At SPS, we pride ourselves on the exceptional support we provide to surrogates and intended parents, and we strive to make each client’s surrogacy journey experience as comfortable, rewarding, and joyful as possible.
One of the ways we support our clients is by making sure surrogates and intended parents are well-prepared for delivery day and postpartum, and that everyone gets their needs met on this very momentous occasion.
We are fortunate that one of our case managers, Blythe Smith, is a certified doula and childbirth educator! Blythe educates surrogates and intended parents on the childbirth process, helps them understand what to expect during and after the birth, discusses both parties’ desires for the birth, and answers any questions they have.
Read on to find out more about Blythe and how she supports our surrogates and intended parents.
What inspired Blythe to become a birth doula
I was working at a resort spa as a massage therapist, and I was pregnant with my third child. One day, I was sharing with my co-worker how much I loved giving birth and just being around birth! I knew I couldn’t give birth every day, like I would love to (haha). She said I should become a birth doula. I had no idea what a doula was, but I instantly started looking into it and I realized that it was exactly for me.
It’s incredible to be able to support and empower women during their births and help take the fear out of giving birth. I love seeing a birthing mama get the birth she desires, whether it’s a VBAC or first-time mama, or a woman who is recovering from a traumatic birth experience.
To further my knowledge, I became a childbirth educator. A big role of a doula is to educate my clients on the physiological birth process. Many women don’t understand or aren’t taught what is happening in her body during labor, and I think which is where I feel a lot of fear around birth comes from. Unfortunately, many hospital birth classes don’t teach this either.
Once a woman fully understands the stages of labor and what’s happening during each contraction, they tend not to fear the birth process as much. They feel empowered.
My training to become a birth doula consisted of a workshop and childbirth education course, along with attending births. I offered up my services for free to get experience under my belt. Once certified, I soon became the most recommended doula by the labor and delivery nurses and OBs in my area. It was a similar process to become a childbirth educator—I attended a workshop and then took an exam. I learned so much during that course.
Now I am furthering my education and have gone into midwifery school. In about three to four years I will complete the program, and I will be a certified licensed midwife able to attend home births and at birth centers.
Why you should work with a doula
There are so many benefits to hiring a doula! A doula offers constant emotional and physical support to the laboring person. Studies have shown that continuous support by a doula might be associated with:
- A decreased rate of C-sections
- A decreased use of intervention by forceps, etc.
- A decrease in the overall length of labor
- Greater breastfeeding success
- Lower postpartum depression rates
Women tend to be very pleased with their overall birth experience when they hire a doula. A doula knows your goals and desires for birth, and she is there to help you advocate for yourself. As a doula, I do not care if your birth is unmedicated—all I care about is that you are making informed, educated decisions for yourself.
A doula is also a wonderful support for the husband or birth partner (or intended parents!). They often feel nervous or lost in the birthing process, and the doula offers suggestions on how they can better support the laboring mama. It is so beneficial when the husband or partner plays an active role in the birth. A birth doula is trained on different laboring positions and many comfort measures as well.
How doulas support and enhance the surrogacy process
As a surrogate and a doula, I have a unique insight into the surrogacy world.
At SPS, we have intended parent and surrogate birth meetings, which help prepare both parties for the upcoming birth. At these meetings, we educate both parties and hear their desires for the birth. This helps us facilitate the most positive outcome possible for the surrogate and intended parent(s). The birth is the moment that they all have been waiting for … and one they will remember forever. My goal is to help make that moment as absolutely as special as it can be.
I also spend time with the IPs individually, educating them on the stages of labor and what to expect at the hospital. Many of these parents have never been in labor and delivery before and have no idea what to expect. It can be a very overwhelming experience. By meeting with them beforehand, I help take the fear and anxiety out of the hospital stay for them.
How Blythe became a surrogate and then case manager at SPS
After my first child was born, the first words out of my mouth after delivery were “I wanna do that again!” I was hooked on birth and amazed at what our bodies could do. I saw some TV shows that involved surrogacy and knew instantly that that was something I wanted to do and could do. I just felt like I was meant to do it. I was blessed with very easy pregnancies and births, and I wanted to share that with a family who was less fortunate. I wanted to help create a family and bless them with a child of their own.
After my fourth child was born, something in me said just apply, it’s time. I researched agencies and narrowed it down to SPS, and coincidentally it was because they had a case manager to follow your journey. I thought it was such an amazing job to be helping these families and the surrogates along their journey.
When I was about 8 months pregnant in my surrogacy journey, Cristie asked me to join the team. I was so honored and excited to be asked to be a part of SPS. It’s now been five years, and I am incredibly honored to be a part of the journeys with the surrogates and IP. I have met so many amazing people, and it is the most rewarding job. I am so blessed to make my passion for birth and babies my career.
Thank you so much for sharing your story, Blythe! To learn more about Blythe, you can visit her website, birthingwithblythe.com.
Learn More About Becoming a Surrogate with Surrogate Parenting Services
Surrogate Parenting Services is proud to celebrate 30 Years of helping to bring dreams to life! Founded in 1990, Surrogate Parenting Services (SPS) is a full-service surrogacy program that offers both parties an exceptionally supportive environment throughout the surrogacy relationship. We’re passionate about creating ideal matches between surrogates and intended parents, so the journey is fulfilling for both sides and the future child is brought into this world in the best possible circumstances.
Learn more about our Surrogacy Program online or by calling (949) 363-9525.