• Danielle Delomas

"A Doula is Like...A Personal Trainer"

This year I started working out with a personal trainer and realized I've (more or less) been exercising incorrectly my entire life! I've always enjoyed exercise, but have never been dedicated enough to spend time perfecting my form. Recently, however, I noticed I haven't been enjoying exercise as much as I used to. More importantly, I haven't been feeling very strong or capable. I realized that in order to keep doing the things I love (working as a doula, chasing my toddler, hiking with my husband), I needed to make a change in my health. I've since become more committed to ensuring I take care of my body the right way.. To get started, I knew I needed a little professional help to guide me.

Enter, Tyler, my personal trainer.

Little by little, Tyler has been correcting my bad habits and poor form and helping me rebuild some of the strength I lost during pregnancy and postpartum. We meet twice a week, and Tyler leads me through a weight lifting regimen. On off days, he provides cardio workouts for me to complete alone and a nutritoius meal plan to follow. He's also available during the week for questions - my personal health guru!

Since I began working with Tyler earlier this year I've noticed a positive change in my emotional and physical health. I more confident, I feel more capable, and my body feels stronger. My personal trainer isn't doing the work for me, only I can do that, but he IS providing the tools I need to be successful.

The similarities between a doula and a personal trainer are endless - I constantly find myself laughing at the comparisons I make in my head! Here are a few I've thought of lately:

*A personal trainer guides you on how to move your body during exercise and fixes your form when needed. A birth doula guides you on how to move your body during labor, and suggests position changes when needed.

*A personal trainer gives "tough love" and encouragement during exercise to keep you motivated. A birth doula gives "tough love" and encouragement during labor to keep you motivated.

*A personal trainer provides evidence-baed resources and information on exercise science and nutrition. A birth doula provides evidenced-based resources and information on pregnancy, labor and birth.

*A personal trainer can help you prepare for a big athletic event, like a marathon, with a personalized training and nutrition plan. A birth doula helps you prepare for the biggest event of your life, the birth of your baby, with a personalized birth plan.

*A personal trainer does not do the exercises for you, but they do provide tools and guidance you need to exercise effectively. A birth doula does not labor for you, but they do provide tools and guidance you need to cope effectively.

I love this metaphor because it is easy for people who are not familiar with doula support to understand! What do you compare birth doulas to when explaining the nature of our work?

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