What do you think of when you hear the word “mindful”? Do you think of a Buddhist monk meditating cross-legged on the floor? A New Age meditation guru? A yoga class? Mindfulness can certainly take many shapes and forms. Even in contemplating what mindfulness means to you, you are taking a step toward a mindful presence: maintaining a nonjudgmental awareness of your thoughts and emotions. Mindfulness as a “moment-to-moment, nonjudgmental awareness” is just one of many definitions offered by American mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn.

Rooted in ancient Eastern philosophy and wisdom, mindfulness has gained popularity in Western culture in recent years for its ability to help people find peace and focus in their hectic modern lives. At Chicago Mindful Doulas, we incorporate the mindful philosophy of being present, aware, and attentive to our work and our relationships with moms and families. By providing a sense of peace, attentive care, nonjudgmental support, and calm, unwaveringly present companionship, we stay present with women and partners to help create a rich, fulfilling birth experience and inspire confident parenting.

So how does a mindful doula benefit moms and families?

Providing a sense of peace
Pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period are times of joy and excitement, but also uncertainty and fear of the unknown. A mindful doula answers your questions, addresses your fears, and allows you to find peace in the unknown throughout the entire process, inspiring moms and families to approach pregnancy, birth, and parenting with patience, confidence, and composure.

Attentive, responsive care
It’s easy to be distracted. It’s easy to listen to others while thinking about the next thing you’re going to say. But mothers deserve attentive care from someone who is truly, completely present. Being unwaveringly present allows us to fully listen to each individual, focus on the changing needs of each mom and family, and provide responsive, individualized care. Maintaining an acute awareness of the dynamics between family members, partners, and staff allows us to facilitate conversation, enhance communication, and help partners and family members support the mother.

Intentional, nonjudgmental support
A key component of mindfulness is nonjudgmental awareness. Letting go of one’s own opinions and preferences is key to creating a space that is supportive and judgment-free. Mindfulness allows us to see past our own personal experiences and be attuned to what actually is: the wants, needs, and desires of the woman and family. By connecting with those experiences, we can educate, encourage, and empower the new mother to advocate for herself and feel secure in the knowledge that she has the steadfast support of a trained professional.

An unwavering presence
Hospitals are busy places. With doctors, residents, nurses, and midwives juggling several patients at once, not to mention the frequent shift changes, you may encounter a dozen different staff members in a 24-hour stay. A mindful doula provides a consistent, familiar presence that allows moms and partners to feel safe and supported throughout the birth experience.

The benefits of mindfulness are far-reaching. When it comes to a doula’s work, weaving mindfulness into our work allows us to be more present, more attentive, and more compassionate with the mothers and families that we serve. Learn more about Chicago Mindful Doulas by visiting our website or following us on Facebook.