When you think of the word “midwife” you think of childbirth, however this is not the only kind of midwife. The other midwife is a death midwife or more commonly known as “death doula”.
What is a Death Doula?
A death doula is a man or woman whose job is to spend time with and advocate for someone who is terminally ill. The word doula originates from a Greek word that translates to “woman who serves” although today death doulas are both men and women. Doulas originally helped mothers through pregnancy and childbirth, but today the term has also been adopted by those who choose to help people who are dying.
What does a death doula do?
A death doula will spend time with the dying person and their family to try and make the dying person’s death more peaceful and advocate for them in administering their final wishes including liaising with hospitals and funeral homes if asked to do so.
Families during this often traumatic time won’t always know what to do for their loved ones. A doula is trained to listen, be fully present and available to be by the side of the ill to try to give them a comfortable passing. Doulas will do whatever makes the dying person happy. A doula will try to grant the dying patients last wishes.
To do this a doula will first talk to the patient on the phone a few times to get an understanding of what they would like. After finding out what the patient wants the doula will then visit the patient and spend their remaining time with them unless the patient wants otherwise. A doula can meet the patient anywhere - that may be in their home, a hospital, or a nursing home.
Where can I find a death doula?
Unfortunately death doulas are not everywhere in the United Sates yet as it is an emerging field. Your best bet when looking for a death doula is to contact your local hospice or hospital and ask them if they know of any organizations or individuals who specialize in this area. You can also search our funeral marketplace to find Death Doulas who service your area.