Doula Work is Community Care with Sarah Auna

Doula Work is Community Care

March 16, 2023

One of the first interviews I recorded for the podcast is with Sarah Auna (she/her)! Sarah Auna was a pivotal influence in my motherhood experience. She was my childbirth educator six years ago and completely reshaped how I viewed birth. Sarah and her co-lead Jamie introduced me to a new way of experiencing birth and empowered me to hire my doula! I didn’t even know what the heck a doula was before I met Sarah. So I thought who better than to introduce you to what a doula is than the woman who did that for me! 

In this conversation we talk about what a doula is, how to find a doula, how everyone should have access to a doula and what doula care could look like. Ultimately we want you to find the right doula for you. If you have any questions please comment on this post.

“The doula is here to help you navigate with grace and autonomy the birth you are given, not the birth you want.”

-Sarah Auna (she/her)

What is a Doula?

  • They feel called to draw near to folks during a transformational time of birth
  • Collect expertise on a matter.. both traditional and scientific wisdom
  • Help shepard people through and facilitate navigation through birth
  • Physical presence and holding space for people experiencing birth
  • Hands on touch and comforting 
  • Here to bring your best self to the birth experience
  • The living embodiment of knowledge and wisdom
  • The doula is here to help you navigate with grace and autonomy the birth you are given, not the birth you want.
  • Advocate for the birther and birthing family
  • Enhances the environment during the birth

There is an array of training that you can collect for your professionalism as a Doula. When searching for a doula check out their trainings, experience but ultimately it should come down to connection. If you feel safe and comfortable with this doula. 

“My teachers are the parents and the babies.”

– Sarah Auna (she/her)

How did you find this work Sarah? Sarah says, “Birth Doula-ing is Work that you are called to.” You see this deep need in your community and you are called to it. In the interview Sarah shares the story of the specific moment she felt herself called this work and it was at the birth of her second child.

Sarah says, “When I was birthing my second child, it was on a Tuesday at 11 o’clock in the morning.. I remember thinking to myself, This is what their 11 o’clock on a Tuesday looks like? I want my 11 o’clock on a Tuesday to look like this. I want my life to be in witness or participation to this level of impact.” 

“It is not lost on me, the impact of being witness to such incredible hard, beautiful work.”

-Sarah Auna (she/her)

How do I find a Doula?

  • It feels like Dating! It kind of is like dating. You want to feel the butterflies and excitement about your doula. 
  • Doula Match, Queer Doula Network, Search terms for your google search and narrow in your focus for what you are specially looking for 
  • Prenatal Yoga Studios can connect you to Doulas
  • Birth Educators, Midwives and Prenatal Chiropractors can connect you to Doulas.
  • Ask your friends and network. Be emotionally prepared for hearing about your network’s birth experience when you ask for referrals. “Peace bubble”

What are some of the benefits for having a Doula present with you?

Sarah says, “If you want a safer, faster and more pleasurable birth experience you want a Doula.” If you desire to access evidence based information during your birth. A benefit for hiring a doula is that they advocate for your whole family’s well being. They are not paid by the hospital or your birthing place, they are there for you. “If you are dating Dr. Google, you should probably just get a Doula instead.” says Sarah. Ultimately if you are feeling called to having additional support for you and your partner… hiring a doula is the way to go!

Want to learn even more about what doulas are and do from other doulas? Watch the Doula Panel on the Membership portal! All of the doulas on the panel are from the Twin Cities surrounding area. Plus Sarah Auna is on the panel too!

How does a doula support the birthing parent’s partner?

“The doula allows the partner to just be in the birth as a witness and a helper at the level that they are actually able to bring. This allows the partner to be reborn as the parent that they are becoming; And not have to be the person that understands why the machine is beeping or understands the risks and benefits of every medication. The doula allows your partner to not be a birth expert but just be themselves.”  – Sarah Auna

Everyone should have access to Doula Care.

Doulas should charge what they are worth. We under value traditionally feminine and non-binary work and support in America. Some options you can do to find affordable options if cost is a factor for you not receiving doula care.

  • Medical Insurance Health Insurance.
  • Your Employer may have a program to help pay for your Doula.
  • Baby Shower or community fund – rather than collecting onesies and bows… everyone can contribute to a Doula Fund. 
  • Your hospital or birth center might have an “in-house” doula or acupuncture or acupressure specialists. 

What does Doula Care look like?

A doula does not need to be intertwined into your life prior to your birth. A doula can be present just at the birth or they can have a more extensive relationship. They may have prenatal appointments, childbirth education (PSA: Do not take Hospital Childbirth Classes), the duration of your birth in your home and at your birthing location. They may also have postpartum appointments to help you process your birth and care for you while you are postpartum. They may even offer unlimited text support during your on-call time or from 38 weeks until the baby is born. 

“The line between you and your doula always stays warm.”

– Sarah Auna (she/her)

About Sarah Auna (she/her)

“To be a doula is to be myself.”

I’m an approachable birth doula, called to this work to inspire, understanding that my profession is based on purpose. I am practical, curious, and ready to facilitate a positive birth and postpartum experience for you and your family.

I started my professional career as a journalist, educated at University of Minnesota at Duluth, witnessing and researching social issues important to the community. My published series on homelessness, Without A Roof, in the Pottstown Mercury in Pennsylvania, led to the creation of the first ever homeless shelter in the county. I have also served as a journalist for Minnesota Public Radio and KARE11. In all of these positions, I was driven to learn. Learn the hearts of the people whose stories I told. Learn the conditions and systems in which they raised their families. Learn how their lives were either enhanced or diminished by these systems.

As my professional life unfolded, so did my personal life, my family life. Marriage and children. Through my own births, I learned to ask “How can birth be safer, simpler, more enjoyable for families?”

I studied, became certified and started teaching prenatal yoga and childbirth education. Along the way, I built many relationships as an educator and outreach coordinator for Blooma, running their keystone event, Bellyrama for three years. I also founded Birth Doula Centering and Modern Parent Village, both community-care models of douling for families and birth professionals seeking more connection and depth during the birthing time.

Over the last ten years, I have served as a doula for over 400 births and worked at every hospital and independent birth center in the Twin Cities.

Becoming a doula, becoming more me, has unlocked many beautiful and authentic opportunities in my life. I have been able to draw on the vulnerability and courage of the families I have served, to live a life that feels true and intuitive. It has allowed me to be an independent business woman, to travel and facilitate yoga and self-renewal retreats locally and internationally.

I live on occupied and unceded Dakota and Anishinaabe land (also known as Minneapolis, the city with one of the largest birth disparities based on race in the country). We believe and proudly proclaim that Black Lives Matter, Love is Love and that ALL families deserve safety, simplicity and ease. I am a queer woman who uses she/her pronouns and actively and vocally works to be anti-racist and in-realtionship with the BIPOC birth workers who have solutions to reducing birth rate disparities for the black, brown and indeginous birth givers in our community and the United States.

In my work, my intention is to truly work alongside each client, and help them realize they are safe inside their own bodies.



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