You may have come across this term recently, or even virtual doula as a more common way of describing a role that many doulas are turning to as the world is changing so rapidly.
Many women and families are being forced out of the hospital due to the Covid- 19 pandemic leaving women vulnerable and unsupported.
This means that many doulas have been forced to support their clients virtually.
I have been working virtually as a doula since 2017 and before all the craziness in the world started to happen.
I have worked in person and while it is really lovely to be in person with my clients I find that I am able to support & show up for my clients in a very different way when I do this virtually.
I focus heavily on emotional & mindset support in pregnancy to set my clients up to feel, heard, seen & supported through this sacred journey of freebirth.
As my clients are often highly sensitive souls, or empaths they often crave emotional support & guidance with someone they trust and connect with.
I do not attend births in person or virtually.
Providing knowledge so you can make better choices for you & and your baby
One of the many reasons I choose to work in this space is because of how was failed by the system.
Often, I was not given all the information and options that were available to me.
I found that others would make decisions on my behalf, and I would just unknowingly go with their plan.
So after reflecting on my journey, I decided that I wanted to be a light house for other women just like me.
And make sure that you have the information and knowledge available to make the right choices for your family!
And when I say the right choices, I mean you make the choices!
I don’t tell you what you should be doing or even try and encourage you to make the same choices that I would make.
This is your journey & you are the captain of your ship (as my friend Janet from Birthspace loves to say).
Highly sensitive people can be very susceptible to people pleasing and wanting to seek approval from outside of themselves as well.
And having the ability to pick up on the energy of others – which is why it is even more important to have someone who is non-judgemental hold space for you through this journey.
I work with women who will freebirth or homebirth and created resources to support you in your journey for free which you can check out here.
Supporting you to set boundaries & protect your birth bubble
One thing that that comes up time and time again with women that I work with is having to manage other people’s fears, worries and concerns around their birth choices.
This doesn’t just happen with women who are choosing to home birth, this happens with women who are choosing to hospital birth as well.
No matter where you birth you will always have someone who doesn’t agree with your choices.
And this follows on throughout parenting – which at times can just be suffocating.
I don’t want you to suffer from other people judgements, fears and concerns.
I want you to bloom into the amazing, powerful & courageous goddess you were born to be!
This starts off with protecting your pregnancy bubble and creating those strong foundations.
So that you’re not worried about other people’s fears or judgments and go ahead making choices that are aligned and comfortable for you.
If you are a highly sensitive person like me, you may find this very difficult to do.
This is why I know it is extra important that you have this support while navigating this path to being able to find your voice & step towards your goal of birthing your baby on your terms.
Discovering & unpacking fears
Fears are going to come up from time to time throughout your pregnancy. It just happens.
It’s important before your freebirth that you learn to identify them and unpack them as they happen.
You don’t want to go into your freebirth as a nervous nelly unsure if you are capable and allowing fear to cloud your judgement & intuition.
The goal isn’t to eliminate fear (I don’t think that’s healthy or natural for many people) but to acknowledge, talk about it, unpack it and work through your fear so that you have a plan and some sort of confidence if faced with that during your birth.
One of my fears was having a retained placenta and PPH. I didn’t really think about it too much during my pregnancy as I had what I deemed to be a suitable solution. I hired a doula to be present for that part of the birth.
I felt confident in my ability to vaginally birth my baby (even after two previous vaginal births) but I knew that this was for me the most dangerous part of birth and without experience of blood loss I did count on trusting someone else to identify this for me.
Ironically enough, the person I hired to help me identify a problem with bleeding may have been part of the reason for me having a retained placenta and pph.
But that was the solution I was comfortable having in my birth.
And while of course, I wish it didn’t happen (it wasn’t the best knock-on experience to have).
When it did I felt held and supported by my doula & the plan that we followed through with at the time.
What I’ve learned about birth is that we cannot control anything outside of our control – but we can work through and set ourselves up for the best birth experience possible through unpacking fears and planning.
I was told by someone that I must have manifested the PPH and retained placenta – but it may be a bit of surprise to you that I don’t believe that I manifested that event by giving energy to it.
More like the universe gave me what I needed to grow and reach where I am in my life (now supporting women in this way and having healed emotionally in hospital from past birth trauma).
Working a little differently to the traditional doula
One of things that I found great when I hired my doula, but also as a highly sensitive soul quite challenging was the amount of support available to me by my doula.
Usually, the standard doula contract has 1-3 antenatal appointments during pregnancy, and 24/7 phone support leaving it open to interpretation on how available a person really is.
I found that quite daunting as a highly sensitive not wanting to overstep boundaries and having to use my intuition to guide me on what I was allowed to do, or not do.
I didn’t want to intrude on personal time or disrupt other business activities that I knew she was busy with at the time.
When my doula didn’t contact me regularly, I felt neglected.
And because there was not a regular check-in when I did manage to muster the courage to reach out if she responded back with short, concise one liner texts I felt disconnected and unsupported even more.
Almost cementing that I wasn’t important, or I was annoying.
There were times in my freebirth journey that I was an emotional wreck. I just wanted to connect & talk through some of the fears and worries I had.
Looking back, it’s not surprising as a highly sensitive soul who needs deep connection and having experienced previous birth trauma this journey was a vulnerable one needing guidance & understanding from someone who knew how to support me the way I needed it.
This is why I work with my clients a little bit differently than the standard doula contract.
We have either weekly, fortnightly or monthly hourly video calls on Zoom. All of this is decided by the client in advance and can be adapted throughout our time together.
This gives space and time for my clients to deeply share what is happening for them at that time and deep dive into any fears or mindset challenges that are happening.
And this usually leads to birth knowledge & support as well. Talking about how psychological birth works and providing extra resources to build any gaps that need filling.
It’s a special connection & space holding time made available for each client (when my children are being supervised).
Checking in weekly to see how you are going
I check in with my clients weekly on a Monday to see how they are going after the week and weekend that has passed.
A lot can happen in a day with my clients just hearing a bad birth story or having a conversation with an unsupportive family member can often leave them feeling a bit shaken, needing gentle support & a listening ear.
It’s important that my clients know that I am always available and here to talk to which is why I offer support through Voxer App, allowing voice recordings so we can have mini conversations in between our hourly booked sessions.
There is also the text feature available for a quick reply when clients don’t need any support at the time.
I also let my clients know that the weekly check-ins are for their benefit and if they are busy or don’t need support, they don’t ever have to feel like they must reply right away.
Creating those safe & healthy boundaries.
To wrap up this this blog – What is a digital doula and why as a highly sensitive you would benefit from having one
- Providing knowledge so you can make better choices for you & and your baby
- Supporting you to set boundaries & protect your birth bubble
- Discovering & unpacking fears
- Working a little differently to the traditional doula
- Checking in weekly to see how you are going
I hope that this blog really helped you understand more about what is a digital doula and why as a highly sensitive you would benefit from having the support.
Feeling like you want more support?
Check out my free workshop this month – Freebirth as a highly sensitive: how to get the emotional & mindset support you need in pregnancy.
Until next time,