Lifeline: Free Doula Support from Birth For Humankind

Farzana, daughter and doula. Photography: Birth For Humankind.

This World Doula Week, Birth for Humankind is raising moolah for doulas to support pregnant women across Melbourne who would otherwise have little to no support. Can you help them? Visit their mycause page for more information about their work and to donate.

Imagine, even just for a moment, what it would be like to give birth in a country where you know no one.

You don’t understand the language or health care system.

You don’t have friends, family or support networks around you.

Maybe you are trying to find a house or have escaped a violent relationship.

Your baby’s impending birth is bringing up past physical and emotional trauma.

You are filled with fear and anxiety.

And then someone told you that you could have someone by your side, in your corner, and holding your hand through your pregnancy, at your birth, and during those precious first few weeks as a new mother.

Her name is Doula.

Doulas offer women emotional and practical support and information during pregnancy, birth and early parenting.

They provide an important and valuable service for all women, but especially for the women and families in our community who can’t or don’t access the maternal health services they need for a healthy and safe pregnancy and birth.

So how can we ensure that every woman, regardless of her socio-economic circumstances, has the support of a doula if she wants one?

Melbourne-based non-profit organisation Birth for Humankind is doing just that. They provide free doula support to women experiencing social and economic disadvantage who are at risk of poor maternal health outcomes.

“We have supported some of the most resilient and courageous women you can imagine. Women who’re having their second babies in Melbourne with the support of our doulas after having their first baby in detention. We’ve supported women birthing while their partners are still overseas unable to get a visa. Or women who are living in refuges during their pregnancy after escaping violent relationships. This service is nothing short of remarkable and I feel so proud to be part of it,” says Programs Manager Jen Branscombe.

60% of the women Birth for Humankind has supported in the last year are from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. 14% are experiencing homelessness or housing uncertainty during their pregnancy. 63% are experiencing or at-risk of experiencing perinatal anxiety and depression. Two in every three women do not have a support person. All are experiencing poverty or extreme financial hardship. None would have doula support if it weren’t for this organisation and its team of highly skilled volunteer doulas.

Birth for Humankind‘s doula service becomes a lifeline to women who otherwise would have little to no support during this critical time.

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