Frequently Asked Questions
What is a birth doula?
A helper for the birthing person and their immediate support system.
What do you do?
What I do is different for every client. For some, it might be helping create the perfect birth plan, figuring out how your partner can help, what kinds of comfort measures I can help with, and a phone call after a difficult OB/GYN appointment. For others, it might be tapping into your fears of childbirth and dissecting them, learning how to trust your body and baby, sharing evidence based information regarding birth so that you can make informed and consented decisions, and creating a sacred space for your birthing time. And for every client, I will advocate for you, treat you with respect, and be there for you.
What differentiates you from other doulas?
I will advocate for you and put my body in between you and your provider if I foresee abuse. Believe it or not, this is controversial in the "doula world," and most doulas don't advocate or they think they're "not allowed" to because their certification organization said they couldn't. Which brings us to the next question...
Are you certified?
Nope. Doula certification isn't necessary. Doulas have been around longer (like, beginning-of-time longer) than these certification organizations.
"Wait, why isn't certification necessary? My doctor/Google said you needed to be to help me..."
Here's why it's not necessary: I'm not performing any medical exams or telling you what to do. I have no liability. I am your friend and helper. That's it.
"Ellyn, why did you decide to not get certified?"
After being DONA trained, I realized that I hold more power as a doula by not being certified. Most certification organizations are anti-advocacy. Some are not actively anti-racist. Most are expensive and require unnecessary annual fees. The biggest organization (DONA) was founded by old, white men. Nothing against old, white men, but who knows more about birth than old guys? (*insert sarcasm here*)
"Why won't you become a certified hospital doula? You'd help more birthing people that way."
If I work at a hospital, I am bound by the innately abusive and racist policies put in place. I will not use (and then lose) my power in that way.
"Wow, Ellyn. It sounds like you really hate hospitals..."
Not at all! Hospitals and OB/GYN care have their place during high-risk births. Interventions and surgical birth have saved and continue to save many birthing people and their children.
However, they have also harmed many birthing people and their children. I have experienced, witnessed, and read account after account of the abusive and racist policies and practices that victimize and traumatize birthing people and their children across the world (YES, even in America! Actually, especially in America). I have studied and witnessed the cascade of interventions that can and most often happens with medicalized birth. I will respect your decision to give birth in a hospital even if you don't have a high-risk birth. I will support you. But, if you haven't figured out yet, I will tell you how it is and share my knowledge with you so that you can make a fully informed and consented decision for your birthing time.
Will you support me if I am planning a hospital birth?
Yes. 100000% yes.
What are your interactions with my care team like?
I don’t speak for you if you are capable. You make the final decision regarding how your pregnancy, birthing time and postpartum goes. Only YOU have YOUR unique intuition of how to be your baby’s mother/parent. In any case, I will always help you to make empowering decisions for your care.