Why I love to support childbearing women but hate being a doula
Childbirth is my passion. I talk about it every chance I get, to anyone who will listen. If no one will listen, I will talk to myself about birth.
So why would a lover of birth not take every opportunity to witness this miracle of life? Simple. I believe that every mother should be given the time, space, comfort, privacy and company she needs to have a physiologically normal birth. In my short doula career it quickly became apparent that birth is tinkered with in many out of home settings. This is where doulas are needed most. When a mother wants her birth and labor left alone she has to arm herself with a birth plan and a doula. Even that could put a target on her back as a ruthless and selfish “patient”. When she wants nature over intervention she is questioned, lectured and sometimes even threatened about her and her babies safety. All while she is working with her body to expel a human into the world. Mothers are violated in ways that out of a hospital would be completely inappropriate and maybe even criminal. In no other setting would a woman be drugged so she doesn’t feel anything, hooked to an IV, and then penetrated multiple times by strangers all disguised as saving both mom and baby’s life.
Birth happens differently when no one is managing the mother. When she is able to do what she wants, when she wants, and with whom she wants without having to ask permission or be questioned from her birth attendants, birth will happen most often uneventfully.
Doulas who attend moms who choose hospital birth are left to mediate between hospital policy, doctor and nurse practices, and parent wishes. All of these variables rarely line up in perfect harmony. Mothers are found negotiating one hospital policy in order for their other wishes to be granted. Doulas are stuck on a this line of teaching parents their options and staying professional in a hospital where doctors and nurses are in charge. Mothers are encouraged to give over all control and if they don’t they are labeled as bad parents.
I am officially taking off my doula hat. Even though I think that moms who choose or need a hospital birth should have a doula. Other women here in the Manhattan, KS area are better able to negotiate out of home birth settings for new moms who need a doula. For now I am going to study midwifery, encapsulate placentas, and work on my childbirth education series.
If an expecting mom has any questions or just want to talk about birth (my favorite subject) I would chat for hours. After all, I do love moms, babies, and BIRTH.