Dear Doulas: Please Stop Scaring Your Clients!

Professional Support 

Dear Doulas: Please Stop Scaring Your Clients!

Doula Support During a Public Health Crisis

by Celeste Kraft - The Birth Mentor on 03/25/20

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital administrators are having to make tough decisions in an attempt to halt the spread of the coronavirus. One of these decisions has been to limit the number of people entering their doors—including doulas.


These decisions are not made lightly and don't reflect a lack of understanding of patient rights or an ignorance of the documented benefits of doula care. And they certainly don't reflect a disregard for patient concerns or birth experiences! 


These drastic measures are merely a reflection of the drastic times facing our nation!


While this may be understandably distressing to a client who spent weeks or months finding and hiring a professional birth doula, this is a time when the “emotional support” component of doula work can really shine! 

Doulas are adept at helping their clients deal with the unexpected, and now is no different! Doulas around the world are calmly helping their clients adjust to changes in how they envisioned their birth. And doulas have quickly adapted their services so they can still provide support—virtually! 

In contrast, some doulas have responded quite differently to this move to protect the health and safety of patients, healthcare workers, and the community. They have declared--unequivocally--that these changes WILL cause more interventions, more birth trauma, and more perinatal mood disorders such as depression and PTSD. End of discussion.


Instead of instilling confidence and decreasing fear in expectant parents, they are inadvertently instilling fear and decreasing confidence


To these doulas I would like to say:


Please stop!

Stop projecting trauma and negativity onto birthing families!


This is a stressful and vulnerable enough time even when there’s NOT a pandemic going on. Regardless of your stand on the ethics of doulas offering in-person support during this time, I think we can all agree that now is not the time to contribute to the fear and stress of a person about to give birth!


If your client is convinced they'll have a horrible birth unless you are present, then you might want to consider these questions: 


  • Have you built up their self-confidence or is all their confidence in you? 


  • Have you helped them develop a trusting relationship with a provider or have you fostered a distrust of all providers so they're scared to death of giving birth without you?


  • Have you helped them find their voice or have you promised to speak for them?  


  • Have you given them unbiased information about interventions and all their options or have you only given them select information that fits your birth philosophy?  


  • Have you helped them find their power so they have the strength to face the unknowns of labor and birth or have you made them feel like they can't possibly face it without you?


Part of our job as doulas is to help clients navigate changes to their birth plan. Whether the change is due to a prenatal diagnosis, a labor complication, or a pandemic, our job is to remain calm and unbiased, not to get up in arms.

It's not about us or what we think of the change in plans. It's about helping them have a positive experience even with the changes. Even if those changes include the absence of their doula or--worse yet--their partner!


I am not saying birth trauma is not real. But if the time some doulas spent rallying, demanding our "rights”, stirring up fear, and projecting trauma onto clients was instead spent on helping clients find their strength, own their power, use their voice, and walk into this experience with confidence, there’d be no worry about them being traumatized by even a major shift in their birth plan--like a pandemic!


So, dear doulas, can we please focus on what we do best…providing unbiased, non-judgmental support to our clients? Virtual services may not be ideal, but in this less-than-ideal season, it can go a long way in helping our clients feel empowered and reach their goals! 

Know What Can Be REALLY Spooky???

by Celeste Kraft - The Birth Mentor on 10/30/17

Q:  What's scarier than ghosts and goblins???

A:  Bringing home one of these:

Ask any new or seasoned parent, and they’ll tell you that while these cute little creatures look innocent enough, they come with the power to turn parents into zombies! 

Fortunately, there are some things you can do beforehand to make life easier when your “lil' punkin” arrives!

Following are three easy steps to consider while preparing for life after baby...

1.   Make a Plan.  

Most expectant parents spend months planning their baby’s birthday, but give little thought to after the birth.  While preparing for your child’s birth is very important (to mother and baby) even more important is planning for the days, weeks, and months to come.

Things to consider:   What are realistic expectations to have after a baby?  Expectations of yourself, your partner, and your baby?  How will your roles change?  Who will be responsible for what?  Who will do chores like cleaning, shopping, laundry, and meal prep?  What’s normal newborn behavior?  Who will get up when the baby cries?  How often should your baby eat, pee, and poo?  How will you know if they’re eating enough or sleeping enough?  How will you ensure that YOU’RE eating enough and sleeping enough?   

Once you’ve assessed your needs…

2.  Recruit your team

Write down a list of friends and family members who will support you and help keep you alive during the early weeks of life with your new human. 

Things to consider:  Are the people on your support team Helpers or Holders? 

Helpers are people who want to DO something, who thrive on helping in practical ways.  Still need a crib put together?  Wishing your laundry would disappear and come back clean and folded?  Can’t find your kitchen sink?  Talk to the Helpers in your life now and see what kind of availability they can offer after baby comes (and maybe even before!).  When someone says, “Let me know if you need anything” be prepared!  Say, “Well actually, these are some things I’m going to need…how would you like to help?”  (Hey, they asked!) 

Holders are those whose idea of helping is coming over to get baby snuggles.  Or maybe they’d like to help in more practical ways but are physically unable.  Regardless, Holders are looking forward to holding and loving on your baby!  Most babies go through a period of increased crying from around three to six weeks of age.  This happens to coincide with the time many women are wanting to start doing more for themselves again…if only baby didn’t need to constantly be held!  This is the perfect time to call in the Holders!  While they may be disappointed at not getting holding time early on, it’s important in the first few weeks for parents to have lots of skin-to-skin bonding time with their baby.  But when baby hits that fussier phase, the soothing techniques your Holders have been itching to share and those extra sets of loving arms will be put to good use. 

3. Consider calling in a professional.

Things to consider:  Is the luxury of friends and family at your beck and call just that…a luxury?  (Or a pipe dream?)

Perhaps they live too far away or their own work and family schedules won’t allow them to help to the extent that they’d like (or that you need).  Or maybe there are plenty of people who want to help, but coordinating all that help is a logistical nightmare when all you can think of is sleep!  Regardless of the scenario, consider the services of a professional Postpartum and Infant Care Doula.  

Postpartum Doulas calm fussy babies 
AND worried parents.  

Postpartum & Infant Care Doulas calm fussy babies AND worried parents.  We insure parents have a chance to shower, eat, and nap.  We're available to answer questions and help parents gain confidence in caring for their new baby (or babies).  We can help with tasks to keep the household running smoothly and can even help parents get more sleep at night.  (Even if baby is breastfed!)  A Postpartum and Infant Care Doula can also coordinate your Helpers and Holders so you’re tapping into all the resources available to you and getting the support you need, when you need it.

While Postpartum and Infant Care Doulas don’t come with a magic wand, the sense of calm and reassurance we bring might make you think we're casting spells!  

Give us a call to see how we can work magic with your family! 


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