Thursday, October 18, 2012

Big Temporal Tipping Points

"And then there are Saturdays, big temporal tipping points when anything is possible."
-The 10th Doctor 

Saturday, September 29, 2012 was one of the greatest days in my life. I've finished my CAPPA labor doula workshop and I can start attending births officially as a doula now. Let me just say that I am so giddy to get started. The class was two days, Friday and Saturday. I feel like my life has been changed. It's another step to check off on my big list of dreams.

Often, I run across people who have no idea what a doula, also called a birthing assistant, is. Doula is a word meaning servant in Ancient Greek. A doula's role is to serve the mother, and sometimes the partner, in the role that is needed during the time which the woman is giving birth to a child. She educates, supports emotionally and physically, and helps to insure the family has the tools required to have a safe and empowering birth.

Birth is a long, and sometimes scary, process- especially for the first time mom that doesn't really know what to expect. No book, childbirth education class, or story shared from another mother can never fully prepare you for what birth is- the amazingness. Not only will giving birth affect the mother physically, it will also affect her mentally. She has to learn to trust her body to do what it was designed to do without her having even the slightest bit of control over it. She also has to completely surrender herself to the care of her support team, such as her partner and doula, to ensure that her environment stays safe around her. That can be unsettling. Laboring will take all her focus and strength. Often, taking on this role as the support person can be tough for the partner to do alone. They must tend to every need of their laboring partner as well as their own needs- such as eating, using the bathroom, or resting. Remembering all the comfort techniques and aids to help their laboring partner is hard as well when they're unsure of the change happening as well. This is where a doula comes in.

To the laboring mother and scared partner a doula is a friend, companion, counselor, fountain of knowledge, focal point, supporting actor, mother, coach, relief, bringer of water or food, massage therapist, advocate, and natural pain relief. Doulas drastically lower the cesarean rate in the average birth, lowering the rate of any interventions needed that can lead to cesarean as well. She has been educated in terms used by the nurses and doctors so she can explain to the parents what they may not understand. Also, she has been taught and learned from experience several tricks and positions that can be used to relieve pain as well as help stalled labor progress. While she will never speak to the nurses or doctor on her clients' behalf or tell them what to do, a doula will do all she can to help the parents make educated decisions they will be happy with.

A doula also gets more than money from such an opportunity, this is more than just her job. Birth is her passion. One of her greatest dreams will be to help every mother she can to have an empowered birth whether she chooses to have a epidural, has a natural birth, or ends in a c-section. Her task is to help the mother be at ease with the effort she put into her labor and the choices she made. A doula is a servant, she is there to provide comfort in whatever way that may be necessary and she is honored to do so.


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