Christina's Baby Journey: Finding a doula
"Doula" is the Greek word for "woman's servant." Amber Roman has four children. After her second birth , she said she she felt disappointed that she had "flown by the seat of her pants" during labor and delivery.
She said, "for me personally, I felt like I had given my power away."
Amber said that's when she began studying to become a doula. "A doula is a professional support person. We're not medical personnel. We're there for educating and emotional support. We don't play the role of a doctor or a midwife. A lot of people get confused with that."
Amber works with moms prenatally, all through labor, and postpartum. She's attended 99 births. Amber said her job is to give families an extra layer of support.
"I kinda considered Amber my personal cheerleader," said Tawnya Smith. She was one of Amber's clients. She wanted to have a natural birth, but when Trevor went almost two weeks past his due date, Tawnya worried that would change.
She said, "I was induced the previous day at midnight, and he was born the next day around dinner time, so she was there for a good 48 hours."
Amber stayed, helping Tawnya position, walk the halls, and stay positive. She says she's careful to help and anticipate needs, not take a father's place.
Amber said, "I think dads should be an integral part of the labor room. They're very, very necessary, but they're programmed and wired differently and they should be able to enjoy the process."
Amber said another pair of neutral female eyes and hands can make a huge difference in comfort for birthing moms.
"I'll notice that maybe your lips are chapped, and that you need a cool wash cloth on your face, and he may not be cluing into that at all."
Amber also organizes weekly mom and baby groups for clients, and has a Facebook group where her new moms can support each other. She also visits clients to help with breastfeeding. Local doula costs range from anywhere from $ 400 to $1000. Tawnya says the calm and reassuring presence Amber brought was well worth it.
Tawnya said "Having Amber there at the birth, mentally prepared me to go through it and do it and I did."