Aurora Sullivan is a California and Arizona-based Birth Postpartum Doula and Certified Breastfeeding counselor who really loves her job. In the delivery room after her first birth experience, she knew being a doula was exactly what she was meant to do. So what is a doula exactly, and why might a soon-to-be mom want one at her side during her pregnancy, during her birth and afterwards? We sat down with Aurora to learn a little bit more about what a Doula does.

M: Tell us a little bit more about yourself and what led you down the path of becoming a doula
A: I have been a nanny for a little bit shy of 10 years, I’ve always had a knack for kids. It’s always felt natural to me. So being a doula just seemed like the right idea. Now I’m a birth postpartum and certified breastfeeding counselor.

M: So what exactly is a doula?
A: There are different types of doulas. A birth doula is someone who supports you in prenatal and during childbirth. They are completely non-judgemental and offer unconditional support. Doulas can’t provide any medical support. A postpartum doula is someone who helps with the transition of bringing home your newborn and recovering. They specialize in providing emotional and physical support as well as chores such as housekeeping, taking care of other children in the home, whatever the family needs.

M: Can you explain the difference between a doula and midwife?
A: A midwife has gone through extensive medical training, while a Doula isn’t qualified to provide medical assistance. A doula is just there to provide support to the mother in any way necessary!

M: So what services do you provide currently?
A: As a birth doula, I take on clients who are seeking assistance with childbirth. Right now, I take care of two newborns as well as pitch in with whatever the family needs to make the transition easier of being first-time parents easier; whether that’s cooking, cleaning, or just taking care of the newborn! As a breastfeeding counselor, I’m there to help the breastfeeding attachment go smoothly, and make sure mom and baby are happy and healthy and getting the nutrients they need.

M: What are some of the benefits for a mother of having a doula during labor?
A: During labor, there has been research showing that doulas can actually help decrease your labor time, they lower the percentages of C-sections, pain-levels, and overall increase the percentage of happy birth experiences.

M: What should an expecting mother look for when searching for a doula?
A: They should definitely be looking for a connection. That person is going to be with you through one of the most important experiences in your whole life, so you have to have a connection and most importantly, trust. You have to trust your doula and know that she has your best interests at heart. With a postpartum doula, you have to comfortable having this person in your home and around your precious newborn.

M: How you can begin your search for a doula?
A: There are tons of platforms out there to find a Doula, you can even find your doula on instagram nowadays. Most doulas have websites where you can learn more about them, you can also even check your local coffee shops for Doulas’ business cards!

M: Do you have any words of advice you would give to moms-to-be?
A: You know what’s best for you, and your doula should be an advocate for that, but you need to put yourself and your baby first no matter what anyone else says!

M: Lastly, what was it like being in the delivery room for the first time as a doula?
A: It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced, I couldn’t stop crying after because I knew what I was meant to do. It was awesome.

You can learn more about Aurora and keep up with her journey as a doula by following her at @freckledlovedoula on Instagram, and by checking out her blog, AmAZedly Mommy.