Thursday, June 30, 2011

Becoming a Doula: A Catholic Birth Story

As some of you know, I have started the (long) process of becoming a certified doula. At my last birth, I had the amazing opportunity to help a good Catholic friend and her husband through childbirth. Regardless of her pitocin induction, this mother did an amazing job looking to Christ for strength in labor and was able to birth her son without the use of any pain medicine. "As Catholic mothers, we cannot embrace motherhood while rejecting the process which makes us mothers; we cannot appreciate our vocation while resenting the mysterious time when our child resides tranquilly in our womb and while fearing that joyful moment when the child emerges from our womb and is first welcomed into our arms" (From Your Vocation of Love pg. 115).

These are birth notes from the eyes of the Doula:

It is May 18, 2011 and you are scheduled for an induction at Mercy Medical Center. I arrive at your house at 6:50am to find you hurriedly trying to do the last bits of laundry before going to the hospital. Your children are so excited that their baby brother is coming, and sister speaks of how big of a help she is going to be.  We arrive at the hospital at 7:20am and meet your kind nurse. As we check into the room, your children dance around with excitement as they look out the window and discover the hospital room where their baby brother will be born. At 8:15am you are checked and found to be 3-4cm and 50% effaced. At 8:20am your Pitocin is started while Dad takes the children to eat breakfast in the cafeteria. When they return from breakfast, you and Dad decide it is time to take them to the sitters house. They all kiss you goodbye and shout, “Goodbye mommy” as they exit the door.

At around 9:15am your doctor arrives to greet you with his enthusiastic smile. He decides to break your bag of waters to try and get labor moving.  Soon after, Dad returns and finds us chatting up a storm. He suggests we read the daily mass readings. As we wait for contractions to pick up, you suggest praying a rosary for a safe delivery. Dad leads us all in the rosary as we contemplate the glorious mysteries. This moment was so special to watch a couple pray so devoutly to the Mother of us all for your sweet baby boy.

At 11:15am you are checked and still found to be 3-4cm and about 50% effaced. We decide it is time to get you out of bed and moving to get baby to come down the birth canal. For the next hour we move around trying various positions. You slow dance with Dad, sit backwards on the bed, and lean over the edge of the bed during contractions. We can all tell that the contractions are getting more effective and stronger. Dad looks at you with a loving smile and tells you how great of a job you are doing. You continually ask him, “Am I still here?” and he smiles and says, “You’re still here!”  In these words you find strength to go on.

At 12:30pm you mention feeling pressure and are checked to be 6-7cm and 80% effaced. You are so happy that progress is being made! We continue moving into different positions and at 1:05pm you are checked again and found to be 8cm and 100% effaced. You are focusing through each contraction with such peace and strength that you surprise us all! Contractions begin to really pick up and you mention how badly you want baby  here. You whisper to him in between contractions, “Come on baby. It’s time to come out.”  As contractions get harder, you ask for a prayer from your bag. You silently pray a prayer for strength to our Blessed Mother and are immediately uplifted and determined to continue on. In your hand is a small wooden cross that you grip with each contraction, remembering the true meaning of labor and the sacrifice of motherhood. What an honor and blessing to witness the strength found in Christ during your labor. It was truly breathtaking.

At 1:15pm you say that you need to push and your doctor is called in. You are set up in bed with Dad at your head, holding your hand and encouraging you during pushing. At 1:26pm your baby boy comes slipping out of your body and everyone in the room exclaims in unison, “HE’S BEAUTIFUL!”  Baby  is so pink and handsome and is quickly placed on your chest where he is perfectly and wonderfully content to be in your arms. Dad is so incredibly proud of you and tells every person he talks to how wonderfully you did with no pain medication throughout labor. 

This birth was filled with so much love, strength and an incredible amount of grace. You did AMAZING! Please know that this is only my perspective on the birth, and Baby’s true birth story belongs to you.  This birth has taught me so much of the power of prayer in childbirth, and it is a day I will remember for the rest of my life. I feel very honored and blessed to have been a part of something so sacred. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. 


  1. Not a good post for a pregnant woman to read in the middle of the work day. :'-) I am so blessed to have you as a doula Drea!

  2. I'm not pregnant, but almost in tears, and I'm so sad I won't have you as a doula with baby number 3. :'-(

  3. I live in South Miami, looking for a catholic doula (not easy) please help me

  4. -I am trying to find other Catholic doulas and tell them about "The Catholic Doula Program" a "new" (been around one year) certified doula program for doula training! If you are already a doula, we offer a discount for previous trained doulas if they want to certify with our program; or we hope to come up with an advanced doula course soon. We also would like to just connect with other Catholic doulas as we hope to offer rebozo workshops and a Catholic doula conference in the near future. So, here's our website: -- help us spread the word about our program! We also have a doula directory at if you would like to join it.

  5. Beautiful ❤️ I'm a long time certified doula and I'm also Catholic . I live in north east Florida and I am willing to travel . Please see my website