Fudu, originally from California, USA, completed her Village Doula training in Johannesburg and supplemented her studies with a lactation course, as well as ongoing professional development forums and workshops. She is also a credentialed teacher and holds a degree in community studies from Cal State Long Beach and the University of California Santa Cruz.
Doula at Birth
Fudu said she had the help of a doula at the births of both her children. “My doula helped make my pregnancy, labour and birth a very empowering and positive experience. When I struggled to breastfeed, she was there to assist me,” said Fudu.
Apart from a doula, women can also choose their mother or a close friend to assist during the birth of their babies.
“Our loved ones are usually very happy to help but they carry their energy, experiences and expectations into the mother’s space. I find mothers need to find their own direction and doula’s help to facilitate this. A doula is trained to remain neutral and focused on supporting the mother, her hopes and plans.”
A Doula’s Role
Fudu said her role is to support a mother emotionally and physically in a non-medical way. Doulas work with pregnant women by assisting them with correct and complete information during their pregnancy.
“There is a lot of information readily available but unfortunately this information doesn’t always highlight all birthing options and choices a woman deserves to know about.”
A doula also helps the mother to work through any fears, trauma and misinformation she has about birth. This ensures that she is confident on the day she has to give birth. She will also be prepared for whatever turn of events may follow and will feel empowered and happy about the choices she makes.
Care and Education
Some doulas only do prenatal care and education; others assist with labour and birth, whereas some only assist with postnatal care. Fudu said she assists women during the pre-natal period, labour, birth, as well as provide post-natal care.
She believes, from extensive research and personal experience, that a natural delivery is the safest and most fulfilling type of birth. “When a woman has learned to trust her abilities to birth, to work with her contractions and play an active role in her labour and birth process, she experiences an amazing sense of accomplishment and pride.”
Choosing a doula is a personal choice but can have a significant impact on the outcome of birth. A doulacan help the mother achieve a powerful and fulfilling birth experience.