At doula workshops, we contemplate doing vs. being…. Doula beginning with the word DO. I am suggesting that we become Be-las – practicing the art of being present and allowing the birthing woman and her partner to lead with their inner wisdom and with their connection to their baby, who will guide us all in the path to a safe, satisfying and pleasurable birth.
Enjoy the tips in this blog as well as this Skype chat with Bridget Baker of Doula UK, which was part of the EDN annual meeting.
Here are my Top 10 Be-La Tips!
1. Disconnect and Connect. Turn off your cell phone and remove any impulse to text or engage in social media. Provide your full focus to the mother and the environment.
“We need to talk about how cell phones…. So I’m sitting in the corner and what’s the difference between my iphone and knitting needles? Personally, I think there is a huge difference and I believe that when a mother can feel you are engaged with something else. Knitting is different, you can be on auto-pilot knitting, moving needles and yarn while staying actively engaged with her, you are still present with the mother.” – Debra Pascali-Bonaro
2. Release all your expectations, judgments and your own challenges…. Leave all your baggage at the door in order to enter a woman’s birthing space with unconditional acceptance, peace, and love. Your role is to emit and encourage the energy of love, oxytocin, and it can’t flow easily with obstacles in the way- including your own.
“Your peace becomes the mother’s peace. Your calm becomes her calm. She is giving birth, you are attending. Her space is sacred. You will know when you need to act but most of the time you will knit.” – Midwifery Digest
3. Breathe and Practice Your Path to divinity, connecting to the sacred wisdom within – your intuition.
4. Create peaceful, sacred birth ambiance with lights, sounds, smells….
5. Silence is Golden. Women remember forever how you made them feel with your unspoken language – with your eyes, body language, heartfelt intentions. When the time is right, provide gentle touch, sharing your love, respect and trust of birth for each MotherBaby, father and/or partner. Check in with the messages your eyes hands heart and body are speaking, as they are louder than words.
“After the birth (the parents) would thank me profoundly and all I did was sit in the corner knitting, and they would say ‘I couldn’t have done it without you.’ And I would say ‘I did nothing! You did everything!’ and the response was, your presence, your smile, your nod, let us know that we were doing good and that’s all that we needed was someone to hold that space and believe in us and that we could do it.” – Debra Pascali-Bonaro
6. Use a Language of Power, Health, Strength, Sensuality & Pleasure. In using this language, remember to honor the challenges as they are part of any rite of passage. The heroine journey is not devoid of pain and challenges. It is the depth of our challenges that allow us to stretch and grow and discover new strengths and wisdom within. Be-las honor the journey by our trust – providing respect, dignity and support with unconditional love.
7. Be Ever Present. Continuous support is key! It is okay to tend to your basic needs and care for yourself, via using the bathroom and having a snack, but once the mother is trusting you to be present, she will rely you on a primal level so it is important to stay present.
8. Follow & Don’t Lead. In following with your trust and belief in her and birth, she will become the birthing goddess. As Ina May Gaskin says, “If a woman doesn’t look like a Goddess during birth then someone isn’t treating her right.”
9. Don’t Become a Doula-Drug by replacing her hormones and wisdom with yours. As much as we wish we can take the shortcut, like helping the butterfly out of its cocoon, doing so will often make it impossible for the butterfly to fly, as its wings need the struggle to be born to fly. Like birth, being present, holding the space for the all that is needed to be born, allows each MotherBaby to fully stretch and strengthen their wings.
10. Provide Comfort Measures as Last Resort – after all the above are in place. Holding a hand, using touch, acupressure, rebozo, changing positions and techniques when they have outlasted effectiveness (or every 30 minutes when things are not progressing). Gently guide and follow the mother as she finds her path from Pain to Power.
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Doulas and partners give the gift of being, so women can do the powerful work of giving birth #doulabeing #birthkeeper #birthdoula
Doula vs Be-la, how do you describe your role as doula? #doulalife #doula #doularole
#Doula Love, Be + Love equals Bela #bela