Doulas & grandmothers: Different roles, same goals

The Doula doesn’t replace any member of the family, especially the baby’s grandmother(s). Many women believe, “My mother will be there; I don’t need a doula.” Many partners believe, “There will be too many people in the room; what will be left for me to do?” 

The truth is that, when all people invited to the birth are well prepared and have a clear understanding of their contribution to the process, each one plays a unique and valuable role -- supporting the mother in achieving the  birth she desires.

The grandmother can play the very important role of wise woman of the family, representing the family strength -- the one who has gone thru many life challenges, the one who knows the way. 

The Doula’s role is to include the grandmother as much as possible: praising her, teaching her how to relive to labor discomforts, explaining to her birth procedures that she might not be familiar with -- all while making sure the laboring woman is comfortable and is having her wishes met. The Doula keeps the space so the family can get ready to welcome the new member as gently as possible. 

The Doula minimizes fears and concerns; she believes in the process when grandma and/or mother is not so sure. 

The roles are different. The goal is absolutely the same — supporting the laboring woman while she transforms, opens and finally welcomes her new baby. At this moment, the baby is everyone’s responsibility, and Doula and grandmother team up to assure mom and baby’s well being. 

Once the mother decides to invite her own mother or mother-in-law to the birth, issues that might interfere with the woman’s birth experience may come up. At these moments, the Doula can help identify past traumas and unresolved issues and demystify old concepts about birth the grandmother might have. 

The result is a healing, renewing experience for all involved -- and a remarkable welcome into this world for the new baby.