What is a Bereavement Doulas?
A bereavement doula or a “loss doula” is a doula who walks with, supports, and helps families who are experiencing the loss of their baby, whether that loss is through miscarriage, stillbirth, or a diagnosis that means the baby will not live long after being delivered.
The role of a doula in this situation also includes resource and information sharing and gathering. I often tell my clients, “don’t Google! Let me gather info and research for you, it is part of what I do! And then you don’t have to sift through the scariness of what you can find when ‘Dr. Google’ goes overboard!”
Doulas are meant to be impartial. We offer information on options available to the parents, so they can make informed decisions on how to best love and care for their baby for as long as their baby is with them before and after birth. After delivery this includes helping the family say hello to their baby, to bond with their baby, and to see their baby and NOT their baby’s diagnoses. Sometimes, babies with a life-limiting diagnosis need attention in the neonatal intensive care unit, so I also help mom and dad see beyond the wires and tubes and beeps to just see their little one and to bond and advocate for him or her.
After delivery this includes helping the family say hello to their baby and then goodbye. Gently encouraging them to form a bond with their baby, to love their baby. To make memories with their baby. In those circumstances, doulas guard the space of the family as they make memories that must last a lifetime. In situations where the baby passes away, I remain available to the family after their final good bye to their little one to assist with grief and loss counseling.