Our Team is Growing!
Rock the Cradle is now a team of five birth doulas and postpartum doulas, and every week we’ll be profiling one member of the team! Last week you met Yvonne Pelling, now you get to delve into Doula Ayda de Souza and her life as a Laval birth doula and postpartum doula.
Meet Doula Ayda de Souza, Our Mama Bear
With four kids, over 12 years experience as a doula, and 200 births under her rebozo, Doula Ayda de Souza truly is our Mama Bear! She is reliable, always eager to help, is very protective of her clients, and quickly puts parents at ease. Ayda has been working full-time with our team for close to a year now.
When and how did you learn about doulas and what they do?
Seventeen years ago, I met a woman from the US who was having her first baby at the same hospital as me, and had hired a doula to support her. I had never heard of doulas! As luck happens, we gave birth the same day, and I had the chance to meet the doula. Years later, she was my doula teacher. That’s the beauty of life!
In regards to my first birth, I thought that having my husband beside me was all the support I needed. In retrospect, I was naïve and unprepared for the reality of birth. I felt unsupported by the medical personnel and, in turn, did not like my birthing experience.
When it came time to have a 2nd child, I decided to look into other birth alternatives and was pleasantly surprised to find two birthing centres in Montreal. I had my other children there and had very positive experiences!
How do you handle long hours and lack of sleep?
After all these years my body has become used to less sleep! I do try and nap when I know a client is in early labour and I’ll need to join her later. I also sleep a bit at births, especially the long ones.
What’s the longest birth you’ve attended?
I once attended a birth with my teacher during my training. We were at the client’s house a good part of the night, and went to the hospital when we thought labour was progressing. Unfortunately, it wasn’t! After 36 hours of supporting her, I went home to rest, leaving the client with a back-up doula, and returned later that day. Luckily the majority of births are not so long!
What is your birth philosophy?
I believe that women are strong and capable of giving birth when provided a safe environment to do so and when they are supported in their choices without any judgement. Birth is natural and safe; we need to trust our bodies’ capability to birth.
How would you describe your doula style?
Hands on! I’m usually holding, massaging, guiding.
Do you have a favourite labour-coping technique?
Meditation and deep breathing really helped prepare me for my births. Also, being aware of the pain and finding ways of coping with it, instead of fleeing from it. This increases the production of endorphins, the body’s natural pain relieving hormones, which really helps with pain.
What special characteristics do you personally bring to your births?
My knowledge, dedication and presence.
What do you think is the most important part of your job?
My support of and guidance to families.
How would you describe yourself as a doula?
Compassionate. I love guiding women towards positive birth experiences. I know birth pretty well after 12 years and four babies of my own, so I feel confident helping couples navigate this unknown territory.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Attending births. A doctor once told me I am a birth junkie! I totally agree.
How do you tailor your support to each family you serve?
I meet each family individually and see what specific needs they have. We talk about their fears, their expectations, and their relationship as a couple. Some clients need more physical support and some need a lot of emotional support. I rely a lot on my gut feelings to guide our conversations and so far they have served me well!
What did you learn about being a doula from your own personal birth experiences?
Trust. It’s such a beautiful thing. Birth most often unfolds beautifully when we trust ourselves, our partners, and birth itself. Also, how to surrender. My fourth labour didn’t progress as I would have expected. After all, I had already given birth three times and had attended about 60 births by then. What happened?! I was a doula. It was hard for me to surrender and heed the advice I so repeatedly shared with my clients. I was too focused on the process and less on the moment. Once I realized this, the surrendering took place, and my daughter was born soon after.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not doula-ing?
Cooking & baking for my kids. And I really love learning about essential oils – I use them both at home and at work, which can be very useful.
What makes you different than other doulas?
I’ve never compared myself to others. I am me. And my experience and passion speak for themselves. That’s the best I have to offer!