Keep Calm and Doula On



noun: doula; plural noun: doulas

  1. a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.
Thérèse Hak-Kuhn providing a steady hand and open heart. Photo by Patience Salgado

Too bad Webster doesn’t come anywhere CLOSE to defining what a doula is or does. It’s darn near impossible to put into words a role that holds space; and it is innately hard to truly value that space until you have experienced the support of a doula first hand.

Unbeknownst to some, our little River City is quite the place to have a baby. The local aura that surrounds Richmond regarding childbirth is filled with excitement, support, and empowerment. No matter how you decide to birth your baby, it is my opinion that one of the most generous things you can do for yourself is to work with a doula.  Whether it’s regarding child birth education, birth support, nursing assistance, or postpartum support, the spectrum of help that is available is truly priceless.

And moms, well, let me tell you, doulas are a gifted and quiet presence that gently reminds us that the strength and power it takes to grow, birth, and sustain a baby is built deep into their core of those of who bear the exceptional role of ‘MOM’.  This week we celebrate World Doula Week in hopes to to empower doulas and families all over the world to improve the physiological, social, emotional, and psychological health of women, newborns, and families in birth and the postpartum period. 

It is each person’s responsibility to know there are numerous options when it comes to one of, if not, THE biggest milestones in your life! Do you know your own power? FACT: Setting intentions and goals will help to support you as you map and envision the birthing experience you dream of having. Hear me out mamas; a doula knows that each family’s experience is truly their OWN. They help guide, inform, and support your options and choices throughout the journey. 

Childbirth education is a wonderful investment in the foundation of understanding the physiological process of birth and how it is presented and addressed in different settings with different providers. It puts the ball in your court with an unbiased, in depth education on facts. From there you and your doula can work on creating a birth plan that meets your desires and needs. Gathering those you trust and inviting them into this experience is crucial. Having confidence in your team and yourself is vital for self care in such a selfless role we lovingly call motherhood. 

All which relatively leads you up to the big day, right? 

Pregnancy can offer up many other trials and tribulations and again, that’s where your doula can provide trusted resources and a guiding voice to aide and make your journey unique.

  • Back aches? We have a chiropractor for that. 
  • Previous injuries? Here’s the perfect masseuse. 
  • Not sure you can go the distance? Try out this yoga class. 
  • Acupuncture magic? Yes Please! Go here now.
  • Curious about Placenta Encapsulation? Here’s some info

Speaking of which, what about after baby has arrived? Postpartum doulas can provide a foundation for the intense and transformative “fourth trimester.” They are able to foster communication about the challenges of early parenthood and offer ways to get knowledge and hands-on help for your family. They are physically in your home offering whatever needs to be done to make the transition into growing your household more smooth. 

Support, support, support.

The raw vulnerability of labor should be protected and drenched in the epitome of loveA doula’s work can foster a sense of empowerment for the woman that can help them surpass doubt and fear. Whoa. Intense, I know…but what an honor for a doula to be invited into such a momentous journey of bringing life into the world. I wish you confidence, the education and support to know you have a voice no matter the milestone! And of course if you know a doula, be sure to reach out this week. Most likely they are juggling their own family while joyously repeating the on-call phrase “if I am not at a birth…”  

Do you think you feel called to this work? toLabor’s workshop awakened emotions I never knew existed providing a what is now a cornerstone in my life and has given me a real sense of self. Life changing is an understatement.


Riding the waves of contractions. Photo of Colleen Wallace by Joy of Joyful Birth RVA.
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Colleen Wallace is a former electrical engineer who now stays home to relish in the trials and tribulations of life with three boys four and under. The city of Richmond has her heart and after meeting her sweet husband Sean at VCU, they decided to call the Museum District home. She is always seeking true authenticity and when not chasing her crew, or backyard chickens, she pursues a passion for birth work as a Doula through To Love Radiantly. Oddly enough she financially contributes to her family more regularly by hand modeling…for real! When time allows, Colleen can be found happily outside or attempting to be a “minimalist” but mostly for sanity purposes! She and her husband enjoy long runs through the city that count as “the best dates ever” and typically is riverside with the boys getting dirty. Emotions are worn on her sleeve and being an open book is something she just can’t control. Colleen is excited to be a part of RMB and is hoping to share the fierce love, evolving pains, and of course profound happiness that motherhood brings.


  1. Great post, Colleen! Really enjoy hearing about all the different systems of support a doula provides!

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