If you’ve had a child anytime in the last fifty years you may have heard of birthing doulas. These specialists provide a mother with support and guidance throughout the pregnancy, delivery and after giving birth. The goal is to make the experience as positive as possible for the family.
The modern doula profession is a fairly new concept, but it’s built on centuries of tradition. Today, there’s another doula that can be hired. Death doulas are one of the newest professionals to help people manage end of life affairs.
What is a Death Doula?
A death doula is a trained professional that guides a person through the grieving process after a death. They can also provide guidance while making advanced funeral arrangements or assist a person who is dying in other ways from education to companionship. Death doulas can work solely with one individual, couples or a family.
Some specific services that a death doula provides includes:
- Acting as an advocate
- Care planning
- Funeral and memorial planning that’s personalized
- Vigil creation
- Grief and bereavement support
- Resource for referrals
- Assistive exercises such as guided imagery and guided breathing techniques
- Collaborate with other caregivers and medical team to coordinate care
- Facilitate communication with care team and the family
- Assure everyone is as comfortable as possible
This is far from an exhaustive list and each foula offers something different. It’s not uncommon for doulas to help out with light housework, running errands and driving to appointments. While death doulas may be trained and certified, it’s important to remember they are not medical professionals.
The Benefits of Having a Death Doula
People can benefit from having a death doula for the same reasons a birthing doula is beneficial. Death and birth are huge life changes that are extremely emotional. As natural as death and birth are, with families being spread further apart there’s a need for professionals who can step in and be a person who’s physically there to lean on. This is especially true for people who have never gone through the birthing or grieving process.
But even if your family is nearby a death doula could help with the transition beyond simply being there.
Death Doulas Share Invaluable Knowledge
One of the greatest benefits that a death doula provides is knowledge. Their services are needed during an emotionally difficult period when no one wants to spend their time researching. At the same time you want to know how to handle the next stage. The death doula is a go-to knowledge center that can answer your questions.
They Help You Make the Most of the Experience
One of the things that a death doula does is make the process of dying a more positive experience. They approach death as another life transition that can be a time of growth and love. They get you to look at death from a perspective that’s not all about loss, but also about connection and love. This type of support is why many people believe hiring a death doula was worthwhile.
Some Doulas Don’t Cost a Thing
When a loved one is ill or has just passed away there are a lot of expenses to cover. It can be a real financial burden so the thought of an additional expense can bring on more stress. The good news is some doulas work as volunteers or take donations only. Others work with families to come up with pricing plans that fit their budget.
Direct Cremate can coordinate cremation services with a death doula or directly with the family. We can be reached online, by phone and through text 24 hours a day.