Posted by doularama | Filed under Recommendations
When I was new to my doula practice, I made up some marketing materials that said, “Helping you have the birth you want.” I even ended some e-mails by sending people best wishes for the birth they want. I was trying to convey that, my agenda as a doula is not to inflict my beliefs on clients’ births.
I still feel this way. I try to give people the knowledge they need to make informed decisions without my biases. I’ve supported families in a variety of settings and scenarios that I would not choose myself. I’ve attended many births that were far from my ideal happily, knowing that the women had their own choices to make.
I’d like to think that I even still wish a little that people get to have the birth they want, especially my clients. It would be great if, after their births, everyone said, “Thanks, doula, that’s just what I wanted.” It might be great on some level, but what I really wish for people is that they have the birth that they need. Unfortunately, we don’t usually know what that might look like until afterwards, sometimes for a long time.
After all, I wouldn’t even be a doula if I had gotten the birth I had wanted. I got a very different birth, the one I needed to bring me to this beautiful place in my life. Every decision I made during those three days of birthing brought me further away from what I wanted and closer to what I needed. In the weeks that followed I had to release my misguided ideals and face the realities of the birthing world, eventually finding that I had a place in it.
Many women wish for fast labors. I’ve seen a couple of fast labors that left the women needing to catch up emotionally. These women often wish things had gone more slowly and need much more time to process. I wouldn’t wish a fast labor on anyone, even if it means overtime for me.
Some women have the coveted “easy” labors. They often overwork their bodies in the postpartum period and pass blood clots or faint in the middle of the street. Worse though, they aren’t connected with their power as women. It’s easy to feel that you can do anything after experiencing the amazing things your body can do in labor.
As a doula, I too have attended births that were, not so much what I wanted, but what I needed. I’ve learned things from every birth, some more than others, and I always need that, to learn and to grow.
It is an honor to be with families as they go through their journeys and grow. It isn’t always easy and it often involves some unexpected things, but it is truly a gift of life in more ways than one.
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