The nature of a doula and the partner illustrate two very different roles, individually essential, however, when coupled together the true benefits are revealed. The work that has been put in during the pregnancy ensures that both the partner and doula know the exquisiteness of this woman. With such knowledge comes unconditional support for the soon-to-be mother as she moves through her labor. It’s important to remember that there is nothing that can replace the physical love and support of a partner.
It is very difficult to see the person you love experience any kind of pain, even if it is beneficial; for example, contractions. A dad may be alarmed by the natural processes and reactions during birth, maybe even ask “How can I fix this?” where the doula, armed with an intensive training, experience and instinctive knowledge will see the signs and know what support is needed and where it is to be applied. Because it is so important for this woman to feel encouraged and empowered through every contraction, the doula’s sense of serenity and objectivity gives her the ability to ease the dad’s concerns; letting him know that the sounds and frustrations are normal. The wisdom of a doula is the bridging factor between the profound love of a partner and the uncertainty of the birthing woman.
It is expected yet impossible for the modern father (to-be) to know everything about birth after four childbirth education classes and a generic book on what to expect when expecting! He is expected to know the physiology of pregnancy, labor and comfort measures. He is expected to be well versed in hospital protocols, medical language and routine procedures. Moreover, he is expected to be the sole support for the mom and have an ability to read her needs based on the emotional and physical signs of labor. This is a huge job with an overwhelming amount of pressure attached. Imagine reading a couple Poly Sci books, watching the world news, visiting the White House and then be expected to run the country. Having a doula allows the dad to take a nap, get something to eat, take a walk or even a shower, all the while knowing that his partner is in hands of the doula; the hands of a “woman who serves”. If and when dad wants to take a more active role in the birth, the doula can and will assist him with helpful ways to best support the mom.
Birth is incredibly complex; with many layers and emotions that are shifting moment to moment. It takes patience and a willingness to reach deep inside of yourself to find that Devine light; a renewed faith and sense of power. Your doula is there to take on any responsibility that is presented to her as she supports the whole family and protects their sacred space. Thanks to the doula, the couple can come together in a new way as they learn what it means to truly surrender.
Not only is Tia a Postpartum Doula, she is also a holistic health care counselor and a dear friend to me. She is in the business of listening; helping people in achieving total health and a balanced lifestyle through plans that are specific to the needs of each individual.
As a Postpartum Doula Tia provides education, non-judgmental support, and companionship to new mothers and families in culturally diverse communities and home based settings. She offers evidence-based information on infant feeding, emotional and physical recovery from childbirth, infant soothing and coping skills for new parents and will make appropriate referrals when necessary. Tia is trained in breastfeeding support, postpartum adjustment and newborn characteristics, care, feeding and development; assisting and promoting parent-infant bonding.
As a mother once told me :
“Tia helped me get to know and understand my baby, she helped me communicate with him as in what sounds and looks meant what needs, I could not have done it without her”
I personally have never met a better listener, friend and guide into self acceptance and self awareness which in turn equals learning to care for myself and my body. It does not always happen over night, in my case years, which feeds my point that Tia has never judged nor “given up” on my process and helps me in not judging myself. Lets face it, we all judge and critique ourselves in an unforgiving way the most.
The same goes for a new mom, if not more; in a culture that is constantly generalizing, even force feeding what moms are “supposed” to be, what babies are supposed to be doing. Sleep schedules, feeding, co-sleeping or not?, do we let the baby cry it out or not? and again, this is “supposed” to be the happiest time of your life. The weeks following a birth are exhilarating and joyous, however, they can also be an isolating time for a mom and these pressures even if intellectually we know “shouldn’t” matter, our inner critic can override intellect especially in the moments where we are most sensitive or alone. Having a person with Tia’s qualities by your side is invaluable and one of the best choices you can make.
The words of another mom:
“Tia Zlotnikoff is hands down the very best postpartum doula that you could hire. She is warm, engaging, knowledgable, and just generally outstanding. She was a fantastic resource for breastfeeding, and thanks to her I am still happily and easily breastfeeding my 10 month old daughter. My daughter was born with PKU (an autosomal recessive disorder that we did not know about in advance) in August of 2008. My husband and I fell apart after learning this news on day 4 of life, but Tia was a pillar of strength, calm, and support. She had never dealt with this rare metabolic disease before, but managed to jump in with both feet and really get us through a tough time. She did everything and anything we needed her to do. She even thought of things that we didn’t, and was full of helpful postpartum tips for moms. I cannot say enough good things about her. She was wonderful with our daughter, was extremely patient with our silly dogs, and was an amazing help to us as new parents. We were truly sad to see her go. I (and my family) give Tia our very highest recommendation. I would be happy to speak to anyone about her amazing work and dedication.”
Orgasmic Birth is a documentary that examines the intimate nature of birth, an everyday miracle, and the powerful role it plays in women’s lives when they are permitted to experience it fully. This documentary asks viewers to reexamine everything they thought they knew about giving birth and the potential it holds.
Undisturbed birth is revealed as an integral part of women’s sexuality and a widely neglected human right. Couples share their birth experiences, discussing their fears and how they found the support, nurturing, and ultimately the power and strength within themselves to labor and birth their babies in a beautiful, loving, and ecstatic way.
It is possible to have an ecstatic birth—in fact, that is the best natural high that I know of. And these states of consciousness are best reached when a woman is fully aware and fully awake. Women don’t have a way to know how their body works until they really try it out in birth. I think that women can be just completely surprised by the change in them from giving birth—you have something powerful in you—that fierce thing comes up—and I think babies need moms to have that fierceness—you feel like you can do anything and that’s the feeling we want moms to have.- Ina May Gaskin
All to often physicians fail to understand what women really need when they express fear of giving birth. Because women today doubt their natural capacity to have a normal birth and healthy baby, what they need most is reassurance- not reassurance that everything can be done will be done for her and the baby, but reassurance that her body and her baby know what to do during a process that nature has designed for success. Still, fear does have its place. As a physician aptly puts it:
“I don’t think women are as ignorant of their bodies as we doctors make them out to be. They can, however, be scared out of percieving what’s going on inside. But I don’t know of one instance in my practice where the need to do something wasn’t clear to the woman long before it became clear to me”
The danger of focusing on fear is that by doing so we perpetuate it and increase its strength.
Be hospitable to an unwelcome emotion, as if it were an unexpected guest. Offer it a cup of tea. Greet it kindly and see if you can learn something useful, say “Thank you” and send it on its way. Above all, do not invite it to share your supper and offer it a bed in your house for the night or you will have a difficult time getting it to leave- Buddhist saying
Jordyn is a certified Doula, Yoga and Pilates instructor and birth educator who specializes in Women’s Health and wellness in Philadelphia. She began her first doula certification with BirthMark, DONA accredited training in 2008 and Birth Arts International in 2010. Jordyn Completed her 100 hour Prenatal Yoga Teacher training through Yoga on Main with Jade Groff in Philadelphia in 2010. After working in Philadelphia for 3 years as a birth educator, yoga instructor and doula she moved to Santiago, Chile. While in Chile she trained and apprenticed with Kojava Ezra board certified Pilates and Gyrotonic teacher completing a 200 hour Pilates teacher Training. Jordyn combines the practice of pilates and yoga with body awareness and education to foster a woman’s belief in her abilities as well as develop a body intuition.
The work that I do is also what I am most passionate about in my life. I have dedicated myself to developing holistic living skills through my studies as a Doula, Prenatal Yoga Instructor, Birth Educator and Pilates instructor. My dream is to one day run a wellness clinic where I offer Pilates and Yoga, as well as provide pregnant women a wholesome and fulfilling birthing experience by supporting them during all stages of pregnancy and after. In my free time, I enjoy painting, practicing Pilates, and teaching birth classes. I enter each day hoping to leave a positive imprint on those around me and that the birth empowerment work will leave a positive imprint on the world.