Amanda, or the Zen Doula, as she is often referred to, shares information with us about the opportunity to have a doula for expectant moms.
WHAT IS A DOULA?
A doula is a nonmedical professional who is there to help parents navigate through birthing options. This service can range from birth to postpartum and lactation. The one point they are all very clear about is that a doula does not make medical decisions.
Over the past decade, doulas have changed how the birth experience is spoken about. Plus, Tricare covers up to six visits. If that is not progress, I don’t know what is.
WHAT DOES A DOULA DO?
So what do these women do?
They provide continuity, assist the parents in developing a birthing plan, and show the options available during the birth and hospital stay. They will help you share your preferences with the nurses and doctors (help you understand things can change). Plus, they are your voice for what is important to you and your partner throughout the birthing process. If you do not know the options available, you get the delivery that is the default for that particular hospital. The doula empowers parents throughout the birthing experience.
They will then guide you through your labor and, if she is certified in hypnobirthing – like Amanda, will guide you through relaxation techniques and breathing practices during childbirth that can assist in your comfort.
My favorite part of the service they provide is the postpartum care. Especially in the military, I would love to see all new moms find someone to support them through all the unknowns of going home with a newborn. Being able to ask a professional in your home if the terrifying color in your baby’s diaper is okay is genuine support. They can assist in listening to the mom and helping with lactation and feeding, and they will help get you on your way and out of the unknown of being a new mother.
SUPPORT JUST FOR YOU
I have known many military spouses who have had to give birth while their partner is deployed or away. The fact that this is available and provided by the military is a step in the right direction for supporting families. All the women who pushed for this high-value service to be taken seriously in the community are trailblazers for future military spouses.
When I gave birth almost 17 years ago, I had never heard of anything close to this kind of mother care. Amanda shares that in Japan, mothers stay in the hospital for 8-10 days after birth. In China, they go to recovery homes for up to 30 days – I gave birth to my second at 5:30 a.m. and was home by 4 p.m. on the same day. I can’t express my sincere joy that moms can have help from here on out.
Another unique part of this service was that the doula would help set realistic expectations for when mom and baby come home. This is also very helpful for the father or partner to understand the mother’s transformation and what she should and should not do as she heals. Especially important for C-sections.
If you would like to explore a doula in the military community, go to the Military Birth Resource Network to do some research. At 20 weeks pregnant, call Tricare and get a list of authorized doulas. Start interviewing to find the one that you connect best with.
Military moms have enough to deal with, and support like this is a welcomed asset in our community.
Missed registering for Session 1 and interested in signing up for IWS23 Session 2? Head here! Sign up for our newsletter to be one of the first to get information about future InDependent Wellness Summits!
Joanne Holbrook is a mother of two and spouse to a United States Army Officer who has moved every two years for the past 18 years. She has lived and raised her family in South Africa, England, Germany, Australia, and across the United States and is currently living in Hawaii. As a South African, combined with her world travels, including her 25 years of teaching in performing arts high schools, this has allowed Joanne to observe culture and parenting from
multiple international perspectives.
She is the author of the four-time award-winning book “Your Passport To Parenting,” which has been translated into multiple languages, and a professional keynote speaker, parenting course creator, and facilitator who shares parenting stories to help build positive, values-based families worldwide.
Sign up for her online course IGNITE – fire up your parenting spirit at https://yourpassporttoparenting.teachable.com/
OTHER IWS23 RECAP ARTICLES:
Day 1 – IWS23 Recap: Cultivating Empathy in Early Childhood with Shermaine Perry-Knights
Day 2 – l IWS23 Recap: Holistic Care for Teens with Dr. Amber Mattingly
Day 2 – IWS23 Recap: Parenting in Blended Families with Chaplain (LTC) Terrell Jones
Day 3 – IWS23 Recap: Adult Children and Extended Family Relationships with Corie Weathers, LPC