Hi .. I have a doula client (2nd HBAC, fourth baby) who, as we were discussing her birthing preferences, told me she'd really like me to use all my "doula tricks" and "bring the granola back to her birth." Ahhh! I'm a bit intimidated by that, as I'm not sure I can live up to her expectations. I've sort-of resigned myself to doing my very best, keeping in mind she's open to things we don't always get to do :-), but that if she's disappointed after my best effort, well ...

Any thoughts?

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Stephanie,
No need to be intimidated! One thing to keep in mind is that as your Mom is laboring, she will be open to your suggestions. Have a good talk with her, at one of your prenatal appointments, and bounce ideas off of each other. Most of all, trust your intuition as a Doula and as a woman! I'm sure that part of your Mom's desire to "bring the granola back", stems from her strong desire to have a very natural childbirth. If she is successful in that goal, she will be happy with all your hard work to help her get there.

Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Mandy in Denver
Hi Stephanie,
Don't worry, your client's comment probably comes from the natural qualities you already possess - that she has perceived from talking with you.
So be yourself, and I'm sure you'll be just what she needs in the moment!
Erin
I love "bring the granola back"-how hilarious! I think that this mom knows what she wants and she wants you! Don't doubt yourself-I'm sure you are going to be amazing. I find that really establishing a great relationship ahead of time to build that trust is so so key!
I once had a couple who were interviewing me tell me that they weren't sure a doula was right for them because they weren't very "granola." I was sitting there in my khakis and trendy t-shirt thinking I looked more like a Gap ad than granola, so I wasn't really sure what they were getting at. My tricks as a doula are pretty simple, mostly getting the mom in the right position depending on how things are going.

Amy
Mom to 3
www.sofiabean.com
I was really nervous about becoming a doula because I didn't want anyone to be disappointed with her birth! I wanted everything to be perfect and wonderful. I have since realized that I can only do so much. I need to be fully present for the mama and her partner, using all the techniques and positions I've learned about. And then after that, a lot depends on how the mama is doing, handling labor.

To "bring back the granola" would (IMO) mean to stay as hands off as possible. You help when it's necessary, but you let her do her thing otherwise. I think that's basically what doulas do, but it can be reassuring to tell the mama that our job is to let her labor as she sees fit, and that we're there to support her and only encourage change when necessary. Sometimes it can feel really liberating for those considering a doula to learn that we won't be there with a checklist, insisting on positions she doesn't like or using comfort measures that don't help. Yes, we do make suggestions and we do offer tips, but mostly I've found mamas end up doing their own thing and all I can do is support and encourage!
All this talk about granola is making me hungry! ha!

Here's a thought -- what if by using the terms "granola" and "doula tricks," this Mom means she wants your support and encouragement in using alternative methods of readying her body for labor (i.e. Red Raspberry Leaf tea and Evening Primrose Oil, perineal massage, etc). Doulas don't prescribe or offer these herbal methods, but we sure can talk about how they help! Also, she might want to hear your ideas on natural pain management, aka "tricks" like kissing during intense contractions (Go Ina May!), the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle, special positions, the use of a Rebozo, the list goes on... These are all very standard uses for most of us, but maybe from the outside looking in, they sound like exciting secret tricks!

Sounds like you are in for a fun experience with this Mom! Kudos for doing your very best. :)
Amy
NB Birth Doula

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