What This Doula Wants You to Know

 

 

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Doulas are for everyone. At least, this one is. Doulas are not only for the earthy-crunchy, squat-in-a-field-by-the-river, no-medication-whatsoever Moms.  I believe everyone could benefit from some intensive support, no matter what your preference, plan, or non-plan is.

After all, birth is a monumental, incredible, life-changing experience, whether you think of it that way or not. And who wouldn’t want some degree of support while going through a monumental, life-changing experience?  But – believe it or not – some people don’t hire a doula. Which is absolutely okay. There are many mothers, sisters, friends, even partners out in the world who are up for the challenge and make incredible birth companions.

But pregnancy and birth is not always a straight line. It (sometimes) has it’s twists and turns, and  (sometimes) that’s when having a trained professional- someone who has been down this well worn path many, many times before, and has seen an endless number of variations of this dance- is invaluable.

But whether you hire a doula or not, my nervous, excited, ever-so-hopeful and determined mama…..there are a few things I really want to share with you.

  • Please, take a great deal of care and time when choosing your birth provider. Your provider is one of the most important decisions you will make in this process. He or she has a significant impact on the outcome of your birth. Please, talk to them open and honestly early on. Listen to what they say, and how they say it. Listen to the tone of voice they use, look at their facial expressions. Then listen for what they don’t say. Don’t be afraid to share everything you are concerned or curious about, or to ask anything, even the hard questions. Then notice how you feel when you are talking with them. Do you feel calm and at ease? Supported? Dismissed? Like they are truly listening? If you don’t get a good feeling and it doesn’t feel like a good match look into meeting another provider. You have the ability and the power to do so! It needs to be a good fit for you both! You need to feel completely comfortable in this relationship. There are all types out there. Just because this person was incredible with your good friend, or cousin, or cousin’s sister, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for you!!! Go with your gut.
  • Providers are human beings too. They have similar clinical training across the board, but all have their unique personalities. They bring to the table (and to your birth) with them their own “baggage”. They have opinions and history and past experiences that are going to impact they way they practice today. That doesn’t make them good or bad, only human! Again, find one that makes you feel comfortable! For example, if you are seeking a  VBAC and they seem on the fence about it early on, they are not going to suddenly change their mind halfway through YOUR pregnancy and become a huge advocate and push for it! You might wish that, but it’s not going to happen. So again, find the right fit, early on, or move on and keep looking. It’s a lot easier to find a compatible provider at week 15 than it is at week 36. Or, be prepared to constantly advocate for yourself every step of the way.
  • Remember to think outside the box. There are other places to give birth. Such as at home, with a skilled midwife, or at a Birth Center. Look into these options if you are low risk and seeking a natural birth. They are not so outside the box anymore. More and more women are seeking out these locations for their births because the return of a more a natural birth experience is becoming more and more mainstream. Many women are realizing that most hospitals treat birth as a medical event, a business, not a natural, normal process.
  • If you choose to use an OB as a provider, and there are many supportive, attentive, empathetic OB’s out there, find out how many other OB’s (and Certified Nurse Midwives who also may deliver there) are in the practice. It is not uncommon for a practice to have easily anywhere from 2 to 4 other providers, not counting CNM’s in the practice. So if you painstakingly do all your research and find YOUR PERFECT PROVIDER….please remember the chances of them being the actual person on call the day you go into labor are…well, you do the math. They rotate. So the chances are slim it will happen that way. So it’s best to wrap your head around that concept early on, and make sure all the providers are like-minded. Or find a smaller practice with a different doctor.
  • Education goes a long way. The more educated you are about pregnancy and birth, the more comfortable you will be when and if a deviation from your original plan happens. Take a childbirth class, a breastfeeding class, a newborn care class or all 3. Knowledge is power!
  • I can’t take the pain away…as a Doula I wish I could. But then I’d rob you of the experience of knowing you can and will do this. This experience will push you to the brink of your capabilities. It’s a rite of passage, no matter which way it happens. And the experience belongs to you. As a doula, I can be there by your side, helping you navigate the twists and turns, helping you stay as comfortable as possible, reminding you that you can do this, you’ve got what it takes to get through. Unwavering in my faith in you, and in the process.

You can do this….you will do this.

Remember you have so many choices along the way….

You can choose where to give birth.

You can choose to do it all natural.

You can choose a scheduled c-section.

You can choose an epidural.

You can choose to change your mind midway and go from all natural to an epidural.

You can choose to decline any or all medications for you or your baby.

You can choose not to consent to a procedure that is being recommended if you’ve carefully weighed the pros and cons and don’t believe it’s in your and your baby’s best interest.

But the beauty of this whole experience is you have a lot of power, and you have choices.

Don’t forget that!

 

 

 

A Page in Herstory

They gathered under a full moon. It was 3 a.m., but no one seemed to care. There was a buzz of nervous energy in the air. They all breathed a collective breath, ready to tackle the enormous task at hand, whatever it may bring. The 3 women traveled slowly, but with a purpose. Each would rely and lean upon the other at various times throughout this journey, starting now.
It is a journey that is always transformational, not just for the mother to be, but for all involved. To even be a witness to this event is to see the face of God in its many shapes and forms.
As they made their way to the next destination, which was far from the ideal location, but nevertheless would serve it’s purpose, the 3 women barely spoke. There was no need to. Each already understood what the other was feeling, saying without words.
When they arrived, ready to dig in to the task at hand, they were told there was no room for them. How ironic, they chuckled. No matter, we will find a way, they thought. We have since the beginning of time.
The tribe was separated for a brief time, and the earth tilted a little off its axis temporarily. But the women held strong to their vision, to the desired outcome, and overcame the obstacles that temporarily seemed to stop their progress together.   As soon as they were together again, the earth righted once again, and the magic returned. The dance began.
The lights were dim, the sounds were hushed, the people around them who became unknowing spectators to this great journey stared in awe and wonder at the power of the 3. The power ebbed and flowed, waxed and waned, transferred from one woman to the other, electrical and powerful and full of collective strength and wisdom. When one faltered, the others rose up to remind her “You are strong, you are powerful, you are loved, you are surrounded by everything you need “.
The one with child came in and out of her power. This was a most difficult journey for her in so many ways. This was not exactly the way she had hoped her daughter would enter this realm. She had hoped to be at home, surrounded by her familiar space, familiar sights, smells, sounds. This was far from that.

But in birth, as in death, one doesn’t always get to choose these details.
She rocks her hips back and forth, slowly in circles. This dance, which creates its own choreography, never has to be taught. It just is. It emanates from her inner Goddess wisdom. It is accompanied by sounds, low and deep. Resonating with Mother Earth herself, connecting her to her source. The transformation was happening, and it wasn’t easy. It would shake her to her core. It would drive her to the brink of madness and then return her back…But upon return, she was always greeted by her fellow sisters with a smile, a wipe of the brow, a reminder that this too shall pass and that the miracle of life was waiting to be born, struggling as hard as she was, waiting for her chance to come earthbound meet her tribe.
Time sped up, stood still, went backwards, and then stopped.
It was time.
The tribe slowly, wearily but steadfastly traveled the last leg of their journey. They arrived at their final destination and set themselves up for the final feat. They were ready, the time was here. They all took a collective deep breath. They connected to each other, to each one’s inner wisdom and collective strength, to the collective strength of the earth, of the cosmos, of all that is. And then the mother began the last part of the job of bringing forth the baby earth side.
It would not be easy.
It would not be painless.
But it would happen, as it always had.
And then suddenly, finally, the three women became four.
And the air was thick with the presence of a myriad of women…..the ones who had come before them…..those who had given birth or supported in the birth. Those who had raised children, those who had lost children, those who had loved children, who had taught children. They were all there, smiling, arms around each other, watching this newest miracle unfold in all its glory.
Watching the journey complete itself once again, as it always had, and as it always will.
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