This week I had the opportunity to be involved with two different interviews, one where I was the one being interviewed and the other where I was interviewing a mom who has had 4 children with 4 different birth experiences. These conversations were based around pregnancy and childbirth in an effort to share our stories to bring courage and light to more women, empowering them to take the lead in their care and experiences.
It is my goal with this blog, and anywhere else I may share, to enlighten and empower women to take a leading role in their care. Pulling from my own experiences with the medical system, what I have learned, and continue to learn by connecting with more moms over their experiences.
If you know me in person you know that this is a topic that I could talk about for ages and not get tired.
I might get loud and brazen but tired isn’t going to happen. LOL
See this is my passion and I can live in this space because it is on my heart to serve in this arena.
One of the things that keeps coming up in conversations that I find extremely disturbing is how our medical system is dictating our care and how they are training their labor and delivery teams on how to handle having a doula attending and assisting their patients in the birth of their baby.
Now DO NOT get me wrong, I think it is great that there is training going on here, however I do not like that it comes from a place of hostility because a doula is not a threat to the team nor to the natural process that is happening in these precious moments.
In one of my conversations I mentioned how I had recently attended a birth, and the instant that I said I was her doula the hostility was there. It was with sarcasm that I was invited to continue into the birth room with her. Several times in the 15-20 minutes of us being there and the baby being born I was yelled at, treated as though I was not serving my friend, and even spoken to as though I had put my friend and her baby in danger. (Baby and mom were great and not in any danger!!)
In that experience I felt like I was their automatic enemy and that nothing I did or said would be received as I intended it to be and that I had to be aggressive to be heard. It was hard and I really felt bad for my friend, to me it made the experience more traumatizing or dramatic instead of creating, or at least trying to create, a calm and encouraging environment to support mom in those moments.
During my interview when I mentioned this the interviewer said that she has some contacts/friends that are nurses and that they have mentioned to her how they are trained how to create space between the mom and doula when a doula is a part of the birth team. Whether that is getting doula to walk away and them encouraging her to do what the doula had been suggesting with them instead of the trusted doula or to remove the influence to change the conversation, it isn't right. IE….if doula is suggesting that mom get up and move around or take a walk down the hall for a bit, asking the doula to go get something and then telling mom, why don’t we get you moving, come walk the halls with me…..
This may not seem like a big deal but that doula has been working with mom, building a relationship and creating a plan of support through that, the L&D team have just met this mom and have not built that trusting relationship.
In regards to the dictator mentality of our medical care through pregnancy and childbirth, I think it is really sad that our doctors are using vocabulary that takes our power away from us by removing words that make it even appear as though we have a choice. We are talked at and told what, when, how, and where we are going through our entire journey. This has to change!!
In my interview with the mom of 4, throughout her first 3 birth stories she repeatedly said, “They TOLD me……” This type of language made her believe that it was just the way things were done. She wasn’t informed of her different options and allowed to decide what was best for her and her baby, she was told how things were going to go.
And YES you do have options and many of them to be clear.
In her first pregnancy she was told that she would have a c-section because the baby was big and she wouldn’t be able to birth him without problems. After that she didn’t want to have another c-section and it took her speaking to almost every doctor in her area to find one that would support her in having a VBAC and even then it was on his terms. She was told she would be induced, when, and how it would happen, and then she was told to push when they wanted her to (this is coached pushing). She was lead to believe, again, that she had no say in the matter.
This happened again with her second natural birth after c-section and she was again induced and several interventions were done during her delivery process.
Then a friend shared some information with her and she knew that when she had her newest baby she would not be having her in a hospital! She wanted nothing to do with being told how she would be birthing!!! She found a midwife and had an amazing homebirth experience, where she called the shots, was left to labor how she felt was right for her, surrounded by her family and daddy being the first to touch their baby.
Doesn’t that sound amazing!!! I know it does to me and I think that is how God intended birth to be. It is a family event that should be a celebration and should honor the mom and her wishes in this very special natural occurrence.
Oh by the way if you are on your journey through fertility, pregnancy and/or childbirth come join my community here on Facebook where I share what I have learned, resources, and support you on your journey. Whether it's your first or your 5th we would love to have you!