As a birth and postpartum doula in Auckland, New Zealand, Sarah the Doula supports and guides women to trust in their bodies and believe that they can have the birth experience they want. As well as providing comfort and pain techniques including breathing, massage and labour positions, she offers support and reassurance to birthing partners.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
As a mother of three and an early childhood teacher, I understand the demands and stresses that arise when babies join families. There are many changes and challenges, not only during labour and the birth of a new baby, but when you leave the hospital and you need to navigate your way into parenthood. I thought to myself there must be a different way! I kept hearing the word doula, and after researching the role of a doula I thought, “I can do that”. So, I guess being a doula found me.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
Understanding I could make an incredible difference to how women sourced their knowledge about the birthing process. To be able to give them the tools to cope with the birth of their child and to offer support during the postpartum period. Mental health is a huge problem and postpartum depression can go undetected. Communication and support during this period, when many women feel isolated and exhausted, is vital and watching for signs and recognising when more professional help is needed.
I see my role as that of being support at this time, to listen, for Mum to debrief to about her birthing experience, to tell her that she is doing a great job and to “mother the mother!”. Educating and encouraging the partner to maybe watch for uncharacteristic signs is vital also.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I am incredibly lucky to have such amazing family and friends who support me constantly with their love, energy and belief in me. You can’t underestimate great food, family dinners, and drinks with friends. I enjoy daily walks, Pilates or yoga. I am also a bit of a mindfulness junkie.
The drive: what challenges have you overcome?
Covid-19 has certainly been a challenge for many professions, but doulas are really struggling to continue the care and support that is so desperately needed!
The Future: What next?
One of the things I do in my job as a doula is to help parents improve their confidence – confidence in overcoming any preconceptions or barriers that they may have about birth and the weeks postpartum. I make sure that they know their choices, and educate them so that they can be confident they have the knowledge they need to be comfortable about changing direction when and if they must. I empower parents with confidence to trust in the way that they want their birth to look. Things change, and being able to adapt will help them achieve better, happier outcomes. A birth might not end up being the way it was first envisaged; babies do have a habit of coming when and how they decide!