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The following is part two of our World Doula Week series, based on a phone interview with Marta Lugo Rodriguez, a new doula with CHASS Center in Detroit, Michigan.
My next mom was due any moment. I had met her boyfriend during a home visit and I got them doing techniques together at that time. They really enjoyed it. I told them, “When the time comes to have the baby, you can do this and I can support you by watching you, helping you, and reminding you of the things that I’m teaching you today.” He didn’t speak English, but the client spoke both languages. He kept telling me, “Muchas Gracias,” which translates into “Thank you so much.”
I did one technique using an exercise ball. Mom would sit on the ball and dad would stand behind her for support, making sure she could lean her back onto his legs and stomach. I remember telling him in Spanish to ask his wife if she would like him to massage her stomach or her back. They continued talking to each other, him comforting the mom. While watching them do the techniques together, I could see the bond becoming stronger between them. It made him feel like he was part of something.
So [as doulas], we are not only introducing the techniques to our moms, but we try to bring it to their partners, as well. This helps our environment feel more pleasant.
I make sure I ask permission for everything I do. That’s one of the things we learned when we were trained: You have to ask what they want and then meet them where they’re at. So, I have that imprinted in my brain. Never assume and ask questions.
Fathers can be so appreciative. After his baby was born, this one father just kept saying for two minutes, “Thank you so much. I appreciate you.” He even came and hugged me, as well. I didn’t realize the impact I had made. I felt their peace when it was over …and by the time I got home, I just dropped onto the bed. I have heard people say you have to like what you do…. However to me it’s not that I like it, I love what I do!!!
Marta’s interview continues tomorrow, right here.