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One Doula's Birth Philosophy

My wonderful friend nedia782 posted her birth philosophy the other day, and it really resonated with me. It's so well-written that I had to ask her permission to cross-post it here and share it:

Pregnancy is the most wonderful, scary, beautiful,
stressful time in a Woman's life. I believe that with
the proper self care (nutrition,exercise,meditation,
prayer, whatever works for you) a pregnancy will
proceed normally. I understand that there are things
that are out of your control, but at the same time
have come to see that a lot of women are told that
they are "high risk" when their "condition" can
usually be corrected with a change to their diet and

I believe that above all else, the Pregnant Mother is
responsible for the care of her unborn. Women should
educate themselves on every aspect of pregnancy and
birth, rather than rely completely on their care
providers. I think that there is a tendency in our
society to believe that OB's are the be all end all
for anything pregnancy related. I really hope to help
change this view, even if its one birth at a time :)

I believe that a healthy, normal pregnancy will
culminate in a healthy, normal birth. A Woman's body
knows what it needs to do and no one outside of the
Mother knows what's best for her during her labor.
I think that the only requirement to follow during
labor is to follow your body.

I have found that most hospitals and OB's have a
dramatically different view on birth. I choose to help
Mothers birth their babies, while they seem to try to
help babies "get out" of the mother. I hear time and
time again that a healthy baby is the only important
thing, and I could not disagree more.

NOT only is a healthy baby an important outcome, but a
Mothers feelings of how her birth went is ALSO very
important. If a woman walks away from her birth
thinking she did a horrible "job", or that her body
"just wasn't meant for birth", this kind of thinking
can undermine her self confidence as a new mother. It
can cause doubt about the care she is providing for
her infant, her ability to breastfeed,and a host of
other things. All of this causing a lot of undue
stress, anger and resentment at a time that is
stressful enough by itself. Your birth is something
that you will carry with you and look back on for the
rest of your life. A positive, happy, empowering birth
is something I think most women would prefer to

My views of pregnancy and birth are more in line with
the Midwifery model of care and ALACE, (alace.com). By
the Midwifery model I mean only using a hand held
doppler to check the baby's heart tones, no iv, no
movement restrictions, and no restrictions on eating
and drinking. Minimal vaginal checks, and letting the
mother push when she feels the urge, in whatever
position is most comfortable for her..

These are only one Woman's beliefs. I understand that
these things are not always an option, and I work with
that. No matter the circumstance, I feel my job as a
Doula is to help a woman have the birth SHE wants, not
necessarily what I want. I have never (nor would I
ever) judge a woman for having a hospital birth, an
epidural, or a c-section. If a Woman comes away from
her birth feeling empowered, that she was able to have
her ideal birth, then I have done my job. No one
should ever feel that they have to live up to someone
else's standards for birth.

I believe that Breastfeeding is the way to feed a
baby. Formula is something to only be considered in an
emergency. Its only after twice weaning my children
early that I have come to see how manipulative outside
factors can be. I have dedicated myself to many
causes. Breastfeeding is one on a very long list!!

Another non-profit organization I work with is NOCIRC
....All of my children are intact, meaning they have
not been circumcised. Our view is that it is not our
penis, therefore not our decision. When my children
are grown they can make that decision, and if they
choose circumcision we will pay for it. I just don't
see the need for me to decide for them, especially
right after they are born. Their sexuality is
something I hope isn't going to be an issue for at
LEAST 18 years, lol :)

I wholeheartedly believe that the amount of support a
woman receives before during and especially after her
birth directly contributes to her risk for Postpartum
Depression. We all hear "stay in bed as long as you
can" or "sleep when the baby sleeps"..All very real
and valid advice that should be followed. Some women
are not afforded that luxury. I think that a vital
role as a Doula is making sure you are available after
the birth. Even if it's just to talk, women need to
know that they have someone to call that will want to
take care of THEM. The focus is usually all on the
baby at that point, and I like to make sure Mommy
feels just as relaxed and pampered as the baby :) I
have done dishes, washed clothes, cooked meals, and
even just held the baby so Mom could shower, nap, or
study. Its a hard thing to try and relax with a new
baby. I want to give Mothers every chance I can. I
have three children, I know how it can get ;)


I've been doing a lot of birth reading, preparing myself in anticipation of meeting a long-time internet friend and supporting her and her husband through their birth. I've been spending a lot of time on the doula boards, reviewing resources & my training manual, reading birth stories, and my International Doula arrived the other day. I'm really excited about the prospect of getting back to birthing and completing my certification on time.

Here's another little page that I always read before every birth. It helps me keep my intention in the right place - which is especially helpful, since I know that as a birth junky, I have the tendency to break out my own birth stories. I'm working on that, trying to keep my births out of it unless I'm asked for examples. That's my biggest weakness, I think. Reading this, which was included in my DONA birth doula training package, really helps get my mind in the right space. I love it and wanted to share (it's fairly short):

What is Support?

Support is unconditional.

It is listening...
    not judging, not telling your own story.

Support is not offering advice...

    it is offering a handkerchief, a touch, a hug...caring.

We are here to help women discover what they are feeling...

    not to make the feelings go away.

We are here to help a woman identify her options...

    not to tell her which options to choose.

We are here to discuss steps with a woman...
    not to take the steps for her.

We are here to help a woman discover her own strength...
    not to rescue her and leave her still vulnerable.

We are here to help a woman discover she can help herself...
    not to take that responsibility for her.

We are here to help a woman learn to choose...
    not to make it unnecessary for her to make difficult choices.

      -- Anonymous


( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 16th, 2006 03:22 pm (UTC)
I think I may have to stop reading your doula posts, especially when paired with such a wonderful, cute icon.

You're begining to make me feel that perhaps the little rats aren't all that bad a thing to have =P
Jul. 16th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC)
I think I may have to stop reading your doula posts,

You had me scared there for a second! I thought my posts were becoming boring. :P

especially when paired with such a wonderful, cute icon.

Thank you so much! I made that after Ivy got so sick. I realized I didn't have a really good Ivy icon.

You're begining to make me feel that perhaps the little rats aren't all that bad a thing to have =P

They have their moments. Of course, I've found myself really missing Sea Monkeys lately...
Jul. 16th, 2006 03:48 pm (UTC)
hahaha! I read an article thing that said minor scares are good for your body. Or was that mild stress...

The icon is very pretty, soft and lovey-fuzzy-dovey.

And I remember having Sea Monkeys... my little habitat ended up working out too well and when I had an overpopulation problem I ... fed them all to my two goldfish at the time.
Jul. 16th, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)

I thought they died after two or three days. I suppose it's just me...
Jul. 16th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC)
That's what I expected too. I had them for a few days, got bored of them. Wondered what would happen when I ran out of food. Changed them into a larger cage. Got more eggs to get more food for them. Then wondered why I had to wonder why I would run out of food!

Then I realised that there was no going back to into the goldfish bowl they went to never be seen again!

It was my first cull. It emotionally scarred me. I'll never breed another living creature!
Jul. 16th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
It takes a while to get to a place where you can passively listen to someone talk about birth and NOT feel the overwhelming urge to talk about your own... :) I think it was after the 3rd or 4th birth that I got a hold of myself, lol!! :) The fact that you are able to recognize this aspect of yourself is AMAZING!!! Some people never see that or figure out that it could be offensive or off putting.

Anyone who decides that you are the Doula for them has made a very wise decision... :D
Jul. 16th, 2006 05:22 pm (UTC)
Aw, you sweet thing! Thank you so very much!

I hope you're not just saying that because I'm pimping you. ;P
Jul. 16th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC)
Not in the least :) I have been witness to your constant quest for infomation. You have never stopped expressing your desire to learn, and examine yourself as a Doula. Something not every one can say about themselves.
Jul. 16th, 2006 06:32 pm (UTC)
Oh, wow. That made me feel so good. Thank you so much! *hugs*
Jul. 16th, 2006 06:36 pm (UTC)
No problem :) *returns the squeeze* ;)
Jul. 16th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
You know, i'm always nothing short of astounded at how insightful you are when it comes to pregnancy and births...how dedicated you are in the pursuit of further knowledge...and this post has once again reinforced that belief.

It's incredibly reassuring.
Jul. 16th, 2006 08:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! You know, I think I'm dedicated to the pursuit of further knowledge because I don't feel as insightful as I wish I could be - lol. I'm glad to know that my posts come across that way.
Jul. 16th, 2006 10:55 pm (UTC)
Both you and Nedia make me wish I'd been able to do things differently and that I'd spent more time looking into alternative births.. although I do believe my hubby at the time would have had a hard time with it...

I think it's inspiring how you two are soooo passionate and I would have been honoured to have you there for me.. as such.. I think anyone who does have you there is rather blessed. And I'm not just sayen that!
Jul. 17th, 2006 03:12 am (UTC)
Thanks, willow! I'm so glad you think that. It's a little sad that you call them alternative births, and I think of them as normal births. But whatever the birth, it's just important that every woman claim hers. The more women who are passionate about powerful birth experiences, the better off *everyone* will be, IMO.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )


Ahavah Ehyeh

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