Erika Fleischer • Doula birth attendant, systemic and psychological consultant, mental trainer and aroma practitioner

Erika Fleischer is a doula birth attendant, systemic and psychological consultant, mental trainer and aroma practitioner. Especially in the last few years, her work has become an even more important source of support for everything to do with childbirth. Sonja talked to her about the time during and after the birth and what care is particularly valuable during this time.

Dear Erika, thank you for agreeing to answer our questions on this exciting and important topic. First of all, you can be found on Instagram under the name doula_bayern.

Thank you very much for the invitation to the interview, dear Sonja. I am delighted to have the opportunity to introduce myself and my work to your readers. My name is Erika, I am 42 years old and live with my partner, my 3 children and our dog in Mering (between Augsburg and Munich). Here I work as a doula birth attendant, systemic and psychological consultant, mental trainer and aroma practitioner. 

What does doula mean?

Doula comes from ancient Greek and loosely translated means "servant of the woman".

The doula is a non-medical helper and provides emotional and physical support to women/couples during pregnancy, childbirth and the early days with the baby. 

There is a long tradition of women being accompanied by other women (usually experienced in childbirth) during their pregnancies and births. In the last century, the birth process has been shifted more and more into the clinical environment. Currently, 98% of all births in Germany take place in the clinic. Here, women giving birth are predominantly provided with medical and technical care. Unfortunately, however, a continuous, sensitive 1:1 birth support can often not be guaranteed for various reasons. The doula can close this gap with her presence.

What was the trigger for you to choose this profession?

During an internship in the delivery room and many conversations with pregnant women, mothers, midwives and other specialist groups, it became clear to me that births can take a more positive course with good preparation, continuous care throughout all phases of the birth and individual support. In order to be able to offer women and couples competent support in this exciting, new and occasionally challenging phase and transition of life, I have taken the path of the doula. Over time, some further training in the field of systemic and psychological counseling has been added. With my offer, I have specialized in the period of transition from woman to mother and from lovers to parents as well as the topics related to becoming a family.

What is your goal as a doula?

As a doula, it is my wish to create a framework in which women can experience their pregnancy, birth, parenthood and the transition from woman to mother in a well-informed, self-determined, responsible and mindful manner.

Can you only use your services if you live in the greater Augsburg area, or is it also possible to get rid of your questions and problems via zoom or telephone?

I offer doula birth support within a radius of around 50 km around my place of residence in Mering. Coaching and advice can also be offered via Zoom and telephone beyond this area. 

Why is it so important to always have an experienced contact person during pregnancy?

The phase of pregnancy and birth but also life with the new family member is probably the most exciting time in the life of a woman and a couple. This time is often accompanied by new challenges and questions. Each individual and also the family system is confronted with new roles, tasks and requirements. 

My advice and support offer the opportunity to become aware of your resources, to arrive mindfully in the new phase of life, to experience the time of pregnancy and parenthood in balance and with joy and awareness.

It is important for me to mention that the doula is not a substitute for the support of a midwife – at best, she complements the work of the midwife.

Do you rather accompany the pregnant women or basically the whole family?

The need that each woman has for support is very individual. Basically, I consider the entire family system and the family environment of the woman. Depending on what wishes are expressed for the respective accompaniment, we work out possibilities together to fulfill them.

Does your counseling and support end with the birth?

No - after the birth, there are usually a few home visits and discussions to discuss the birth experience. In addition, I offer active support in the early days with the baby. Here, too, the needs and wishes are very different and must be specified in detail for each accompaniment. 

Do you have any recommendations for a relaxed time before the birth or things that are better left alone?

Dear Sonja, I would like to base my recommendation on your motto "From today on I'll be nice to myself". Pregnancy is associated with many internal and external changes and processes. 

Lovingly accepting and integrating physical changes – paying attention to the body and skin, pampering yourself or being pampered with a nice oil or care product. Using the power of aromatherapy to ensure emotional relaxation and balance. 

And at the same time to consciously perceive the changes inside, to recognize and name your own needs and to shape the transformation from woman to mother with a large portion of self-compassion, acceptance and anticipation. 

What positive feedback from your families has particularly stuck with you?

There was a lot of touching and beautiful feedback from “my” families. I particularly liked the feedback from a woman who said that she was able to devote herself completely to the birth, felt secure in herself at all times and perceived me as the good fairy who "floated" her wishes through the room. has fulfilled. 

Thank you, Erika, for the interview

Interview from March 2022

Contact: Doula Bavaria | Instagram: @doula_bayern

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