No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
In some interviews, a question from naturally minded potential clients comes up: "Will you leave if I choose to get an epidural?"
I get why they think they need to ask this question, as I've encountered other doulas who do say yes. Doulas that do retain judgement about their clients choices and will leave.
No one knows how their labor will go. Even from one pregnancy to the next. You may set out with the goal of avoiding an epidural, but in the moment of labor, when there is this option of pain relief presented to you, you may change your mind. You may need to rest if you've been dealing with labor for days, heck even a few hours. Getting an epidural is perfectly ok! Even when you had initially not wanted one.
You didn't fail yourself.
You didn't fail your baby.
You certainly didn't fail me, because I'm not your grader.
You didn't make the wrong choice. You made the best choice for you, your body, your baby, your labor.
As your birth doula I will not leave you. I still have a role and can add value to your experience. Just as your job is not done, mine is not done.
You should be proud of whatever choice you make. You should be proud if you had a natural birth. You should be proud if you chose an epidural. You should be proud of the incredible strength it takes to go through a cesarean.
If you do experience trauma and regret about what happened, I don't leave you alone for that either. I provide postnatal appointments and continued postpartum support that allow you the opportunity to process the birth as you wish. I also have the resources to recommend additional support if needed..
A doula's job is about Continued Support, through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Judgement free, guilt free, shame free, unbiased support.
Wear All The Babies
I think most people are aware of babywearing and the amazing benefits it offers for your baby. Upright carrying also aids in the intellectual, physical, and emotional development of your baby when compared to laying in a car seat or stroller.
One topic I don't hear talked about very often is what babywearing can provide the mother.
No one ever mentioned to me that I might feel like I lost my pregnancy after my baby was born.
Maybe it's because a lot of the women in my circles don't actually really like being pregnant. I LOVED being pregnant. I have never felt more connected to my being, my soul, my baby. Sure I was getting towards feeling like a hippo, the only thing that fit me were pajamas and skirts, I had acid reflux to the point I'm pretty sure it burned my throat. But I LOVED being pregnant. I am so excited to be again someday.
I could not have been more elated to hold my daughter in my arms. She is one of the happiest babies you will ever meet. So smiley, so full of life and joy. She's been that way since day one. Even with her in my arms, I missed her. I missed her kicks, I missed her hiccups, I missed feeling centered around her. I longed for her.
This isn't to compare to an actual loss, by any means. I had a healthy baby and I felt this way. My heart absolutely breaks for those that not only loose their pregnancy, but their baby as well.
When I first wrapped my daughter in her coral colored Solly Baby Wrap, three days after her birth, I felt complete again. I could feel her heartbeat, her breathing. I put my hands on this little baby lump and felt centered and whole.
I am convinced wearing my baby helped me avoid postpartum depression. It allowed me to be connected to her, but have my independence. It allowed me to keep her close, but be able to move. As much as I am extension of her, she is an extension of me and during those early weeks I especially needed her with me.
She turned a year old recently and I am still wearing her and plan on continuing to wear her as long as she'll let me.
To use the 12 hour language or not to use the 12 hour language
There is this debate going on in the doula world regarding this thing called the 12 hour language.
The 12 Hour Language: A component in a doula's contract that states her flat fee covers prenatal visits, on-call time, 12 hours of in-person labor support, and a postnatal.
This stipulation is not a new concept in other business fields, or even a new concept in the doula field. It is not exclusively used by ProDoulas, nor is it required by the organization.
And yet doulas who use this language are being attacked by doulas who don't.
This debate does not need to be so confrontational. Some doulas offer their package to include unlimited continued support for a flat fee, and some doulas offer their package to include 12 hours of support for a flat fee.
In favor: Doula Sustainability
Against: Client Impacts
The pros and cons of each aspect are not black and white, and are often misunderstood by both sides.
For example there is a misunderstanding that a doula will stop supporting after 12 hours if she has the 12 hour language; whereas most doulas who use this have an hourly rate, which they charge if they need to stay longer.
Why can't doulas respect each other's differences in business structure and get along?
Doulas support clients without judgement or criticism even when the client makes a choice the doula adamantly opposes for their own family.
But ask some doulas to do the same for another doula and all support goes out the window.
Stop arguing, start respecting. Doula the Doula.
Embrace Births Doula Support Package currently includes unlimited support for a set fee.
The Modern Father - expanding gender roles
Gender Roles: "a set of societal norms dictating what types of behaviors are generally considered acceptable, appropriate, or desirable for a person based on their actual or perceived sex."
Have you seen this new hashtag? #MDRNFTHR ? The Modern Father.
An Instagram feed showing the masculine member of the household doing a typically feminine task. Started by Little Boogaweezin aiming to develop a brand for the modern members of a family in today's world.
The feed so far shows fathers
This movement speaks to me on so many levels.
I've posted a few photos of my husband wearing our daughter and a very typical response is "You're so lucky he does that".
I am not lucky my husband takes care of my baby.
I am not lucky my husband does the dishes.
I am not lucky my husband helps with the laundry.
I am not fortunate my husband works and allows me to have my job.
I am not fortunate my husband doesn't expect me to stay home.
I am not blessed my husband treats me so well.
I am not anything because my husband.
It's not about luck, fortune, or blessings. It's about the roles my partner and I have established for our relationship and how we do what works for us and our family.
We've removed the expectations typically defined by Mother/Father, Male/Female, Husband/Wife gender roles. We've moved past shoulds and should nots. We've created an existence that allows for the perfect amount of support for each member of our household.
I am thankful for my husband and everything he does for our family, for our daughter, our corgi, our marriage, our household, our life. But I am not lucky; it is not expected that he or I be the primary person responsible for a task typically assigned to one gender.
Whoever comprises your household, remove all preconceived expectations and feel how liberating it can be.