When I first heard about the concept of a doula, I was intrigued and quickly convinced it was a good idea when I heard that support is yours from the moment you need it on the big day – they won’t leave you, there are no shift changes, you get to know them better than your midwives, and they are there to emotionally support you while the midwife monitors your health.
My husband often travels long distances so there was no guarantee he would be there for the birth, and being an expat and new to the Dutch birthing system with our first child, I felt it would be very wise to have Willeke support us.
I didn’t yet know the full extent of that support that Willeke would provide us: detailed answers by email to my worries about my birthing options, feedback to make a great birth plan and emotional and even physical support for me and my husband during labor and after the birth too!
For over 16 hours on the day itself, Willeke was there reassuring me at every step – that 1cm dilation was a great start, that I was doing great and I could do it, that the pain would not get worse that this. She coached me through every contraction with breathing, coached my husband to push on my back and worked on acupressure points on my hands to counteract the pain. She suggested different birthing poses to help with every stage of labor from a chair at home to the birthing ball in the shower at the hospital.
Willeke also helped me prepare for natural birth and for a quick recovery with homeopathic advice and the epi-no. The Tens machine was also there if we needed it. She advocated for my needs during labor and especially when the birth went medical towards an emergency caesarean. She helped my husband and I come to terms with our birth story afterwards, and any anxieties we may have about future pregnancies. Willeke is worth her weight in gold. We both would have had quite a different experience without Willeke’s positive and reassuring energy and physical help, and the reassurance that comes with having someone there for you that knows exactly what they are doing, whom you have got to know and trust. I thoroughly recommend anyone to strongly consider having a doula at their birth, and especially Willeke.