Monday, September 2, 2013

Doula tid bits

I am a Doula. My heart and soul bleed for mothers and I want nothing more than to be there for each and every one of them! I take my job very seriously, I work to be supportive of the choices that you have made and I work to help you and advocate for the decisions you will make in the future as well. My job begins the moment I have been contacted, and I am available to work with moms as they establish a nursing relationship with their infants. It's my calling!

What does a Doula do? A Doula is a crucial part of your birth team. Not to replace a spouse or partner, but to be an asset to the birth experience as a professionally trained, hands on support person. Simply speaking, it's helpful to have dedicated people in the birth environment who's only job is to help the laboring mother stay comfortable and focused on bringing her baby into this world. My favorite quote regarding Doulas: "If Doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it" -Dr. John H Kennell. To me it sums up the work of a Doula. Doulas are calm, objective and purposeful. We have been trained to seek cues from the birth parent(s) as to what they need. We are trained to seek ways throughout birth to keep birth moving and to keep the mother calm and focused. We have been trained to work as the liaison in stressful situations and we are here for you. The question is not "Do I need a Doula?" The question is "Which Doula is right for me?" There are many different types of women out there who have devoted themselves to the sacred work that a Doula does. We all have different backgrounds and we all have different offerings. Think about what helps you and comforts you as a person, and think about what you would need in those struggles and then seek out a Doula that will compliment that need for you.

I have written up a little "theory pep talk", hopefully it will inspire you! Think of it as "free professional advice" :)

Did you know giving birth is normal? Did you know anxiety about delivery is also normal?
That's right! Women, have been designed to have an egg meet sperm, and with that, to create and grow a human life within the womb and then yes, give birth. There are many ways to give birth. There is a right way and a wrong way for each and every woman that experiences pregnancy. That way is a personal experience and one that works with instincts as well as desires. Please know, when the plans are all laid out, the baby decides to be born, and guess what? Plans change. Oh yes they do! Each and every single birth is different. Reminds me of snowflakes. Each one unique in it's own special way. Just like women. I'm sure you've heard before that women are made to give birth. It's a fact. There is a lot of fear linked to giving birth. Most every birth has some level of anxiety related to the thought of having a baby. It's completely understandable. It's not everyday that our bodies partake in a marathon that is unlike any other. All of the preparations possible, and there can still be surprises. Birth is unpredictable. But, what if I told you I think I have something that can help. I bet you've read through some great pregnancy books! I've experienced two pregnancies of my own and that's always the first thing I go for when I get that positive pregnancy test. I want to sponge up all things birth related for the next 9 months and I want to eat, sleep and breathe the miracle that is growing inside of my belly. (excuse me, for the more technical folks out there, the miracle that is growing in my uterus)

Would you find it a little odd if I told you, along with those pregnancy books, to pick up a book on anxiety? You see, I have a long history of dealing with anxiety. There are a few things that helped. One was reading about anxiety and one was finding out how classic my symptoms were. It was like I could check mark each and every symptom that was listed in those books and I felt like, “Wow! If I am feeling this way and feel so alone right now, there must be many others who feel this exact same way”. Most importantly, I learned that my anxiety could not hurt me. It was unbearable at times, but I lived through it. I learned to embrace it, without fighting against it anymore, to just accept that I am a person with anxiety and that I have the tools necessary to coast through it until it passes. Much like labor and delivery. Each and every contraction is like a “wave” it works it's way through and then it vanishes. I've heard many women say they attempted to give birth without medication and then they panicked and then they made quick decisions based on relentless fear of what was going to happen next. Panic and birth simply can not work together. It's a disaster for anyone that's experienced it, because you are shaken. Your confidence runs to hide in the corner and you are left to feel helpless and in dire need of something to make it go away. Panic is a very real emotion. Panic almost always will get a person to want to get up and just run away without looking back. Anxiety has taught me though, you can't outrun it. And you certainly can't outrun birth. You are there, you have no choice, when that baby is coming out, there is no stopping it. How will you deal with that? It's helpful to be prepared for these feelings of fear. If you have ever felt fear before, which I can assume we all have. What did it feel like? What calmed you? Do you remember? If not, I am hoping you have some time to search that one deep in your soul.

Birth and fear go hand in hand, the more you channel what calms you and empowers you, the better you will be suited to seek the birth you desire. When all else fails, let go and give in. Rest in the fact that you have done all you can to prepare, and now, it's just time to journey through it and make it out on the other side holding that little one that made it all worth it!