As doulas everywhere are navigating a new way of support during this COVID 19 pandemic, it just so happens to be World Doula Week. I am hearing about doulas not allowed in hospitals, and MotherBaby being separated, and a rise in inductions which often leads to cesarean section.
The truth is that all of these interventions are harmful. We have such limited data about pregnancy and COVID 19. My heart is heavy. I can feel the collective tears and sadness.
What is the appropriate response to all of this? As I thought about this when I went to bed last night, I was reminded of the Doula Oath. I first read this in the early 1990s. The author, as far as I know, is anonymous. It seems appropriate to share this, for the doulas that need a reminder, and for the doulas who may not have seen this before.
I believe that we can all be the light, and bring hope, and calm to the current situation. We can do this whether we are physically connected or not. Our collective doula conscious is powerful when we come together.
Doulas everywhere are courageous, and are an example of love and selflessness. It is also okay if you are a doula and you need to practice self-care, or take care of your own children and family.
Here is the Doula Oath that I always read together with my students, when I did live postpartum doula training. I took it online several years ago. I have always been ahead of my time in many respects.
The Doula Oath gave us all a sense of closure to the training, and a path forward, each in our own doula journey.
May you find meaning and hope for yourself and other with these words.
I, __________________, solemnly pledge my support and my
Allegiance to new mothers and their families.
I will strive diligently to assist women
To experience a positive and successful transition from
Womanhood to Motherhood.
Such that there might be healthy infants and strong families.
Where there is fear, I shall bring some light.
Where there is despair, I shall bring some hope.
Where there is ignorance, I shall bring some understanding.
Where there is difficulty, I shall be an advocate.
Where there is loneliness, I shall be a friend, and
Where there is reluctance, I shall be a companion.
I recognize the confidential nature of my tasks
And promise to uphold high ethical standards in the
Performance of my duty. I shall remain loyal to the
Philosophy of doula care and do all in my power
To ensure its success.
May we empower ourselves and the work we do with these words.
Sharing my knowledge and wisdom about all things birth