Babycakes Doula brings comfort to parents
Bringing a baby into the world is no small feat. While many women want and need assistance after the baby is born, others find comfort in support throughout their pregnancies, such as birthing classes, to feel fully prepared for the big day. This is where a doula comes into play to provide that extra support throughout the process, and CAILEY RASH, a birth, and postpartum doula knows just how to help.
“I grew up being interested in all things labor and delivery,” Rash says. “It always amazed me to think about how magical a woman’s body is; being able to sustain and bring life into the world. I used to imagine that I would continue my education through medical school, but I realized that being on the medical side of labor and delivery was not for me.”
She says she knew she had found her calling when she discovered doulas and learned about their role in providing emotional and physical support throughout the birthing experience.
The history behind this type of assistance is long, and the science behind it supports its effectiveness.
“Studies are clear that mothers with doulas have significantly better birth outcomes,” Rash says. “Being a doula is deeply rooted in the history of birth. What many people do not realize is that only within the last century have the majority of women transitioned to birth in hospitals rather than their homes. Traditionally, other women from the ‘village’ came to provide comfort and care to the mother in labor. Translated from the original Greek, the word ‘doula’ means ‘woman’s servant,’ and I strive to serve each family I support to the best of my ability.”
Doulas provide support many women are not even aware they need. “Many mothers simply don’t know what to expect before, during, and after labor – doulas fill in that gap,” Rash says. “During pregnancy, doulas equip mothers with knowledge of the birthing process, techniques to decrease discomfort, and a game plan for navigating labor. I am happy to support birth in any setting, but I also acknowledge that medical interventions are more likely to happen in a hospital.”
An optimum environment for birth is one in which the mother feels confident and safe throughout her experience, Rash says, so whether you give birth in a hospital or a home, continuous support from a doula offers not only comfort but also advocacy.
“A doula provides information necessary for the mother to make informed decisions throughout labor. Because many people plan for birth but not as much for what happens after the baby arrives, doulas can continue providing support in the postpartum stage,” she says.
Having a doula is important to help take the fear out of childbirth and facilitate an empowering experience.
Rash’s love for what she does is evident in the way she describes her job. “The joy is contagious,” she says. “It still makes me emotional every time I witness expectant parents become mothers and fathers to their newborns. Each family dynamic I come across is unique. Whether it is their first child or their fifth, each experience can be special.”
Doulas can be useful for those who may not have local family and friends to support them.
Her experience is impressive as well, and that knowledge translates directly to the health and happiness of her clients. She is also involved with several area organizations as a member or has worked with Cape Fear Area Doulas, Port City Urban Birth Collective, Port City Breastfeeding Project, Chocolate Milk of Wilmington, and Novant Health NHRMC Community Doula Program.
Babycakes Birth Services currently offers birth and postpartum doula support, as well as Lamaze Childbirth Education Classes.
“We are fortunate to be in a community where there are several scholarships and grant-funded opportunities that make care more accessible, such as ones offered through Cape Fear Area Doulas and the Community Doula Program,” Rash says.
To view more of photographer Michael Cline Spencer’s work, go to michaelclinephoto.com.
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