While it is true that the existence of doulas in the Philippines is a relatively new development in the world of birth and postnatal care, their quiet presence is becoming felt as families seek out their options during this important time in their lives. Because of the seemingly overwhelming number of decisions to make during this pivotal time, the choice of doula can be a tricky one to make.
The Pinay Doulas Collective, however, makes the selection process somewhat easier. As the first and only doula organization in the country, we have the resources, both in terms of information and manpower, to be equipped and responsive to the needs of mothers, babies, and families. While the doulas may possess different personalities, we all meet and uphold certain standards that can only serve to benefit our clients.
First of all, all members of the Pinay Doulas Collective started out as breastfeeding counselors. In fact, it is our breastfeeding advocacy and work that have led us to identify the gaps in maternal support, which they now work towards addressing. These have also given us valuable experience in postpartum care, even before we went on to take our formal doula training. As such, mothers can be sure that they will receive the continuum of care and feeding guidance that is often overlooked yet is so vital in the first few days postpartum.
Doulas Velvet, Jen, Cheryl, and Noelle attend One Asia Breastfeeding Forum in Malaysia
In fact, the education of the Pinay Doulas has not ended. We continue to take courses in breastfeeding management as well as specialized trainings in various modalities, such as Hypnobirthing, nutrition, fitness, hormonal balancing, Spinning Babies, and infant sleep, among many others, in order to stay updated. Thus, no matter what your personality or preference, you are bound to find a doula in the group who is a good match for your needs. All the doulas in the group have also trained in Basic Life Support as well as infection control from some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the Philippines.
These trainings serve to ensure that all members of the Pinay Doulas Collective are updated in the most recent evidence-based practices, so that they are also on the same page as the medical care providers of the families they support. After all, truly serving the MotherBaby means cooperation among all members of the birth team. Collaboration with OB-Gynes, pediatricians, nurses, midwives, and all the other personalities in the birthing space is something that the Pinay Doulas Collective strongly believes in, as this creates the safest, most secure space for the new family.
Doulas Jen (left) and Ros partner to support Tinay in labor
Photo courtesy of Rylie Favorito
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly for those who are sticklers for practicality and efficiency: The Pinay Doulas Collective has a strong backup system. Should there be an unforeseen event or should the primary doula fall ill, the family being supported is never left hanging. In a situation where a doula for the doula is required, there are others who are ready to step up and make sure that the family receives the same standard of care and attention that they expect and deserve.
In the end, hiring one doula from the Pinay Doulas Collective is like hiring the entire collective. How can the choice get any simpler than that?
Doula Noelle Polack is a fertility, birth and postpartum doula. She is also a Certified Breastfeeding Peer Counselor of Breastfeeding Pinays, Inc., with special training on lactation massage and caring for sick or premature babies.