An invitation and a giveaway!
A doula is a labor attendant; someone who offers support through the process of labor and delivery. Doulas provide comfort techniques, they can often prevent unnecessary interventions, and when interventions do become necessary, they can help the mother continue to understand the process of her labor, stay in control and work through most side effects. Doulas work in hospitals, birth centers, and in home births. They do not replace midwives, nurses, or doctors, but offer the laboring mother much more personal care than these birth professionals can offer. Mothers find doulas often by word of mouth, or by websites that offer doula directories. Doulas are generally trained and prepared to work in birth situations in which the outcome is expected to be a live baby.
I am a doula. I am also an adoption doula, and, more to the point, I am a pregnancy loss doula.
I used a great deal of my doula training and skills to create many aspects of this website. It is extremely important to me that mothers feel validated through the process of loss, and that we are recognized as having children, real children, who have lived, have died, and who need to be born. Because doulas have such experience with labor, I felt that it would serve a tremendous benefit to include doulas in this website, as it gives the pregnancy loss mom the sense of connection to other mothers, to other labor experiences. I wrote out a handbook, providing an outline of how I see pregnancy loss support to be necessary, and set out to find doulas willing to see this need in the way that I do.
In the process, I have discovered that there are doulas everywhere who have longed to offer this sort of support, some already offering it, and some wanting to learn more. We have created an online group, where we get the chance to come together and offer each other encouragement and information. We are trained in labor support, and we each have a heart to provide love, compassion and validation to any mother experiencing the miscarriage or the stillbirth of her baby.
To recognize the importance of pregnancy loss doula support, Bg&Co of New York generously donated a beautiful designer birthing gown to stillbirthday.
When a mother plans to deliver her stillborn baby, she recognizes that the process from the birth to the funeral, will be the one and only family reunion that will include the physical presence of her baby. Trying to find comfort during the labor is extremely challenging. After the birth, the couple often include many extended family members to come and enjoy the time with the baby, holding the baby, singing, talking, bathing, photographing the baby, whether the baby is alive for a short time or has already died.
After what is likely an extremely overwhelming labor, the mom most often tries to look and feel as refreshed as she possibly can, to try to capture memories with the family that hold all of her feelings…her grief, her sadness, but also her love and delight over her baby. With all of these factors combined, it is often overlooked but is important that the mom feel pleased with her appearance. Having a lovely designer gown that offers full cover, has a designer feel, and is lovely to wear, can make any mom in labor feel refreshed and confident in her appearance. I suggest that every doula providing pregnancy loss support create fundraising in their communities to raise funds to have at least one of these gowns available at all times, and I would suggest to any mom preparing for her stillbirth and looking to find ways to make the event of meeting her baby more personal to purchase one of these lovely birthing gowns. Again, it’s also another validating experience, having a real birthing gown to deliver your very real baby.
In addition to having doulas listed here at stillbirthday from every state, I am pleased to announce that we also have doulas listed here internationally! Doulas everywhere are realizing the need to offer support through pregnancy loss.
One doula listed here was randomly selected to win the gown donated by Bg&Co.
I want to tell each of the doulas listed here that I am extremely thankful to each of you for joining me in this effort of providing support through such an important time.
The doula selected is Becca Pencak, offering pregnancy loss support in Illinois.