When I told my friends back home in the states that I went to an appointment with a doula, they said, “What’s a doula?” A couple of months ago, I would have said the exact same thing!
A doula is part of a support system for the mother and her partner during childbirth. The idea is to provide physical, emotional, and informational support throughout the labour, birth, and period immediately following. Doulas give the mother the confidence needed to make it through a very new and potentially overwhelming experience. Some mothers have reported experiencing labours that are shorter and that have had fewer complications.
Kathy Kitzis is a doula, massage therapist, Calmbirth Educator, and Infant Massage Instructor, located in Central; when I entered her office, she greeted me with a warm smile, immediately putting me at ease. We discussed my pregnancy thus far and my wishes for my upcoming birth. I shared my anxieties and worries, which she assured me are completely normal! I told her that my parents are planning to fly over from the States to help, and how my husband was going to put his travelling on hold to make sure he could be with me on this special day. However, when Kathy asked me what type of birth I envisioned having, I really couldn’t tell her!
Up until now, I hadn’t given a lot of thought to the whole birthing process. I kept thinking… oh, I still have a lot of time before baby comes. But as the weeks are flying by, I’m realizing there is not much time left! As a way to help me become more informed, Kathy suggested I sit in on Bellytalk. Bellytalk is a group run by Kathy and some other doulas. The group is geared toward expecting moms, who get together to talk about their pregnancies and plans for their upcoming births. At each session, a mom comes to share her positive birth experience.
Sitting and listening to the other women who have the same questions and concerns as me was very reassuring. I found most of the moms-to-be in the group are choosing to have a natural birth. I’m not sure if this is the route I will be taking, but it’s both interesting and enlightening to listen to the reasoning behind their chosen methods, and what they are doing to prepare themselves for the big day.
When I left Bellytalk, I felt better informed and more confident. Although I haven’t yet decided on my birth plan, I have some ideas and a larger support network to help me through this wonderful event in my life!
Future Bellytalks will be held on Thursday, March 29 and April 19 from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Kathy’s office, Room 202, Ivy House, 18-20 Wyndham Street, Central. Want to get your partner involved? There is a Dads/Partners Bellytalk planned for April 27, 7-8pm! Bellytalks cost $100.
If you think you might be interested in learning more about doulas, come join us at a free screening of Doula! The Ultimate Birth Companion. It’s a 65-minute documentary about doulas and their part in pregnancy, birth, and the first few weeks. Doula screening sessions are Tuesday, March 20from 7-9pm and Thursday, March 22 from 3-5pm at Room 202, Ivy House, 18-20 Wyndham Street, Central
If you are interested in any of the events, please RSVP via email to [email protected] or call 6340 4687. RSVP soon, as space is limited!