With less than 10% of Australian women having the same medical professionals through pregnancy and birth, a doula can bring continuity and fill the gap. But what is a doula?
From the Greek word meaning ‘servant of a woman’, a doula is a trained birth support companion who provides practical and emotional support and information to a woman during pregnancy, birth and early parenting.
World Doula Week was celebrated last week, from 22-28 March, to empower doulas all over the world to improve the physiological, social, emotional, and psychological health of women, newborns and families in birth and in the postpartum period.
Birth for Humankind is a small non-profit organisation, a collection of caring doulas, that provide free birth support and education to women experiencing social and economic disadvantage.
A little over six years ago a young, an intelligent and brave woman named Carly became pregnant. She was new to Victoria, in a relatively new relationship and had also recently lost her mother. Her social worker at the Royal Women’s Hospital introduced her to Mei Lai Swan, a trained doula who had offered to volunteer for any young woman who might be in need of the extra support a doula can provide. A few months later, with Mei Lai by her side, Carly gave birth to a beautiful baby boy.
It was following such a mutually enriching experience that Mei Lai (pictured left) founded Birth for Humankind to ensure a service like this was available on a broader scale. Birth for Humankind believe that healthier mums = healthier families = thriving communities and work toward supporting that mission.
Following World Doula Week last month, we say a big thank you to Mei Lai, the team at Birth for Humankind and all the doulas around the world supporting women at this critical and special time in their lives.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.