Carmela Torres was 18 when she became pregnant for the first time. It was 1987 and she and her now-husband, Pablo Hernandez, were two idealistic young Colombians born in the coastal region of Montería who moved to the capital, Bogotá, in search of freedom and a better life. When Torres told her father she was expecting, so angered was he by the thought of his daughter having a child out of wedlock that they didn’t speak to each other for years.
Before she had a chance to hold him, her baby was whisked off to a neonatal intensive-care unit. Torres was simply told to get dressed and go home. “I didn’t even get to touch him,” she says. “They said I could come back and see him but the visiting times were very restricted—just a couple of hours a day. When I did visit I was allowed to look but not touch.”
(click link above to read the story on theatlantic.com)
For those who are even aware of doulas at all, the term might bring up images of health-conscious moms-to-be, drinking cold-pressed green juices and flitting between yoga class and Lamaze. Further adding to their bourgeois appeal, the New York Times describes doulas—certified professionals there to assist and educate mothers through the various emotional and physical aspects of birth—to be “like personal trainers” and part of a “growing demand for personal service,” akin to “the doorman, the yoga teacher, [or] Amazon Prime.” Even the Wikipedia page for “doula” sites the service’s class-specific tendency.
A new study, however, states that doulas should be for all—especially low-income mothers who are at higher risk for pre-term births and other complications. Researchers at the University of Minnesota analyzed Medicaid records across 12 states and found that “women with doula care had a 22 percent lower rate of preterm births compared to women who didn’t have doula support,” according to MPR News.
(click link to read the article on broadly.vice.com)
There are nearly 4 million births a year in the United States and 98% still arrive in hospitals, but the increase in birth centers run by midwives has obstetricians, health insurers and hospitals taking notice. The number of babies born annually in birth centers has jumped 56% since 2007 to about 16,000, while total U.S. births have dropped nearly 10% in the same time, according to federal data.
“My husband’s grandmother left a message saying she was coming over. Right. Now.
I’d been putting her visit off. I wanted the first week with our newborn to be a closed circle made up only of new mother, new father, and new baby. Benjamin was a wonder to us with eyes that hinted (I swear) of ancient wisdom. This time was our initiation into family life. It felt sacred to me in the way that life-changing experiences can. I didn’t want it muddied with polite conversation or awful clichés like “you look great.” (click link to read entire post)