This article was originally published in May 2013, by Rhonda Fisher.
S.* is a CPO girl who recently gave birth and placed her daughter for adoption. Even though she had already had 2 children previously, she listened to the advice of others and chose to have a doula during her most recent birth experience. She is very glad she did! She describes her experience with Marlita, one of the doulas provided by CPO, “It was way better than a husband or boyfriend could ever be, hahaha. She got me everything I needed, she walked around with me… she was there with me for like, EIGHT hours! She held my hand, she stayed in the room the whole time. She was just… a good support, the WHOLE time. Even afterward, she made sure I was okay. Basically, she was awesome.”
Marlita has been a volunteer with CPO for ten years, a professional doula for eleven. She also serves as an assistant director of adoption.
When asked to explain the job of a doula, Marlita says: “Doulas provide physical support (massage, ice chips, restroom breaks), emotional support (answering questions, assuring the laboring mother that all is well) and informational support (explaining those ever-present monitor alarms, translating medical jargon).”
CPO has four doulas, three of which actively attend support groups to allow the girls to get to know them. It is good that there are several options because that gives the girls the ability to choose based on several factors, most importantly which personality will put them most at ease in the delivery room. They are available to assist both girls planning for adoption and those intending to parent. Once a girl chooses a doula, they get together at least once to make a plan for the ideal birth, to discuss what to expect at the hospital (especially in adoption situations, where so much is different), and they are encouraged to attend a childbirth class (another of Marlita’s duties). Best of all, the doula becomes available to the girl 24/7. Doulas are on call for middle-of-the-night questions and concerns, and willing to go to any doctor appointments if needed.
S finished her interview with some words that could probably be echoed by all CPO girls who have chosen to embrace the presence of a doula. “Everybody should have a doula. Everybody.”
This is a description of just one of hundreds of doula-attended CPO birthing experiences. It is further proof that CPO is doing everything they can to assist girls, in every way possible. What a wonderful place to volunteer! (Tell your friends.)
*The names of the women CPO helps are always redacted for privacy purposes.