South West Nova Scotia - A dozen newly-trained doulas in the tri-counties are looking forward to providing emotional support and assisting women during childbirth.
One of them - Shannon LeBlanc-DeMille - has three children (ages: eight, 11 and almost two). She had the services of a doula for her third child and says that even though she appreciated the programs offered through the hospital, she found her doula taught her much more.
“It’s more of a personal, hands-on support,” she said. “I felt much more comfortable in the process.”
Krissie Wyman and Ashley Nickerson received their initial doula training in 2013. Nickerson pursued more training online in 2016.
Wyman arranged for Trena Gallant, a fellow of the Academy of Certified Childbirth Educators and a Doulas of North America (DONA)-approved birth and postpartum doula trainer, to visit Yarmouth recently to train the newest doulas during a three-day session.
“The service has become a lot more popular and there are more requests, said Wyman. “Also, insurance companies are looking to start providing insurance coverage for doulas. If that does happen, then we need a lot more doulas in this area.”
The new tri-county doulas are in the process of becoming certified by DONA, the oldest governing body for doulas.
To become certified, they must attend three births, read supplied literature, submit an essay and have breastfeeding support training.
“You also have to research your local community on different services that you can send your clients to if they are having problems with breastfeeding, postpartum depression, anything that could possibly come up,” said Wyman.
“We wipe fear away from our clients so that they can have a real opportunity to experience birth the way they want to,” she said. “We’re hoping that we can keep this momentum going, validate the service and educate the community on what doulas do.”
Nickerson says she wants women to realize that giving birth can be scary and hard work, but that life is “not a cakewalk all the time.”
“You’re a woman, you can do this. Women don’t have to fear birth,” she said.
The newly-trained doulas are seeking expectant mothers in order to complete their requirements for certification.
“We are women trying to empower other women,” said LeBlanc-DeMille.
How to contact doulas
Doulas can be reached through the Leahey Wellness Clinic at the Tri-County Women’s Centre at 12 Cumberland St., Yarmouth, or through Parents’ Place, 34 Barnard St., Yarmouth, Pubic Health, or by phone or email
Krissie Wyman 902-746-0848 email
Krissy Nickerson 902-637-1731 email
Kristen Strang 902-635-2424 email
Celeste Hatfield 902-635-3883 email
Vanessa O’Connell 902-637-7703 email
Jennifer Martin 902-748-0401 email
Brigette Robicheau 902-748-1319 email
Rebecca Cassidy Rose 902-748-1097 email
Sarah Ready 902-740-2315 email
Shannon LeBlanc-DeMille 902-740-9242 email
Barb White (Amoroso) 902-746-9066 (cell)
902-742-2272 (home) email
Tarah Fitzgerald 902-307-2416 (cell)
902-742-1606 (work) firstname.lastname@example.org
Renee Meuse Bishara 902-648-2462 (offers services in French) email
Krista Spinney 902-748-5732 email
Birth doula services cost about $800 and include two meetings prior to birth, attendance at birth and one postpartum visit. Doulas are hired by individuals and paid directly by them.