COVID Update

With the province of Ontario slowly re-opening certain businesses, we feel it is important to be transparent about our services at NCFD. Rules and guidelines are changing on a daily basis. And, as always, fake news and misinformation are running rampant.

As of right now, certain Ontario hospitals are allowing one support person at a birth. The hospitals are not specifying the relationship of this support person. They could be your spouse, your mother, your doula, etc. These rules vary greatly by hospital and birthing centre and we strongly encourage you to inquire with your medical provider. For the rules surrounding a home birth, please inquire with your midwifery clinic.

Okay, great! The hospital says doulas can be present. We’re good to go!

Not so fast… We still need to consider the guidelines of the Government of Ontario:

  • Physical/Social Distancing: Keep a 2-meter (6-foot) distance between people who are not part of your household. The minimum fine of ignoring social distancing rules is $750.
  • Non-Essential Service: Doulas are not considered an essential service at this time (some rare exceptions do apply for charity-based organizations). As a non-essential business, failure to comply with these new regulations can result in up to 1 year in jail or a fine of up to $100,000.

Given the above restrictions, our doulas are not providing in-person support at this time. We will re-visit our decision once non-essential businesses are able to provide in-person services.

But I really need a doula!

Not to worry – we have virtual doula services! These services have a strong emphasis on educating parents on their birthing options, non-medical pain relief, what to expect during each stage of labour/birth, pain relief options at the hospital, etc. We can add more prenatal meetings than we would have in person. Prenatal and postpartum visits are done through Zoom. Labour and birth support may be done through text, phone or video calls.

What happens if my due date is in late summer or fall?

At this time, you are only able to purchase virtual support packages. If the restrictions loosen up as we approach your due date, we can always upgrade your package to in-person birth support.

What about postnatal or night doula support?

As with birth doula services, we have virtual packages available for when your baby (babies) arrive earth-side. Since we cannot physically support you, we are emphasizing education, when to call your doula, how to cope at night, etc. Video calls are also a great way to get some lactation help!
May 27th update: We are hoping to re-open our in-person support for postnatal/night doula services in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more information!

We want all families to feel as safe and empowered as possible. No matter what your birthing and parenting preferences are, we are here to support you. Know that we miss you all dearly and that we are counting down the days until we can be there with you in this new world! But also remember that we believe in you, that we know you’re trying hard in spite of the struggles and that we will get through this together.

Click here to learn more about how Ontario is stopping the spread of COVID.

Netflix, that IS NOT a doula!

Have you seen Fuller House’s season 5 premiere? Stephanie brings her baby home and she hired a postnatal doula. But this doula is less “doula” and more “viking warrior”.

Here’s my response to Netflix.

Dear Netflix,

The doula community and myself were appalled at how the postpartum doula was portrayed in “Welcome Home, Baby-to-Be-Named-Later”. We do not boss parents around and we certainly do not keep the baby away from the parents.

Let me tell you a bit more about The Real Postpartum Doula.

Doulas bring back a sense of community that has been lost for nearly 100 years. We are here to teach. We are here to listen. We are here to show you how much of an amazing parent you are! Postpartum doulas support all kinds of different families: single parents, teen parents, bereaved parents, low-income families, parents with twins/triplets/multiples. We offer support for: overnight care, infant feeding, infant care, postpartum healing, normal baby behaviour. The list seems endless.

This job is a calling. You do it because you have a passion for helping others. Doulas take time away from their own families (especially during holiday seasons), to help other families.

Some of the benefits of postpartum care include: lower occurrence of postpartum mood disorders, greater success in breastfeeding, higher self-confidence, more rest and a faster recovery for the mother, more affectionate bonding with the baby.

Studies (here and here) have shown that the more support a mother has, the less likely she is of developing postpartum depression. Sometimes doulas are the only ones that mothers feel comfortable opening up to. We don’t judge. We listen. We hold space. We hold hands. We let the mother shed her tears in safety. We let the mother rest in bed while we take care of light chores, bringing her food and water.

If a situation arises that’s outside of our scope of practice, we help parents find local, trustworthy professionals. We have a long list of resources that may include: therapists, peer support groups, lactation consultants, photographers, house cleaners and pelvic floor physiotherapists.

The vast majority of postpartum doulas agree with me when I say that our goal is to work ourselves out of a job. We want parents to be confident in their parenting skills. We educate them on how to find reliable resources. By supporting their choices, parents learn how to advocate for themselves. Parental self-efficacy isn’t just important when you have a baby, but throughout your entire parenting journey.

Now more than ever parents need postpartum support. Your episode “Welcome Home, Baby-to-Be-Named-Later” not only misinformed the public about postpartum doulas but may have discouraged families from seeking out the support they need. There are some families that only need help for a few days. But there are others that we support for months, even years if you include subsequent children.

We ask that you resolve this discrepancy. At the very least, you owe postpartum doulas and the birthworker community an apology.

Thank you,

Natalie Clark

Postnatal doula