I understand birth as a right of passage, where both the parents and the child are transitioned, changed and born. Pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding are normal events in life, yet they involve stepping into the unknown. I feel the key components to a successful birth experience are for the woman and those surrounding her to feel safe, confident, loved, and well informed so that they may make the decisions that are right for their family. Like a domino effect, this contributes to satisfying memories, a sense of empowerment, stable bonding, secure children and that flows outwards into society as a whole.
What is a doula?
The word "doula" is from the Greek language, meaning "woman's servant " or "a woman who serves." Today the word doula describes a trained professional with a unique role in the birth environment. This is a non-medical role which offers physical, emotional and informational support to the labouring woman and her family throughout pregnancy, birth and early postpartum.
Studies have shown that with a doula in attendance, labours are shorter with less complications and interventions, and their babies are healthier with fewer breastfeeding issues.
If the husband or other loved ones are present at a birth, they are equally supported by the doula. She can offer them ideas to give the mother optimal support, relieve them whenever a break is needed, help them communicate better with the staff and validate their feelings.
A metaphor I like to use in describing a doula is that she is like a lighthouse. The voyageur feels reassured just in knowing the lighthouse is there. Although they have to complete the journey in their own time and way, they won't be without some extra light along the way.
My name is Rebecca Smaaslet and I am a certified birth doula serving the Prince George area. I have given birth to four little people. My first delivery was emotionally challenging and left me feeling far from “empowered”. My husband and I were exhausted and did not have enough knowledgeable support through those crucial hours. I became extremely curious to know why some women explain their births as painful and others go as far as to say they felt ecstatic -yes, even pain free! This question and all the studying and training surrounding it has lead me to become a doula.
I have attended births as a doula since 2007 and completed my certification in 2009 through DONA International. My second, third and fourth birth experiences were the very opposite from my first. We realized our strength and had a phenomenal support team by our sides with each. I experienced the intensity very differently and I believe this is possible for others as well. Since becoming a doula I have assisted families through a wide variety of different birth stories and environments. In the past I have trained in various programs such as Spinning Babies, Rebozo, Pacific Postpartum, Grief Walk, and various breastfeeding and postpartum courses. In the past I have also trained and volunteered at a local crisis pregnancy center. I have a deep love of learning and strive for continuous education in all areas surrounding family life from fertility to parenting.
I support women who want non-medicated as well as medicated births. My ultimate goal is to provide fluid, non-judgemental support so that women may find and draw on their inner strength throughout the entire childbearing cycle.