In today’s frantic lifestyle, we have moved away from the communities and villages of the past. For some, this is advancement and technology goes hand in hand with this progress. For others there is a sense of loss and disconnect as we try to keep it all together on our own.
When a woman is of childbearing age this paradox is heightened and she feels that she has to brave this new, unsettling, and mysterious world alone. A mother-to-be may find that her personal choices for childbirth are met with skepticism and disbelief. Instead of a sisterhood that supports her in her personal choice, she is faced with guilt, fear and a foreboding sense of duty.
In the past women were celebrated when the fruit of their fertility was announced
In the past women were celebrated when the fruit of their fertility was announced. Women gathered to share positive, encouraging stories. A mother-to-be would be pampered and honoured. She would feel blessed and loved. As she moved through her pregnancy various women would begin to assume special roles in her life. Her mother, her aunts and sisters would all be there to guide and support her. Not once would she feel isolated or rejected.
She would receive the education she needed from those she trusted and all the advice given would be for her best interest. As the time for birth drew near she would call upon these special wise women in her circle to gather around her to create another protective space that only those who had walked this path before her were allowed to enter. During her birth she would be massaged and all her needs would be attended to. She would be mothered by these wise and compassionate women and in the deepest and darkest moments when the mother-to-be felt that she couldn’t go on, all she would need to do was to look around her and see the trust and belief in each pair of eyes supporting her. These women who served her would never leave her and not falter in their care for her till she had her baby in her arms warm and snug.
What is a woman confronted with today?
For the most part she will have her partner to support her and she will be confronted with medical jargon that cloaks birth in a mysterious but all too fearful shroud. What happened to the wise women of the past? Surely the advancement of technology should carry with it all that has worked before and improve upon that. It would seem that the baby got thrown out with the bath water on this one! More and more women are finding themselves alone and scared through this marvelous process.
A doula is that trusted person to give you the information that you need and the support you want
All is not lost as there is a return to those sage and useful ways of the past. There are women that are empathic and wise, that hold the space for a laboring woman. These women are known as doulas, from the old Greek word meaning women who serve women. A doula is that trusted person to give you the information that you need and the support you want. She will get to know you during your pregnancy and then be with you and your partner through the labour and birth of your child.
She will aid the fathers or partners on how to assist the mother therefore strengthening the bond between the new emerging mother and her partner. She is there to assist with the birth of this new family and doesn’t take over the partner’s role but rather compliments it. Each doula has her own skills and she may massage the mother who is tired or she may breathe each contraction with the labouring women when things get really intense. Even in the event of a caesarean birth the doula can be there to reassure and support the new parents that all is well. Whatever your doula does for you her goal is to leave behind her a family that is strong and loving that grow together in the knowledge that they are supported and cherished.
Holding the labouring mother in unconditional love
is the best gift a doula can give.”
Pam England – author of ‘Birthing From Within’
Rosalia Pihlajasaari is a professional Doula and is also a Birthing From Within mentor. She also trains doulas in South Africa and is currently apprenticing through Birthing From Within as an international facilitator.
Rosalia has attended over 150 births as a professional doula and she has supported woman in natural, home, caesarean and medicalized births. She is also a qualified Montessori teacher and is currently studying psychology through UNISA.
Rosalia’s philosophy is to create awareness surrounding birth to empower women with the information they need in order to make informed decisions. She is also a VBACtivist and promotes supporting women attempting vaginal birth after caesarean (VBAC).
Rosalia Pihlajasaari may be contacted by
Cell phone: 082 780 8965
Work line: 011 646 3774