Nurture: Where One’s Motherhood Journey Begins
Erica Paulson began her work as a doula over seventeen years ago after personally experiencing the difference a doula made during her first VBAC in 2005. With that, she also understood and recognized that a woman’s experience being pregnant and going to the hospital is wholly different from most experiences going to the hospital. With something like pregnancy, a woman enters a hospital healthy. Many women elect to give birth in a hospital because it is a safe and healthy place to have a baby. However many are also realizing that the focus needs to shift towards the patient experience of giving birth in a hospital, therefore it is clear that there is space for someone to be there to help assist, support, and navigate the system for and with the patient. Enter the doulas of Nurture.
Nurture provides support for women during all stages of their motherhood journey. Nurture believes that motherhood and birth should be celebrated and redefined to fit each and every person’s individual story and experience. Nurture doulas are there to provide support in all ways informational, emotional, and physical—be it the knowledgeable support system or to provide comfort tools when assisting in a woman’s experience giving birth.
Ultimately, a woman is not just arriving at a hospital to give birth. Her experience and the way she is treated and how she feels about her experience giving birth ultimately plays a role and effects much of her postpartum experience, as well as her adjustment back into her life, like going back to work, etc. It is known that when a patient is respected in care, there are better outcomes—healthier mothers, healthier babies, fewer requests for medications, fewer c-sections, etc.
There are many people involved in a family’s experience bringing life into the world—a doctor, a nurse, a midwife, and a doula. As a part of the team, doulas are there to focus on the person giving birth, asking how they are feeling, whether or not they have questions, and supporting them in understanding what may be happening. They are ultimately the bridge building advocate between the child bearer and the others involved in the experience.
Unlike nurses, there is no licensure for a doula, therefore with that, no one can contest being called a doula, however at Nurture, all doulas are trained and then certified by a respected organization outside of Nurture. Erica wants her and her doulas to be accountable to a much larger system, as well as be background checked and CPR certified.
Doulas are patient advocates. They don’t work for a hospital, but rather work in the client’s best interest to have a very positive, transparent, and open communication relationship. A doula can be the one who may say “This is something you may want to talk to your provider about” or “I am happy to pass along information on this topic” or “Here’s a good way to ask…” Doulas do not diagnose and/or treat patients. They are not involved in the medical care at all—they are there to support a woman and the medical care that she has chosen. They are there to enhance communication, not come between a woman and her provider.
Nurture offers weekly prenatal classes, which include mini group classes, and clients are encouraged to attend as many as they want. They can meet other moms and experience Nurture for what it is—a good community and educational space. Nurture also sends out a newsletter that includes information regarding the scope of their practice as doulas. Should a woman and her family decide to become of client of Nurture, they will meet with every doula in the practice at some point because this is a situation where you don’t just pick one doula to work with, but rather the team of doulas, as any given doula could be present during appointments and birth. As clients, there are also opportunities for special discounts on ultrasounds, massages, yoga classes, and more.
Erica and her team at Nurture are professionals in this field. Doula work is evolving and becoming a valid part of the team it takes to welcome life into this world; they are as much a part of labor and delivery as anything else. Nurture is also an approved provider of Tricare, and for those in the Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Dayton area, that may mean it is possible for Tricare patients to use their benefits for Nurture doula services.
Ultimately this is an experience of a human being giving birth to another human being, and a doula represents how much that matters. They are full circle support.
We are so pleased to have Nurture be a part of our TSG network and community and we hope if interested and in this phase of life that you take the time to explore all that Nurture offers. And when you do, make sure to tell them #Scout sent you!
Photos by Tasha Pinelo