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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is an End of Life Doula?

Most people know of doulas as being birth doulas. The word “doula” is a Greek word meaning a woman of service. The role of the birth doula is to guide and companion the pregnant woman before, during and after birth. Our souls intuitively know how to give birth and how to be born into the earthly plane, and how to take that first breath, but having the companionship and guidance of another human who cares deeply and who offers comfort, support and knowledge can be quite valuable.

 

End of Life Doulas also serve as guides and companions at the other transitional time in our lives…death. Our souls also know intuitively how to pass from the earthly plane, and how to take that last breath, but we humans have a hard time with it. Culturally, we hide death away in nursing homes and hospitals and funeral homes so we don’t have to think about it or talk about it or see it. We treat death as though it were taboo and yet death is as honorable a time in a person’s life as birth. Death is a part of life. It will happen to each one of us. What I know to be true is that there is as much beauty in our dying as there is in our being born. Difficult? Yes, of course. Painful? Yes, of course. Beautiful? Yes, of course. But birth is also difficult and painful and beautiful.

Is an End of Life Doula a replacement for hospice care?

No. End of Life Doulas are a wonderful complement to hospice care! Hospice does a great job with medical care and symptom management, something End of Life Doulas do not provide. End of Life Doulas fill the gap between what hospice does and what the caregivers can do. End of Life Doulas provide one-on-one emotional and spiritual support for the dying and their loved ones/caregivers. End of Life Doulas companion the dying, honoring the sacred space at the end of life. They offer the opportunity to do life review work, help with the creation of legacy projects for those who want to leave something of meaning and memory for their family and friends, and work with the dying person to create a vigil plan for the final days and hours of life. A person can have both hospice care and an end of life doula.

What does it mean to "hold space" for someone?

To hold space means:

  • to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they are on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.  ~Heather Plett

  • the process of witnessing and validating someone else's emotional state while simultaneously being present to your own. When you hold space you are creating a container for the other person's emotions to come up, be seen without the interference of your own, and be released. ~Connor Beaton