The poo doula

Today I have been a doula.

For a constipated three-year-old.

We tried breathing, and laughing, and distraction, and pushing, and screaming, and squeezing hands, and talking about how mummy pushed babies out of her yoni.

We tried good cop, bad cop. We tried patience and gentleness. We tried insistence. We played hardball and said there was no going to her beloved playschool unless she did one.


It’s been three days… and counting… This child has managed to go eight days before without going. Getting more and more hyper, and cranky, and uncomfortable, and miserable, and sore, and not able to sleep, or eat much.

We have been stuffing her with fruit, and weetabix and withholding dairy. And getting her to drink lots of water. We have stroked her back and massaged her tummy and read her stories on the toilet and made cooing sounds of sympathy. We have tried singing songs, making jokes, reading books about poo, lying that it won’t hurt, threatening that it will hurt if she doesn’t do it soon, done huffing puffing birthday candle breaths…

Oh how like labour this is, I thought. And what a great doula I would make, gently, wisely coaching a woman through.

“Push” I suggest gently.
She ignores me.
“Just try, a gentle push”, I say.
“No!”
“A little push, go on.!”
“No!”
“Oh for goodness sakes just push, for flips sake, you have to push or it’s never going to come out!”

How many doulas and midwives resist saying this every day of their working lives? Ah well! I think I’ll stick to being a writer!

  1. Laura
    Laura10-25-2011

    you could be my doula any day…(not that there’ll be any need…ever!) x x

  2. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet10-25-2011

    Oh – thank you Laura. But you can’t really mean it if you’re never going to put me to the test… There I’ve thrown down the gauntlet!! Hie thee to thy husband and I’ll see you in nine months time! :) xx

  3. Alicia C.
    Alicia C.10-26-2011

    My oldest was the same way. I’d spend entire nights in the bathroom… singing, reading books, pushing, begging… Having been there, I know it takes someone extra special to be a “poo doula”!

  4. Michelle @ The Parent Vortex
    Michelle @ The Parent Vortex10-26-2011

    My toddler went about 3 or 4 days and eventually the poop started moving again after a lot of running around and some more water. I’m sure you’ve tried these things already, but I thought I’d put them out there just in case. :)

  5. Rose
    Rose10-26-2011

    Wonderful post! The title intrigued me a lot and reading it well I too have been here with my little ones … last time I gave fresh squeezed orange juice and that worked like a dream. X

  6. mamapoekie
    mamapoekie10-26-2011

    LOL! I’ve been doula-ing my daughter for a while now too :)

  7. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet10-26-2011

    Thanks all for the empathy and suggestions – yup tried orange juice – we often use prune juice too (which I call medicine juice and administer by the spoon-ful.)

    Another mama suggest oxygen capsules worked for her.

    We find the chiropractor works like a dream – in fact he’s now known as the poo doctor in our house, which makes him laugh – but it’s not a cheap solution.

    Children on the autistic/ Sensory Processing Disorder spectrum, which she is, often struggle with this. Partly a control issue and partly to do with their rigid eating issues and fussiness. Also it hurts and pain feels super-bad for them…

    Her playschool teacher sent her home with a wonderful book called Everybody Poos by Taro Gomi which I highly recommend – lots of pictures of animal poo and written at a 2-4 year old level.

  8. Stephanie
    Stephanie10-26-2011

    what a good Mommy you are. She is blessed. saying hello from the GC

  9. Allurynn
    Allurynn10-26-2011

    I quickly learned that my youngest has my intestinal tendencies, so I have been there as well with him. You are so right about us being poo doulas! Tried all the approaches you shared while doing my own gentle coaching with song and even some yoga movements. I found that they are such little busy bodies that they don’t want to spend the time it takes to just do it, lol What’s helped us was to share that everyone even animals do it, so good idea about that book! I also started to offer him a small amount of raisins every morning, this has kept him regular and now a year later he’s found it’s not that bad to sit and spend the time it take :)

  10. Dreamingaloudnet
    Dreamingaloudnet10-27-2011

    Thanks Stephanie and Allurynn, great to have circle members here. Unfortunately she hate raisins, cos a few people have suggested them. We did a lot of row, row, row your boat on the toilet, and lots of running and jumping outside. But yes, you’re right, they don’t like to sit to take the time it takes, but she also actively stops it because she’s afraid it’ll hurt… as all mamas can empathise I’m sure – “something THAT size out of a hole THAT size- it’s gotta hurt!”

Leave a Reply