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.
Posted by doularama | Filed under Recommendations
I loved being pregnant and was never in a hurry to be done with it. Many women, however, are eager for labor to begin and so it is easy to find advice on how to induce labor. There are lots of things to try, some safer than others. Ultimately, they won’t work unless your baby is really ready to come out. Spicy food is supposed to induce labor, probably because of the way it will stimulate your bowels. If you’re not prone to heartburn, I say this is a good excuse to eat a plate of cookies. Alas, I do miss the days of pregnancy!
2 ½ C flour
1 ½ t baking soda
¾ t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
½ t ground cloves
½ t salt
½ t cayenne pepper
8 T butter
½ C sugar
1 C brown sugar
1/3 C molasses
¼ C egg whites
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, baking soda and spices and set
aside. Cream the butter and sugars together. Add the molasses to the creamed
butter, then add the egg whites until combined. Add the dry ingredients
slowly. Once incorporated, roll dough into 1 inch balls and place onto
baking tray. Bake 8-10 minutes. Recipe by Gale Gand.
Cool. Eat. Hope for a baby.
I’ve never used a rebozo at a birth because, up until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t trained and didn’t really know what to do with one. Several months ago, I wondered if one of those five-dollar “pashmina” shawls that are being peddled by any one of the hundreds of street and small store salesmen in my fine city would do as a rebozo until I figured out what to do with a real one and bought it. I threw one in my doula bag, mostly in case someone was cold during a birth, but also in case I got up the courage to use it. I never took it out, as births are usually warmer than cold and my rebozo experimentation never poked it’s head at those times. Recently, when placing an order through the DONA Boutique, I saw that they are selling rebozos for only $10. That is a bargain! To my surprise they had one in black. My doula motif is mostly black and white (and oh, how it isn’t), so that’s the one I had to have. I laughed when my package arrived and I saw that my rebozo looked like it had been purchased by the Nigerian guy on Broadway and 74th Street, same package and all. It doesn’t matter that it cost me twice as much. At least I know that the shawl I already have in my bag will indeed suffice as a rebozo. I’m sure DONA can put the profits to good use too.
The rebozo is a traditional Mexican garment, like a long shawl or Spanish mantilla. In addition to its use as a shawl, it is multifunctional, being used during pregnancy, labor and as a baby or toddler carrier. During pregnancy, it is used to counteract back pain, during labor to help the mother into various positions, for relaxation and to adjust the position of the baby.
When used by a doula, the rebozo is like an extension of the arms, allowing one to help support the woman’s weight and helping to ensure that she is in a good position. During the pushing stage of labor, it can be used like a tug-of-war rope to help the mother focus her pushing and widen the pelvic outlet. The rebozo can be used by a midwife to assist in repositioning a posterior or breech baby.
The most basic technique one can practice with a rebozo is used to relax the soft tissues of the abdomen and the broad uterine ligaments. It is called jiggling or sifting and is pretty much what these names imply. This method can also be used during pregnancy to help the baby get into the optimal position for birth.
For photos and videos on these techniques and more, visit Spinning Babies and Birthing Essentials.
For books and other related materials, check out The Rebozo Way Project.
For more uses, view Midwifery Today’s Transcription of the Rebozo Workshop Given by Dona Irene Sotelo and Naoli Vianver.
So, go out and get a cheap pashmina shawl. Dress it up, dress it down and carry your groceries home from the farmer’s market in it. Then, when you’re pregnant, it will help you relax and get your baby into the right position for birth. When the time comes, it will be right there to help you in labor and even support you in pushing your baby out. How great that you can then use it to carry that baby. On second thought, maybe you don’t want to get such a cheap one.
Posted by doularama | Filed under News