I love that Virginia Beach Doula, Akilah White, has grown children – and she homeschooled! Solidarity, sister! She’s had her own kids and has a background in medical training.
I personally never hired a doula for any of our births because I had never heard of them before. Its certainly grown since we had our newborns!
Looking to hire a doula can seem like a needle in a haystack. There’s a lot of personality and je ne sai pas if you will about connecting with the right doula.
Obviously, the doula needs to be in your area! Start your search there. For me, that’d be a doula in Virginia Beach. But also try a broader search like a doula in Hampton Roads, or Tidewater, etc since local traveling is common.
Table of Contents
But first, what is a doula?!
A doula is a trained birth companion who provides emotional and physical support to expectant mothers and their partners during pregnancy, labor, and the postpartum period. Hiring a doula can provide several benefits for a positive birth experience.
How a doula helps
First, doulas are trained to provide continuous, non-medical support to mothers during labor. This includes physical comfort measures such as massage, acupressure, and positioning, as well as emotional support and encouragement. Research has shown that having a doula present during birth can reduce the need for pain medication, shorten labor, and lower the likelihood of interventions such as cesarean sections. A doula can also serve as a source of information and advocacy for the mother, helping her make informed decisions about her care and supporting her in communicating her needs and preferences to medical staff.
A doula supports the partner
A doula can also be beneficial for the partner. A doula can provide emotional support for the partner and help them understand their role in the birth process. They can also offer practical suggestions for how the partner can support the mother during labor, such as offering massages or assisting with positioning. The presence of a doula can also relieve some of the pressure from the partner to be the sole source of support for the mother, allowing them to be more fully present and engaged in the birth experience.
Overall, hiring a doula can provide emotional and physical support for both the mother and her partner during a time that can be both exhilarating and overwhelming. With a doula, expectant parents can feel empowered and confident in their birth experience, knowing they have a trained support person by their side.
Q&A with Virginia Beach Doula, Akilah White
How did you get into this profession? What drew you in?
My kids are grown and when we finished our homeschooling years (we homeschooled in the later years – middle and high school). I did in-home childcare for extra income.
I have a degree in medical assisting. I had attended at least 3 births for family and friends. I looked into being a Labor and delivery nurse and all it entailed. I saw the word ‘doula’ and said, “a doula? I could doula!”
I felt like it was calling, I was pulled in. I trained in March of 2018 and have been doing it ever since.
How does a doula help?
A doula supports birthing families emotionally, physically and also provides informational resources during pregnancy labor and postpartum period
Can be as hands on as you need to be, or just there to ask questions you can’t ask throes of labor
What makes you different?
I’m not a doula that’s going to push my agenda, or what I think is best. I think all families should have informed consent on all things. You’re carrying this child and I’m not. I like to be there just to hold space for the families and show up in whatever ways I can.
How do you accept clients?
I do like to do an interview so you can ask me whatever questions. Sometimes in a flow of conversation you make a connection. But I encourage everyone to do other interviews because it is a very sacred time and your fit is out there.
How many births do you accept?
Typically I take at least four a month, that’s my limit.
Have you ever called in backup doula?
Yes. Once a first time 38 week mama, and a third time 41 week mom and they birthed within an hour of each other. Birth is going to happen when its going to happen.
In the community we work together to help each other.
How long have you been a doula?
Since March 2018 – 5 years.
How many births have you supported in 5 years?
I’ve attended close to 200 births in all my work as a birth worker from a volunteer doula at Sentara Princess Anne, in private practice and as a midwife assistant.
Connect with Akilah!
I'm a South Carolina native, USMC spouse, and recovering homeschool mama of a four boy circus. Bring me your crazy!
After 11 years of photographing families all over the world, I've realized my clients aren't printing their images. We go through all this work to get dressed, coordinated and then let those photos die on the hard drive.
There's nothing easy about family photos but I'm here to help you with every step from what to wear to printed in your hands whether thats an album or wall art. I want you to Make your people the rock star of your house!
You'll be reminded of what really matters every day when you see the giant prints of your crew laughing on your walls every. single. day.
Currently stationed in Virginia Beach, Virginia photographing families all over the Hampton Roads area from Suffolk, Norfolk, Chesapeake and the Eastern Shore all the way to Portsmouth and Elizabeth City!
Follow along on the Gram at @alisonbellphotog or reach out today!
I find joy in chaos. The louder, the better! I'm a USMC spouse, South Carolina native, recovering homeschool mama of a 4 boy circus. They've taught me the most important facet of family photography: KEEP IT FUN!