When asked what exactly I do as a doula, one of the phrases I immediately reach for is that I “hold space.” But I hesitate to say it, because I know many people will wonder what sort of new age things I am referring to. So I want to take a moment to lay out this definition.
Holding space means that I will be there with you without any agenda.
I will provide you with information if you ask, or keep you company with nothing but delighted attention as you tell me your thoughts and wishes for your pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I check my own feelings and preferences at the door, and work with you to ensure that you have everything that you need to have a good birth, and become a good parent.
Holding space is the characteristic that separates me from any other provider or support person in the room. And it allows me to walk alongside with you throughout your journey, whether that means following your directions, talking about your feelings, caring for your family’s needs or helping you remember the benefits and alternatives of a procedure you are considering. Sometimes holding space means standing next to you as you moan and grunt during labor, or change your baby’s first at home diaper, to witness it and tell you that you’re a great mother. It may mean reassuring you as plans change that you’re still doing a good job.
It is a privilege to support you during this time in your life, and I hope you will let me hold space for you.