Childbirth Companion

Doula Care & Educational Support


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New Beginnings

Posted by Stephanie Hayes on January 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Ten years ago when I began my doula career, I never dreamed of all the different places I would work, people I would meet, and births I would attend.  I have learned so much from other professionals, but also from the women who have allowed me the privlege of traveling alongside them through their individual journeys into motherhood.  I have been blessed to have witnessed and be a part of the miracle of birth many times over!  And each time I marvel again at God's great design.  Since my beginnings as a doula, I faced new challenges and delights, put down roots, and grown as an individual in ways I would not have imagined. 

Now my family has embarked on a journey of our own.  Jobs have changed and those roots have been pulled up to be transplanted to a new area.  This past summer we relocated to the beautiful Muskoka Lakes district.  Along with realizing our dream of country living and soaking up the beauty of God's amazing creation (okay, I could do without the black flies and mosquitoes!), comes the responsibilities of daily life and the nurturing of our tender roots as we settle into our new community. 

Re-establishing my business reminds me in some ways of labour.  It can be rather daunting, discouraging, and hard work at times, but there is also much excitement and enthusiasm in the discovery of new beginnings!  I am looking forward to meeting new clients and providing the doula opportunity to Gravenhurst and the surrounding communities.  If you are interested in learning more about how you may benefit from doula care or childbirth education and how these services can be customized to meet your individual needs, contact me for more information or to arrange for a consultation with no obligation. 

I want to thank all my former clients for their willingness to include me in their personal birth experiences.  Each one was unique and each baby a delightful little blessing!  My years in Tillsonburg will always hold a special fondness in my heart for the diverse opportunities I was afforded and for many treasured relationships that blossomed.  I look forward to more of the same up here in Muskoka as we move into new beginnings.

Doulas as a Part of Your Birth

Posted by Stephanie Hayes on July 17, 2010 at 10:12 PM

The norm in our modern birthing society has the majority of women heading to the hospital where they will labour and give birth under the care of doctors and nurses. In the thousands of years of civilization, it has only been a matter of decades in which hospital birth has become the accepted and expected. In the early 1900’s, most babies were born at home and labouring women were supported by other women who cared for them until they were able to regain their strength and resume their daily activities.

Although we are seeing resurgence toward home birth and an increasingly high demand for midwives, most births continue to take place within the hospital environment. Away from the comfort and familiarity of their homes (the traditional birth place) and separated from their friends and family (their traditional supporters), women turn to their nurses and midwives for the care, support, and comfort that they crave. Traditionally midwives and nurses have offered continuous hands-on “mothering of the mother” and spent much of their time focused on the emotional well-being and physical comfort of the labouring woman. However, our regulated society of policies, procedures, paperwork and short-staffing now leaves many of these maternity care providers frustrated with the lack of time available to offer such one-on-one care. This in turn has led women to look elsewhere to fill the gap, and the age-old art of women caring for women has been revived in the modern form of a doula.

The term doula (doo-lah) is a Greek word which has come to describe women who are trained and experienced in childbirth and in providing non-medical care and support to women throughout their labour and birth. The presence and support of a doula has been repeatedly proven in numerous studies to reduce the incidence of interventions, caesareans, and the use of pain medication. Women were reported to experience shortened labours, to express greater satisfaction with their births, and to have a reduced likelihood of developing postpartum depression. They also tended to bond better with their babies who were less likely to have difficulty with breastfeeding.

Typically a doula will meet with the couple prior to the onset of labour. This enables the couple to get to know her and to discuss their options and desires for their birth. During labour the birth doula provides a continuous presence and support, and offers the couple with assistance in techniques that can increase progress and provide comfort to the mother. After the baby has arrived, the doula can provide guidance with breastfeeding as well as postpartum support in the family’s home. Birth doulas are diverse in their work environments, attending births in hospitals or homes, and working with doctors, nurses and midwives. Some doulas have obtained specialized education in the postpartum field and will offer their services as a postpartum doula, helping the mother with her baby and around the home as she transitions into her “new normal”.


Written by:  Stephanie Hayes CD(DONA), CPE - July 12, 2010