What is a Doula / Birthkeeper?

 

Stemming from Greek, the word doula means „ women’s servant” and is a role in assisting women during the process of childbirth which has been around for centuries. Having a doula is becoming more and more popular as statistics continue to show the enormous benefits to women due to the continuous emotional, physical, spiritual and informational support before, during childbirth and in the time following.

Coined by the late Jeannine Parvati Baker – the term “birthkeeper”refers to a woman who not only supports a mother during pregnancy, the birth and the time after but even more importantly, encourages women to know their rights, empower themselves with knowledge to ensure that we as women are claiming our responsibility, welcoming babies as gently and powerfully into the world as possible.

Although there is wonderful progress being made as a result of the backlash of a heavily medicalized approach to birth which often results in time pressures, interventions and (not always necessary) caesarean sections, many doulas are still finding themselves being ethically confronted when women are placed under pressure in the hospital system and the results are far removed from what they wished for.

As doulas we support women in their right to choose to birth exactly as they wish, wherever they wish, however in choosing to call ourselves Birthkeepers, it is our highest priority to make sure women are fully informed about their responsibility to their children, communities and Mother Earth to trust their innate ability to birth naturally where possible.

This passion to empower women to birth consciously is beautifully and articulately described in Michelle Carnochan’s Blog “Epiphany” at Quickening.id.au