I first came across Lisane when hunting down an affordable massage. I reviewed her services as a fantastic massage therapist some months ago (see —> https://spiritualseeker.co.nz/therapistreview/)
Once I found out that Lis also caters for pregnant woman through her services as a Doula I was instantly drawn towards having her on board for my pregnancy and birth journey. Doulas are rare in this area, after doing some brief research I found Lis to be the one and only. Possibly because of this it isn’t a service that many local women have discovered, which I feel is a shame as in hindsight Lis was invaluable to my experience and really enriched my life with her nurturing kindness, knowledge and skills. She worked well alongside my midwife who happy to have Lis on board.
A Doula is a support person for pregnancy and childbirth. Lis trained in her native homeland of Brazil as a Doula. She completed the Doula & Child Birth course when her daughter was 6 months old. Having strong beliefs around the empowerment of woman, Lis felt drawn towards supporting women especially in their pregnancy and child birth experiences.
As we see a more medicalized version of giving birth being experience by the majority, I think it is important to know that there are other ways of experiencing birth that are more natural and supportive in ways that a medicalized birth doesn’t allow for. That does not mean that both do not have their place. For my first birth, without medical intervention I would not have survived, but both experiences should be known to the general public so that informed choices can be made. My ideal experience of society would be a reality where both conventional and alternative forms of care are given as needed in a complimentary manner. Just knowing what a Doula is and having trained Doula’s in the community is extremely valuable – I would go so far as to say necessary.
Because I had Lis as my Doula throughout, I felt like I had a friend who was outside of my usual circle (having just met each other) who was supportive and non-bias or judgmental. The pregnancy itself was completely unplanned and had happened outside of a formal relationship – we were caught out big time and both of us were in shock for a time. Therefore, I personally felt I could not expect the Father-to-be to give the kind of support that a long-term partner could offer. Although he was supportive no matter what the discussion, and as involved as he could be, I felt intuitively that having a Doula would allow for that extra need to be met elsewhere so that unrealistic demands weren’t placed on a vulnerable new relationship. It meant we had the emotional space to work things out between us at a bit more of a realistic pace. Of course, not everyone’s situation is like this, but I do think there is some truth to men being expected to fulfill supportive roles that they just are not typically built for. I totally support men being in nurturing and supportive roles, but only when they feel it’s their choice to do so. Having a female Doula to bridge that gap means that the pressure to be all to their partner is mitigated somewhat. And let’s face it, there are just some things that a man can never get when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth!
Lis always had great suggestions for me which I could take or leave. She began a WhatsApp group between myself, herself and my midwife so we could exchange information and resources and I had a space with two understanding experienced woman to unload to at any time. Fantastic! She gave me a Swiss Ball to borrow and other various items from DVDs to a beautiful aromatherapy diffuser necklace to wear when I was being told I may have to consider an induction. The diffuser held Clary Sage oil which is known for bringing on Labor. Lis was involved in my Blessingway which is like a Baby Shower but more ritualistic. My best friend and Lis organized the whole thing and it was an incredibly beautiful experience for all. Each woman bought a bead along and they threaded a necklace for me to wear when in labor with each bead being threaded expressing a hope or blessing for me and bubs. I held onto that necklace while I was in the final throes of labor, as if my life depended on it and the thought of all those woman in my loungeroom on that day and what they had hoped for me and my baby gave me the strength I needed to get through that last intense part of labor.
I have come away from what was an extremely difficult pregnancy emotionally, with a sense that the whole experience is one of the most profound and beautiful I have had in my life. The situation itself was a hard one, but the support I had around me and the decision to have Lis on board as my Doula meant that I only grew from the challenges presented. And I felt I grew in so many ways. I was worried about PND after having bouts of depression and anxiety all throughout my life. I truly believe that having a Doula was a safety net against this. Although sadly Lis could not be at the actual birth, due to having to go to Dunedin, she was there in many ways through all the groundwork we had carried out together. After the birth my partner and I had agreed to having no visitors for ten days, except for Lis of course! It was a beautiful moment for her to meet Baby Maizy Heather. Along with my incredible midwife, I feel I couldn’t be luckier in the support I received during pregnancy and after giving birth. My partner and I are in a great place in our relationship and we are settling into parenting Maizy very smoothly – so far! Of course, there are still challenges but again because we have had a chance to build some resilience, these challenges do not undo us but grow us. A Doula is like a family friend, they are supportive to the Mother and therefore the rest of the family benefit. If the Mother feels supported, loved and nurtured then all else flows from this. In this way I see the Mother as the trunk of a strong tree, the branches being represented by her children, the sunlight hitting her leaves may be the light of her partner. A Doula is like the river which waters the tree, flowing with understanding and a deep natural sense of the support system which is needed to grow people so that they flourish.