The word ‘Doula’ comes from the ancient Greek for ‘hand-maiden’.
A modern doula is a birth coach, mentor and assistant.
A mother herself, and sometimes a grandmother, the doula offers practical and moral support and advice to expectant and new parents, before, during and after childbirth. Doulas are professionally trained and have much, if not all the knowledge of a midwife (some doulas are retired midwives themselves).
Your doula does not replace your midwife but works in harmony with your midwife and other medical professionals. She supports both mother and father/partner. All doulas respect the partner’s role. The aim is not to undermine your partner, but to help them understand the process, so they know what to do and say at the crucial time. They can be the rock you need when baby finally decides to emerge.
For lone parents giving birth without the support of a partner, a doula is the best person to have in your corner. She will listen to your concerns and ensure that your wishes are met when you are in labour and unable to express them yourself. She will be like your surrogate mum – giving all the help and assistance you would expect from your own mum, but without the old wives tales!