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When the storm is full on
And the ocean waves soar
And you start to lose your bearings
Afraid to get tumbled and drown
Out comes a loving hand
Gently guiding you surf the waves
With ease and grace
Using your breath as a sail
Taking you all the way to the calmer turquoise waters
Where the dolphin dance...
The word, "doula," comes from the ancient Greece, a word used for the most important female servant in a household,
the wise, compassionate woman who also helped the lady of the house through her childbearing.
In our days it's meaning refers to "A woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the mother before, during and just after childbirth." (Klaus, Kennell and Klaus, Mothering the Mother)
Some like to call her 'birth angel or 'birth fairy', or simply 'pregnant mom's best friend'.
Doula in our modern terms implies a wise female, who selflessly nurtures and protects the birthing mother/ couple throughout pregnancy, process of birthing and postpartum. She does not carry medical responsibility as midwife would, yet she's knowledgeable in herbs, healing, massage, yoga and other wellbeing modalities that enhance the woman's (couple's) childbearing experience. Whether at home, birthing center or hospital settings doula will protect the busy birthing mama/pair, doing the best to create a harmonious space and ensuring their desired birth plan is being followed.
Giving birth is the continuum/opposite end of lovemaking: Having received a seed in her fertile womb She's now bringing for the fruit of their love. Just like in lovemaking, the more she can open the more profound (and in case of birth easy flowing, complications free) experience. Woman's ease of birth depends on her feelings of comfort, safety, ability to relax, to open. Over and over it's been shown that a mere continuous presence of another 'sister woman' during birthing shortens the duration of labor increases, the effectiveness of contractions, lessens the experience of pain, and the need for interventions. It is as if just the mere physical presence of a kindred spirit would give the laboring mother a source of strength and optimism, acknowledgment that 'everything is all right', the necessary element for surrendering the marvelous force of birth. Doula is a wise woman specially prepared for providing loving, nurturing support to the birthing mother (couple) and in the often challenging weeks to follow.
It was the profound, elating experience of birthing my children has inspired me to become a doula. To this day I will cherish the beautiful, spiritually illuminating memories of bringing a new being into the world, of of which arose yearning for every woman having the opportunity to experience the kind of beautiful, empowering, ecstatic birth nature made her for, and every baby to be welcomed to the world with joy, love and tenderness.