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Question #3: Why Am I a Doula?

I love this question!

In this post, I touched a little on some of the crises that happened around the time I learned I was pregnant. I followed my intuition to the Unity Center, where I really reconnected with Spirit and found a spiritual family.

The preacher likes to go around welcoming all the new folks, learning about them and what brought them to the church. I told a bit about my problems, how I was pregnant and really struggling with nowhere to turn, and how I really hoped to be put on the prayer list.

Well, some moments are just those that change your life on the spot. Becoming a mother and finding my church home are good examples.

A week or two later, a woman at church approached me and asked if I ever considered having a doula. I didn't know what a doula was, but she gave me some information. Apparently she was our local DONA doula trainer and a founding member of our local doula organization.

I'm a reader anyway, and I voraciously read anything that had to do with birth and pregnancy. I literally went straight from the health department, where I got my test results, to the library and - still crying - checked out about half a dozen pregnancy books. ~ LOL ~ The more I read, the more I just knew what I wanted my birth to be like. I learned about doulas and knew I was meant to be one.

People would ask me if I was scared of the birth, and I'd laugh. "Are you kidding?" I'd say. "I'm a birth goddess!" There was never any question in my mind that I could do it. I remember when I was very young, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I answered, "A mommy." From the day I learned I was pregnant, I visualized and spoke to my unborn baby, walking it through the birth process in exactly the way I wanted it to happen.

I know that I completely and totally manifested my 'perfect' birth experience. I was blessed to have midwives that supported me and my choices (although in retrospect, I was disappointed that they talked me out of having a doula! :P), I had a great hospital - I birthed at the only one locally that will 'let' you have a water birth - and I had a fantastic and supportive birth partner.

I knew that not everyone was that blessed. I'd heard so many horror stories, so many things that could have gone differently if the women had just been educated - or supported! - enough to speak up for themselves. I knew women who had come away from their birth experiences feeling separated, unfulfilled, or even angry and violated.

No woman should feel like that.

No matter what her birth experience, she should come away feeling empowered, knowing that she made her own choices for her birth and that she is beautiful, strong, and capable.

It was one of those things that, when I heard about it, how could I not make it part of my life?

I was supposed to take my doula training the weekend Eden was born - she was born two weeks 'early' (everyone told me first babies came late!). The woman I'd met at church had granted me a scholarship for the training. When I went into labor, she saved my spot for the next training six months later. Until then, I read and gained first hand experience becoming a mother.

I think it's sad that people are awed or congratulate me on my wonderful birth experiences. Yes, I'm very grateful and they were both fantastic - but I really believe every birth should be that way. Why are mine the exceptions and not the norms? Not every birth needs to be like my birth, but every woman deserves to have the perfect birth for her.

I'm a doula because I truly believe that's not only possible, but necessary for the good of humanity.


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 14th, 2006 07:57 pm (UTC)
I'm memorying this because it's awesome.
Apr. 14th, 2006 08:04 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you think so! Thank you; that means a lot to me.
Apr. 14th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
It's beautiful. :)
Apr. 14th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
That was a really interesting read... I've always felt that I want to be a mummy as well, I don't have any big career aspirations like some people! Like wanting to be some big shot company owner... more natural everyday things interest me.

I know very little about doulas- it sounds so interesting.
Apr. 15th, 2006 01:14 am (UTC)
I still have my goals and dreams, but I just have to take much smaller baby-steps to get there for the time being. :)

I'm glad you're finding my posts about doulas interesting. If it's something that intrigues you, you might enjoy checking out my archives for posts tagged 'doula', 'birth', or 'pregnancy'.
Apr. 15th, 2006 08:53 am (UTC)
Thanks- I'll do that :)
Apr. 15th, 2006 02:38 am (UTC)
What an awesome entry.

At present, my biological clock is going NUTS. Everything inside of me screams out for babies.

Interestingly enough, I may never actually give birth. I'm getting married this June, and we have both agreed to adopt... you know how you said you felt you were always meant to be a doula? I have always felt I was meant to adopt.

It's wild, how you can get that pull... how you can KNOW.

And I'm still learning how to take care of myself... I came from a bad birth, an unprepared mother who resented me for a long time. I've had lots of crazy bad childhood experiences.

But I feel that makes me even more worthy of the role of mother... because I made the commitment to myself a long time ago never to hurt anyone else the way I was hurt. That is my triumph over those who hurt me.

And I have worked, and I have learned, and I realize that I am so ready to give the unconditional love... and I know Dom will be an excellent father, he works with kids all the time as a psych major on the career path of helping children with psychological and behavioral difficulties. As a team, we will totally rock.

I know this...

But we are not financially prepared. We have graduating to do, degrees to obtain, financial stability to achieve. Heck, we're barely adults ourselves. I guess I have to do a little living for myself before I am ready to give so much to someone else. It's hard, the waiting... but it's for the best.

I don't know why I got into that... I just want to say that I totally respect and honor what you do... even though I may never give birth myself, I value the work you do and think there are too few people in the world with your compassion and your vision.

Thanks for writing this.

Apr. 15th, 2006 03:34 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it. You sound like you will be a great mama!

I didn't actually know I always wanted to be a doula. A mother, yes. I suppose once I heard of doulas, I knew I wanted to be a part of that. There is nothing more fantastic than being invited into someone's birth experience.

I think my mother's birth stories effected me as well. I know for sure that's why I had the birth *I* wanted. She was the first to share 'war stories'. That shouldn't be what birth's about. I heard her say, "We had no choice then." How can a woman not have choices? It's not right.

I can honestly say that I didn't feel ready to become a mother when I did. We do not have the financial stability, and I was younger than I meant to be. But all things happen for a reason, and my life has only changed for the better since we had our family. But I still can't wait until I get to choose and plan for my next one! LOL I also have always felt that I need to adopt, but I need to be in a much better place before I can do that. I feel like I'm meant to be a surrogate mother, too, but I'm still talking the Beloved into that one.
Apr. 15th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC)
Always lovely to read things where people are being positive about themselves and their choices. Congrats on getting to where you are today, a lot of birthing women are much better off now :)
Apr. 15th, 2006 03:35 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! That's so sweet of you to say. *blush*
Apr. 15th, 2006 03:45 am (UTC)
If you were closer you'd be on my birth call list :) I think that when women are called to a birthing profession, rather than just stumbling across it is when everyone benifits, especially the women giving birth :) All the girls I know who got called are amazing, the ones I know who just DO it, they could stand to retire or take some more classes ;) but you didnt hear that from ME!!
Apr. 15th, 2006 01:19 pm (UTC)
I don't see how anyone could get into that profession if it wasn't a passion. But then again - I think every job should be a passion!

I wish I was closer. That's the best compliment I could get!
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 15th, 2006 01:24 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the thing people seem to forget is that if you hire any car provider - OB, family phyician, midwife - they work for you. Hospitals are really consumer-driven. If more women spoke up for what they wanted, more options would be available.

I mean, I had to look around for the hospital near me that would 'let' me have the experience I wanted. So many women just don't do their research. If you're not taking a proactive stance in your own birth experience, how can you get mad when you don't get the experience you want?

Oh, I have such itchy fingers. I've gotten Eden's birth story started, but I can only work on it a little bit at a time. Must hurry... LOL But I have family in town, so it may be a while.
Apr. 16th, 2006 02:09 pm (UTC)
I certainly wish there had been someone like you around when I went through labour. Even though all 3 ended in c-sections, to have that support would have been incredible. (1st was emergency after 36 hours, 2nd one.. well.. I went into hospital on Monday and had her Saturday...you do the math!!! LOL... 3rd was the only one with no labour and was actually a beautiful experience, as much as having your stomach cut open can be beautiful) Thank you for sharing this... it was truly heartwarming and it will be something I'll suggest/offer to my daughters when the time comes. (since i'm FAR too young to be a granny, it had BETTER not be soon!!)
Apr. 16th, 2006 02:49 pm (UTC)
Doulas can definitely support people through cesarean births. Although I have recently heard that some doulas will actually leave the birth if the mom has an epidural or a cesarean, because 'doula services are no longer needed'. How could that be? A good doula will support the mom through any choice!

I agree with you - all birth is a beautiful experience, even if it's surgical birth. Cesareans definitely have their place, even I think they're waaaay overused today, but I think both the mom and dad could possibly benefit even more in a situation like that.

Definitely share the wonders of doulas with your children! LOL By all means, spread the word. Thanks so much! You know, doula services are also really great to gift at a baby shower. Some doulas will make up 'coupons' or 'certificates' to present to the momma, although I do think the momma should get to choose the doula she feels comfortable with, if at all possible.
Apr. 16th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
Grins.. well either I do it.. or you'll just have to travel up here to the Canadian Wilds. ROFLMAO...
Apr. 17th, 2006 03:35 am (UTC)
I have always wanted to go to the Canadian Wilds...
Apr. 17th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)
I really understand what you mean. One of my sister had a cesarean that could have been avoided, and I know she''s not happy of the way she gave birth. Now she's pregnant again and she chose another hospital to give birth, one supposed to listen more to her wishes.
Apr. 17th, 2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad to hear that she's taking an active part in how she gives birth! I hope she's able to have the birth experience she wants - or at least make the choices herself.

I would strongly urge her to check out ICAN's website. It's a wonderful resource for cesarean mommas (and VBACS)!

Also, feel free to pass no information about doulas (&/or direct her to my blog...) ;)
Apr. 18th, 2006 10:36 am (UTC)
I could direct her to your blog but I think I should check wether/how doulas exist and can be hired here in France...
Apr. 18th, 2006 03:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, they're everywhere! LOL Although, granted, sometimes you have to look. For instance, DONA, Int'l only lists DONA certified doulas on their website. But you can contact them to ask for members in your area, which would include a list of doulas working towarfd certification, if that makes sense. For instance, I'm not certified yet (need ONE MORE! birth), so I'm not listed on their site for my region. :P
Apr. 19th, 2006 01:53 am (UTC)
"I'm a doula because I truly believe that's not only possible, but necessary for the good of humanity."

Beautifully put!
Apr. 19th, 2006 02:34 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Feb. 8th, 2009 01:52 am (UTC)
See - said I'd eventually check out your doula stuff!

One thing that you touched on that I think is so important is the issue of informed consent. So many women go along with what they're told because they think they have to or they don't understand the potential downsides because they're not spelled out (e.g. when my waters were broken with my first baby, this was presented as "this will help speed things along" without the caveat of "but it will put you on a clock and if the baby hasn't come out within a certain amount of time, we're going to have to take him out"). I was unbelieveably well read on the issues surrounding birth for my first and did everything 'right.' I ended up with a section. Second time round, I changed the only things left (which really weren't much - basically it came down to letting things take as long as they needed as long as the baby was fine) and still had a section. That really did leave no other possible explanation than a dodgy pelvis, which we later found out was the case. Sadly, in many years of being on VBAC lists, there are so many women whose first section is nothing more than the result of medical negligence or following protocol rather than an individual's needs and that causes so much damage on top of what's already inflicted during surgery. I'm really glad that I'm not one of them. I've been able to be at peace with the fact that my body had a problem which prevented my being able to birth. I don't know if I could ever be at peace with the knowledge that if I'd been more informed or assertive I could have avoided a section.

I wish more women would take the trouble to research for themselves. Ultimately, any choices you make are YOURS and what is often forgotten is that it's not the medic who lives with the consequences of their recommendations.
Feb. 8th, 2009 02:01 am (UTC)
That's so true. I've even seen doctors or nurses be deliberately misleading, but for some reason people just take anything they say for granted. What's really sad is that you see a trend of inductions and cesareans around holidays sometimes, and to me that's just unconscionable. Interventions and cesarean births have their places and have saved many lives, but that doesn't mean that they should become routine.

I'm sorry your birth didn't go the way you wanted, but it's great that you learned from them and are at peace with it. It's sad when I find women who mourn their births. They shouldn't ever be like that.
Mar. 25th, 2011 05:14 am (UTC)
So wonderful
Mar. 25th, 2011 05:11 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I appreciate you dropping by.
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


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