It is the day your baby is introduced to this amazing world and your life, as the parent, is forever changed.
Nothing is more memorable for a woman than the moment she first holds and sees the precious, little person who has grown inside her the last nine months.
A mother will never forget her child’s birth!
If you’re visiting this site, chances are you’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of your unborn child. Congratulations!!!
Allow me to introduce myself
My name is Kristy Wise and I am a certified DONA International birth doula. I live near Nashville, TN and am available for any of the surrounding areas, including Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Mt. Juliet.
I am a mother to three fun and adorable kids. My first was a C-section due to a breech presentation, my second was an unmedicated VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), and my third was a home birth.
Each of my birth experiences were very different, which helps me relate to more women on a personal level. While they were all different, they were also all positive experiences, in part thanks to my doula.
After my second child was born, I realized how much I loved talking to women about their birth experiences. I also knew how tough the process of childbirth is, and I wanted to be able to help expecting families during one of the most exciting times in their lives.
As a doula, I would love the opportunity to help make your birth experience as wonderful as possible. As you will see below, there are many benefits to having a doula at your life-changing moment.
The Memory of Childbirth
Decades from now, a woman will remember the day her child was born. She will remember little details about the experience. She will remember the way she felt and was made to feel.
When a woman looks back on her birth experience, there is one factor that will have the most influence over whether she had a positive or negative memory of the day she met her beautiful child.
It’s not whether she had a vaginal or cesarean delivery. It’s not whether she had a hospital or home birth. And it isn’t due to her relationship with her care provider.
The single most important factor in how a woman perceives her birth is whether or not she felt she had a voice and was part of the decision-making.
As so often happens, if a woman is not aware of her options, the choices are made for her by either the care provider, the hospital staff, or her partner. Her wishes may be overlooked altogether or she may just not be aware that she has choices.
The best way for parents to know their options during labor and delivery is by preparing for the baby’s birth in advance, through childbirth classes or reading birth books. It’s also important to have a trusted care provider who is honest and open with their patients.
When a woman does not have a voice during labor, she is likely to feel out of control, scared, or desperate. Those memories stay with her the rest of her life and can cause grief and regret, even if her baby is perfectly healthy.
A voice gives a woman power over her birth. Her voice allows her the ability to say “yes” or “no” and the power to accept the direction her birth takes. Without this voice, she feels her wishes are unimportant and she is not valued.
Where Does a Doula Fit In?
The word doula is Greek and it means “woman caregiver.” Specifically, a birth doula is a professional labor companion and coach.
DONA International doulas are trained in the process of birth, understanding both the physiological side and the emotional needs of the pregnant woman.
There are many ways a doula can help, whether the birth is unmedicated, medicated, or even a C-section. She has many roles.
One of the roles of a doula is to be an advocate for the parents-to-be. She helps give them a voice.
During a birth, many things can happen that change the direction of labor and delivery. The doula helps equip parents with the right questions so they can know their options and make a decision accordingly.
There’s More Though
Advocacy is just one of the many ways a doula can help a couple during childbirth.
The hospital staff focuses primarily on the medical aspect of birth, ensuring the safety of the baby and mom. But the doula focuses on the emotional health of the mother.
Birth is as much of an emotional experience as it is physical, and the doula is trained in helping the woman cope with the emotional side of labor.
Doulas also know a plethora of comfort measures to help women during labor. Every birth is different and some comfort measures work while other don’t. She uses positions, massage, and other ways to help labor be easier for a mom.
Another role of doulas is to provide information to their clients. Before, during, and after the birth of the baby, the doula is available to give evidence-based, unbiased resources on any subject surrounding childbirth.
Overall, she is to available to help the parents-to-be in accomplishing the birth they desire. She stays with her clients throughout labor, delivery, and after the baby has been born.
She is trained in understanding the signs of labor and provides the necessary help during each labor stage.
What Does the Research Say?
It’s not just a theory that doulas benefit birth. Statistics have confirmed that women who choose to have a doula are:
- 28% less likely to have a cesarean section
- 31% less likely to use synthetic oxytocin to speed up labor
- 9% less likely to use any pain medication
- 34% less likely to rate their childbirth experience negatively
DONA Doula Boundaries
While there are so many wonderful things a doula does for the expecting mother and her partner, it is important to know what doulas DON’T do.
A DONA certified doula is not a medical professional and therefore will not do any medical procedures. These include:
- blood pressure checks
- temperature checks
- vaginal exams
- fetal heart tone checks
A DONA doula also does NOT make decisions for the parents. She has an objective role and will not push her preferences or opinions. Even if her clients decide to take a different route from their original birth plan, she is supportive and non-judgmental.
On the contrary, she is available to give information and resources that may help guide the parents in making decisions surrounding the birth.
A doula will NOT replace or lessen the dad’s role. Instead, a doula can greatly enhance his role during labor and help him feel more a part of the process, while relieving any stress and concern he may feel.
Finally, the doula does NOT speak for the mother or father when communicating with care providers and hospital staff. Instead, she will objectively show the parents their options when questions arise.
Many times a birth plan is altered and a doula can give advice on how to communicate with the care provider. Ultimately, she respects the parents’ voices, no matter what their decisions.
Why I Chose to Become a Nashville Doula
Birth has been my passion since I was pregnant with my first child in 2008. During that pregnancy, I was encouraged to read certain books and learn more about the process of labor and delivery.
I began to form my own ideas for my ideal birth and shape my own opinions of childbirth in general.
Since then, I have met many pregnant women and have had lots of discussions on the topic. I have noticed that most women simply want a birth that is best for their baby and themselves.
But so often they feel unsure and lack confidence in their ability to cope with the demands of labor.
There is a lot of fear surrounding childbirth, whether it be the fear of pain, the fear of a c-section, the fear that something will be wrong with the baby, etc.
Pregnant women are given lots of information from care providers, family, and friends. It can be overwhelming at times. But I believe that if women can perceive their bodies as strong, capable machines that know exactly what to do, then their fears will greatly diminish.
I believe that no matter how many books a couple reads or childbirth classes they attend, a doula is still an asset. Every labor is different and unpredictable, and the doula is a cross between your best friend and a nurse.
She’s knowledgeable in the ways of birth, but also gets to know her clients on a personal level.
A doula is experienced and can help expecting parents get through the process no matter what circumstances arise. She is their own personal and professional coach who is with them every step of the way.
I would love to meet you and hear your story and plan for your birth! And I would love to see you through it, and help you achieve the most beautiful, memorable experience possible.
Kristy Wise, CD(DONA)