Hands off Doulaing?
I’ve attended a few births where my touch was the only touch the mom wanted in labor. She would swat at her husband or her mother if they tried to lay a comforting hand on her, but I was allowed and even begged to touch and keep touching. But sometimes, there’s been that rare occasion when the woman wants absolutely NO touch at all from anyone! It’s sort of shocking when your go-to comfort measure is taken away from you. But, remember that if her senses were so heightened that touch is actually hurting or irritating her, then her other senses are on full alert too. So what’s a doula to do?
Use Music, low and without lyrics can help a woman get some comfort, bring her into herself and her contractions.
Using your own voice repeating words of encouragement over and over can also be very helpful. If she wanted some birth mantra said to her during labor this would be a good time to use it. Keeping silent in-between contractions and then when one starts you can whisper things like,
“Yes, you’re doing this.”
“You’re so strong.”
“You have abundant strength and energy.”
“You are beautiful, you are amazing, you are wonderful.”
“So strong, so beautiful, so amazing.”
“Almost done, feel the energy move through your body and out with each breath.”
Dimming the lights lowers sensitivity and brings a calming inward presence.
Using essential oils during a time when women are hyper-sensitive can be tricky because smell can be just as jarring and overwhelming as touch. My suggestion is to put just a dab of Young Living’s Peace and Calming on a wash cloth and lay it a few feet or more away from the woman. She may not even acknowledge it but if she mentions that it’s too much, you can always put the wash cloth in the bathroom and close the door.
The best tool to use when you’re not allowed to use your comforting touch is your energy. When you are in a room you carry your own special energy with you. People can feel it and when you’ve done all of the other things and are standing as a pillar of strength and positive energy for this woman, she will feel it.