One of the most common questions we receive on a doula interview in Washington D.C. is ‘What do you bring with you to a birth?’
Families interviewing doulas like this question because our bag represents the tangible. It represents tools, structure and vision. These concepts can be powerful for you when trying to grasp how you will work through the process of birth and your postpartum period. It may also help you envision how your doula will accompany you along that journey.
Though every doula is different, the answers heard are often similar. For a birth doula, the commonly included items include massage oil, battery operated candles, or a rebozo – various tools that may help you find comfort during your labor. Some people prefer to rent specific tools such as a birth pool or TENS unit. Your doula will also carry some personal items including snacks, toiletries and a sweater.
Postpartum doulas often receive a similar question and maybe surprisingly, the answer is also similar. We bring with us things that may help us as you navigate parenthood and learn what tools work best for you and your family. Looking into our bags during a postpartum shift, you may also find few personal items for us to use in time we are supporting you.
Tools serve a purpose and we often use them; however, by focusing on the tools we carry and the information we offer, we are providing a false sense of power. Tools and instruction can do nothing alone. The power behind doula support is in the intangible.
So what do we really bring with us?
Relief. That feeling you have when you are overwhelmed and someone you trust walks through the door at just the right time.
Reliability. The ability to relax because you know things will be taken care of.
Comfort. That memory from your youth when your mom brushed the hair out of your face with her hand.
Foresight. Not having to ask for water when you're thirsty because it is being offered.
Dedication. We are in it with you, until the end. We want your success, however you define it, and will help you learn as you go.
Knowledge. Family. Community. Companionship. Friendship. Security. Insurance. There are so many things we provide that don’t come in a box or a bag. We share these things in our touch, our smile, our laugh and our skills. So go ahead and ask what we bring with us when we work! Let us explain why the only thing you need is us by your side, with our proverbial birth bag filled with expertise you can't find anywhere else. We look forward to supporting your journey into parenthood!