(click link to read the entire interview on birthzang.co.uk)
I got asked today whether I support women who already have a birth partner, usually their life partner, and yes I do. I think being a doula supporting almost 100 births, I must have done maybe five where there wasn’t also a birth partner present.
These were special because my birth doula role merged somewhat with the birth partner role and it was just me and the birthing woman, journeying towards welcoming her baby and just us in the birth room (with a midwife also).
But most of the time, my role as a doula is ‘space-holder’. I hold space for the couple.
That means I create space for people to explore their thoughts, feelings, options around birth and then when we get to the birth I hold that space allowing them to do their thing – the birthing woman in her birthing power birthing her baby or babies, and the birth partner doing their vital partnering thing of being totally present in each moment with her, usually in absolute awe of her strength and perseverance. I support ‘them’ to have a positive birth experience.”
Click link above to read this great interview with doula Lisa Ramsey on what a doula “does”…
If you look at scientific literature, you find over and over again that many interventions increase risk to mother and child instead of decreasing it.
When I ask my medical students to describe their image of a woman who elects to birth with a midwife rather than with an obstetrician, they generally describe a woman who wears long cotton skirts, braids her hair, eats only organic vegan food, does yoga, and maybe drives a VW microbus. What they don’t envision is the omnivorous, pants-wearing science geek standing before them.
Indeed, they become downright confused when I go on to explain that there was really only one reason why my mate — an academic internist — and I decided to ditch our obstetrician and move to a midwife: Our midwife could be trusted to be scientific, whereas our obstetrician could not.
(click link at the top to read the rest of the article on TheAtlantic.com)
“How old is your baby?” asked a woman not much older than me as I tossed four bars of chocolate into my grocery cart, two of which would be my reward for getting the baby to sleep that afternoon.
“Almost 3 months,” I responded, blinking in the harsh light and quickly rubbing my eyes to check for crust, after remembering I hadn’t looked in the mirror before leaving the house—again. It wasn’t until someone spoke to me in public that I realized that in rushing around like a lunatic getting the baby ready, I didn’t even give myself a once-over.
The woman nodded sagely and said, “Ah, you’re still in the 100 Days of Darkness,” before commenting on how cute my baby is.
One Hundred Days of Darkness—I’ve thought about it often since.
I often see or hear of women pushing themselves to return to normal as quickly as possible after birth. In a hurry to get their life and body back they jump into a myriad of activities at warp speed, often just days after giving birth. Riding on the birth and baby high, pumped full of adrenaline yet restless from the last few weeks of pregnancy, particularly if they felt like a watched pot, these women fill their schedule, attack their house, and find new projects determined to not be slowed down, impatiently trying to control and master this new version of normal. These women are often viewed with admiration and awe and the media highlights celebrities that are back to their prepregnant weight by 6 weeks or were spotted out jogging at 3 weeks or were back on the set of their TV show at 10 days. This is held up as the epitome of a strong woman, give birth, bounce back, conquer world. After all, women in China squat in a rice field, push their baby out and throw them on their back then return to work, right? It’s as though we’ve forgotten to celebrate. We’ve forgotten how important it is to rest after a hard work and enjoy the fruit of our labors. We’ve forgotten that while pregnancy and childbirth may not be an illness our bodies still need to recover from the taxing physical and emotional demands of the endeavor. Pregnancy, labor and childbirth may be a normal part of life but it is anything but easy. The change a woman’s body goes through are massive to say nothing of the emotional journey as well. Ignoring this reality can have serious consequences for our bodies, our emotional health, our breastfeeding relationship with our baby, our mothering, and our families. Do not underestimate the potential for damage if we neglect our postpartum healing. (click link above to read a fantastic blog about postpartum recovery)
More about Postpartum Recovery in the Postpartum section.
When Kate Kellogg became pregnant with her third child, she decided to give birth on The Farm, a midwifery center in Summertown, Tennessee, run by world-renowned midwife Ina May Gaskin. Some might think this is a surprising decision, given that Kellogg, 33, is a doctor. But after watching the documentary Birth Story and learning that The Farm’s 1,700 acres were just an hour from where they were living at the time, Kellogg and her husband became intrigued with the idea of giving birth there.
Have you ever cut your hair yourself? It might turn out okay, but then you get it done at the salon with the hypnotizing head massage and the mysterious, magical products and the blow-out-you-can-never-replicate and you realize, yeah, that was better with professionals. That’s kind of what doulas are to birth. (click link to read a great post on improvingbirth.org)