Did you know that there is more than one type of doula? Listen as Sophia discusses the next phase of her doula journey.
YOU MEAN THERE’S MORE
Yes, there is definitely more to the story. In addition to training to become a birth doula, I’ve also decided to take on End-of-Life doula training. You may ask yourself, “what does an end-of-life doula do?” That’s the perfect question because this episode of the Authentic Wellness Podcast holds the answer.
IN A NUTSHELL
In short, an end-of-life doula’s soul purpose is to support the dying person through their final transition. The doula is also available to assist family members, however, the person in transition always takes priority. Just like birth, there is quite a bit of labor in dying. Having someone by your side that knows the process and can guide you through the accompanying emotions is priceless. A neutral party can also deter some of the chaos that goes along with a loved one passing away.
In addition to providing emotional support, a doula can assist the person in transition to explore the meaning of their life and find out how that person would like to be remembered. This may seem morbid and scary, but who better to tell your life story than you? No one. That is why it’s important to capture the information while it is available. It can be preserved for generations to come. So many people spend their lives explaining themselves for fear of being misunderstood. To me, it makes sense to get the story of your life out there and complete any unfinished business that is left.
A doula will work diligently to honor the cultural and ethnic traditions of the person in transition. All dying people deserve to be treated with respect. The labor of death is a delicate and fragile process. Great care should be taken to make it as comfortable as possible for the person doing the work and those that will be left to mourn their loss. Everyone has the right to transition in the way that suits them best.
Doulas are also trained to look for the signs and symptoms of death. More attention should be paid to the person in transition when the pulse feels weak or irregular, breathing becomes shallow, and the limbs feel cool to the touch. The doula should do their best to be aware of the needs of the family and the client. If the client is content, the doula can run errands or do some light housekeeping for the family as the role can easily turn into one of grief support. There is no cookie-cutter scenario for death. It is best that the doula follow the client’s lead and once the client no longer needs them, offer support to the family and loved ones.
WHY DID I DECIDE TO DO THIS
I am not enthusiastic about how my Dad passed. I felt like it was incomplete. I really didn’t have any instructions and I certainly didn’t know what signs to look for. When I went to work he was there and when I came home he wasn’t. In my heart, I knew he was in transition, but I didn’t expect the work to be done so soon. He was never one to procrastinate though.
I feel like I wasn't able to mourn my father until after the funeral. I was busy entertaining company and receiving visitors. In a way, I was glad for the distraction, but when the grief hit, it came in hard. I am most of the way through it now. I believe I am in the maintenance phase of the process.
Becoming an end-of-life doula allows me to take care of the person in transition as well as the people they will leave behind. That is my main objective. That will leave a lasting impression. The family will go on knowing their loved one went on the next leg of their journey in peace. The person in transition felt heard and knew their wishes were honored.