I have to admit, I’m one of those few people that didn’t fully understand the role of doula, let alone the benefits. And because we had our little one right at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, having a doula was not an option available to us.
But although our little one is already here, and not knowing what the future holds for our little growing family, I still wanted to take the opportunity to learn more about doulas. So I reached out to one of good friends from college, Jacqueline, who just so happens to be a certified doula and runs her own birthing service called JAH Birthing Services.
For those who may not know, could you explain what a doula is, and why are they important?
First off I want to say thank you for considering me and asking me to speak on Birth Work which is very near and dear to my heart. A doula is someone who has received child birth and education training, who administers mental, emotional, and physical support to birthing parents as they prepare for labor and assist in delivery. We provide guidance and information. We can specialize in a variety of additional practices that strengthen our birth work such as nutrition, lactation consulting, herbal medicine, massage therapy and even teaching. Doulas are your personal guide through the incredible journey that is pregnancy.
What made you decide to become one, and since doing so, what do you consider to be the most rewarding part of your work?
There are a variety of reasons I got into birth work, but what has stood out most prominently is wanting to help women have safe births. Birth mortality rates are exponentially higher for Black and Indigenous Americans. This means that their level of care and access to care is severely lacking. My goal is to close the gaps of inequities in labor and delivery safety for the women and children who need it.
The most rewarding part of my work is being a part of the welcoming parties for babies! I feel honored and privileged to share in those first moments with new parents.
What do you find to be the biggest misconception about doulas, and what advice would you have for those who harbor it?
I think the biggest hindrance or turn off can be cost, because people get sticker shock especially when they don’t understand our services. Doulas are champions of under-privileged communities and there are many organizations that offer low cost, no cost work. Doulas save lives, we greatly reduced the likelihood for Postpartum Depression and have been proven to help parents bond better with their babies. The greatest misconception about Doulas is that we are a luxury instead of a necessity.
Tell us more about JAH Birthing Services
JAH Birthing Services is a labor of love! Not only do I provide birthing services, I am currently building a learning platform as well as a companion skincare line formulated for the ultra sensitive skin of babies. The profits generated from my product sales will allow me the freedom to work with clients in a low cost/no cost capacity. It’s my belief that Doulas aren’t as effective when they have to pick clients based on how much they’re willing to pay. My mission is to educate my community on Holistic Birth Practices and self advocacy as a patient in the hospital system and a bunch of other topics relevant to new parents.
What final thoughts would you want to share?
I am hoping this new interest in Doulas will open people up to the many many options of birthing. I believe we have gotten so far from community birthing and it has cost lives and put many women at risk. In relearning how to birth with and through our community members we are bringing in people who are invested in our safety and well being and not just someone who sees us as another patient. Becoming a parent is one of the hardest jobs any of us will ever have and we need a proper team to get us trained and ready for first day orientation, Doulas are just that plus much more. We are here to help and want to make a difference.
To wrap up the piece I will share information JAH Birthing Services here (website and social media links)
To learn more about Jacqueline and JAH Birthing Services visit their website jahbirthing.com
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