Circles of Support: Giving and Receiving Support During Labour and Postpartum

I first came across this model of support in this article. I immediately saw how beautifully this could be adapted and applied to supporting pregnant people and their partners through labour and the early postpartum period.

It’s a very simple approach: support in, dump out.

All the support flows inwards, to the center of the circle, in this case, the person in labour. The person at the center of the circle receives ALL the support, from every other circle.

Conversely, requests, needs, venting, stress, anxiety, all flow outward from the centre circle. When a person in labour expresses how tired they are and how hard it is, their partner, in the next circle out, listens and validates. If they then feel anxious or worried about their partner's exhaustion, instead of sharing that with their partner, they share it with the next outward circle, and so on.

In this way, each person is able to hold space for the people within their inner circles, while those outside their circle are able to support them.

The reason that this model works so well is that it acknowledges that while an individual may not be in the centre of the circle, they will still have fears, worries, and needs to be met. This model accounts for that and offers a way to ensure that they can still receive the support they need, while providing support to the people in the centre.

I also love how as doulas we can move between the circles. We are able to give support wherever and whenever we see that it is needed. For some clients, that may mean we're in the second circle out from the centre. For others, that may mean we aren't needed until the family or friends circle. Whatever your needs, we will tailor our support to meet them. LEARN MORE>>

What do you think? Would this model work well for you? If not, how would you change it?


Rachel Parris Prenatal Classes Birth Doula Postpartum Doula 0 sq.jpg

Rachel is a DONA International Certified Birth DoulaBirthing From Within mentor, and mother of three. She is passionate about helping women and their partners discover their own inner strength and wisdom so that they can begin their parenting journey with confidence. With a focus on supporting her clients as they determine what their own priorities and preferences are for their birth while giving them the tools they need to realize those priorities, she feels fortunate to witness her clients come into their own and become their own best advocates.

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Rachel Parris

Rachel is a DONA International Certified Birth Doula, Birthing From Within mentor, and mother of three. She is passionate about helping women and their partners discover their own inner strength and wisdom so that they can begin their parenting journey with confidence. With a focus on supporting her clients as they determine what their own priorities and preferences are for their birth while giving them the tools they need to realize those priorities, she feels fortunate to witness her clients come into their own and become their own best advocates.