From Bump to Baby: Setting Healthy Expectations of Your Birth Doula
A successful partnership with your birth doula is built upon transparency and trust. It also starts with clearly defined expectations of how we’ll support you and what kind of boundaries we have to maintain our healthy relationship. The purpose of this post is to help you understand what realistic expectations look like, specifically with a Cherry Blossom Doula.
Below we’ll explore:
1) How we support you, and what you can expect of your birth doula, and
2) Our expectations of our clients throughout this process
Birth doula expectations
What can you expect of your Cherry Blossom birth doula? We think this is one of the best questions that you can ask! Your birth doula’s role is to provide unbiased resources, knowledge, support, compassion, encouragement and love throughout your pregnancy, ensuring you feel confident and well-informed entering labor. Additionally, your birth doula will suggest additional classes that may be supportive of your journey, such as VBAC education, basic child birth education and/or hypnobirthing (we’re big fans), breastfeeding or lactation ed. and more.
Is it time for labor? Throughout your pregnancy and birth, your doula serves as your advocate – empowering you to speak up about your choices. Your birth doula is also mindful of your birth preferences, partnering with you and/or your partner in offering hands-on support and comfort measures, too.
We like for our clients to know that maintaining healthy boundaries is crucial for effective doula support. While we offer unbiased assistance, we are not qualified to be your therapist, marriage counselor, or best friend. Instead, your birth doula is more like that wise auntie who shows up when you need them the most with undivided attention. Once your baby is here, we do support you of course. But often, we’ll have your postpartum doula or support system take over after a short time – since the birth space is our specialty. All this to say, we commit to holding healthy boundaries, and we invite you to do the same.
What is needed from me as a birth client?
Effective communication during your pregnancy is crucial. While client-doula relationships differ based on individual needs and communication styles, we expect our clients to take the lead in reaching out to their birth doula with updates (though we’ll check in on you, as well). This may involve checking in after each prenatal appointment, sharing milestones, asking questions related to prenatal care, seeking resources for informed decisions, or expressing any concerns you may have.
We are committed to supporting our birth clients. And, we want to hear from you! If you have questions or unmet needs, our desire is for you to bring them to our attention promptly so that we can provide you with love and support throughout your prenatal and birth journey. Although we are not medical professionals and do not provide medical advice, we can offer resources to help you make empowered decisions.
Some simple communication expectations for our clients include:
- Assume the best of your birth doula – your birth doula is on call 24/7; this means we may not have standard waking hours. If we don’t respond promptly, please follow up, and we’ll do the same for you!
- Ask for what you need – we trust you to communicate your needs, so we can offer the appropriate support. Let us know if you require more connection time with your doula.
What does this do for you as the mother or birthing person? During labor, effective communication enhances our collaboration. When we’ve established healthy communication during pregnancy, labor communication is much more easeful.
Do you need a birth doula?
The short answer in most scenarios is yes! Birth outcomes are better with a birth doula, though we do often express to our clients that your doula cannot be more invested in your birth than you. Investing in your experience matters. While doula support complements childbirth education, it does not replace it. Prepare your heart, body, and mind for this transformative experience. Get educated about childbirth through reading and classes to provide a foundation. Once you have a better understanding of labor and birth, it will be much easier for your doula to navigate interventions with you, remind you of what you’ve already learned, and facilitate informed decision-making.
Looking for support? Send us a message and we’ll get back to you with more information about our team, who’s available to support you, and more of what to expect from our time together.
Hi! I’m Alyssa Leon. I lead Cherry Blossom Doula Services, LLC – an inclusive birth + postpartum doula team in Arizona; and mentor doulas in Arizona and beyond.