A bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine, and some great re-runs on Netflix. Doulas are increasingly being mentioned in popular TV series such as Bones, Frasier, Brooklyn nine-nine, and Gilmore Girls. While I couldn’t be happier about the increasing awareness that Hollywood, my husband always laughs when I begin to cringe and yell at the misconceptions.

Enjoy your sitcoms, and laugh at those moments, knowing that we don’t do that.

Doulas are not like Midwives

Midwives are more like doctors. They have years of specialised training within a university which prepares them for the expected and unexpected medical moments within pregnancy and childbirth. Midwives attend births at home, in birth centres, and in hospitals.

The training that is taken to become a doula is a drop in the bucket compared to that of a midwife. We are not equipped to recognise the signs of maternal or fetal distress, and could never replace a midwife, nurse, or doctor.

Doulas work aside our clients medical birth professionals. Professionals doulas never overstep their boundaries or scope of practice.  While the midwives or doctors carefully watch their patients to ensure a safe labour and delivery, doulas stand with the clients to bring physical comfort, educational understanding, and unwavering confidence.

Doulas are not Hippies

Well, maybe some of us are more natural minded, but when it comes to our career, we leave our beliefs at the door and focus on our clients. During our prenatal appointments, we connect with the expecting individual and their partner by learning how they interact with each other. We learn about what they expect from their childbirth experience.

By learning their hopes, dreams, and fears, doulas are capable of moulding into their client’s story, without taking over the experience. Birth doulas can provide a professional support system to their clients without bringing their own beliefs and habits into the room.

Our clients can feel confident that we will not have the candles lit and the flower headbands out for a chant circle during labour – unless, of course, that is what our clients wish.

Doulas Do Not Replace your Partner

The expecting individual knows their body, the partner knows their loved one, and doulas know birth. When all three are placed in a room, magic often happens. During labour, a doula watches how the partner and labouring person interact with each other and builds on their unique bond to enhance their experiences.

A labour doula’s goal is to help ease the worries of their clients in the room, and create a space where everyone can thrive confidently in their roles.

Five years down the road, when the couple looks back on their birth experience, we want them to believe that the hero in the story, is each other.

Doulas Do Not Discriminate on Types of Birth

A professional doula will support a caesarean birth as seamlessly as they would attend a vaginal birth. They will cheer for an epidural as quickly as they would be there for their clients through a non-medical birth.

A birth doula’s main objective is to support our clients through all the decisions that they make before, during, and after labour.

How did your landmark moments begin? Your doula is there to listen to your story; whether it began by traditional methods, IUI, IVF, egg or sperm donation, or surrogacy. Your pride and joy will be honoured and celebrated as your new family is born.

By Terra Landmark, the original Landmark Doula