your provider during labor.  Doulas can help with preparations, gathering information and supplies, and embarking!  We are well informed on all things baby.  If we don’t have the answers, we usually know where to find them.

A birth/labor doula is the team member who offers support throughout this journey.  She is available at 2am to assure you that this is a normal part of labor and offers ideas to try.  She joins you as you approach the Veil of active labor, remaining by your side.  She offers physical and emotional support when you need it, or holds space when you want hands off and quiet.

Early labor is often the longest part of labor.  This is the time that you should stay home to allow the hormones of labor to do their job.  Moms and partners may start to wonder if their labor pattern (or lack thereof) is normal, or what else they can do to encourage contractions.  A doula can offer phone support during this time!  She is the person you can call when you have questions.  It’s not always easy to get ahold of your care provider to ask questions, but your doula is available and ready for your call.

During labor, mothers make a shift from their everyday thinking brain, to a more serious, inwardly focused, primal brain.  She is aware of what is happening around her, but not engaged in it.  Partners are usually the ones getting information from providers, as the birth unfolds.  A doula can help form the right questions, and discern what is necessary and wanted.

After the birth, who will help you adjust to life with a newborn baby?  During prenatal visits, your doula will help you with postpartum planning.  If you know that you will need extra help, she’ll help you find a postpartum doula.

A doula is someone who walks you to the start of the journey, and keeps watch over the mother as she travels her path.  A doula can offer guidance and support, as a new family is born.  She is your Birth Sherpa.

 

Today marks the start of World Doula Week!  In honor of WDW 2015, I am participating in the World Doula Week 2015 Blog Challenge.  Check out the challenge’s home page to see what other doulas are writing about. The posts may have similar topics, but each writer’s style and flair will shine!

The first topic is ‘What is a Doula’?  Since I’ve written that here, let’s focus on other ways doulas support families during pregnancy, labor and postpartum.

**The term ‘Birth Sherpa’ was inspired by the fabulous Holly Barhamand.  Photo by Laurence Tan/Reuters.

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