In light of the fact that I just had a birthday and my son’s birthday was this past week, a memory came back to me.
I remember my mother recapping her own birth story. She was a young woman having her first baby. It was an unmedicated, vaginal birth.
She tells about how painful her process was. At one point, the pain peaked and she began to use cuss words. In the same moment, she began to cry out for Jesus. Well, she had an older, black nurse tending to her at the time. This nurse said, very lovingly, “Baby, you can cuss or you can call on Jesus. But, you can’t do both.” To which my mother’s response was, “Ok, I call on Jesus.” She chose, in that moment, to lean on her faith.
She tells this story light-heartedly, with laughter and happy memories. As a doula, I have mixed feelings about this.
In the Christian community, there is a general understanding that expletives are not of godly character. It’s frowned upon in the conservative values of the Christian faith. And for some, it can bring about feelings of conviction.
Would you want to be reminded of the values you hold dear in a moment of intense pain? I know for me, as a Christian, I am offended at the use of cuss words. However, I have come to overlook them in this work. No judgment here. As a doula and woman who’s given birth three times, I’m sensitive to the fact that we can feel out of control and unlike ourselves in labor. But, would you be able to, in hindsight, overlook this piece of your birth story? Would your spouse?
Can we have an open dialogue about this?
For a birthing woman, there is nothing like knowing your spouse or partner is IN this with you. The labor and birth process is an incredibly vulnerable and intimate time and space. Most often up until the latter part of pregnancy women aren’t focused on the actual birth. There is far too much preparation to take place to focus on something SO BIG.
But, right around 30 weeks, or so, this labor and birth process gets real. It is coming! We begin to question whether or not we can do this. Even if we’ve done it before, we can question our abilities this time. “Can I do it this time? I want a natural unmedicated birth. Can I handle the pain?”, “I had a cesarean the last time, but want to try for a home birth. What if my body “doesn’t work”?”, or even “I want the drugs! Give me the good stuff right away! Is that okay?”
Through this process, there is a relying on our partner that might be a bit too much to for you to handle. At least, that’s what you think. But, let me give you the Top 5 things to say to your wife, mother of your child, lady that will give her the boost of confidence she needs when she’s having her internal, and sometimes external struggles with this birth that seems to be coming quickly.
I love you. • I trust you.
Not only will these 5 statements take you through the end of pregnancy, but they are PRICELESS GEMS during the labor process and into the parenting journey. If you want to be the hero, don’t try to save her from what is a natural process. Instead, comfort her with these few words and whatever other tools you happen to have in your toolkit.
You’ve got this! And if you need back-up, there’s ALWAYS a doula.
When a pregnant woman experiences abuse, so does the baby inside her. During the 1st trimester, physical and emotional abuse can cause miscarriage. During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters baby hears the yelling, the sirens, the crying, the chaos on the outside. This can lead to PTSD after birth. The woman’s high stress levels release cortisol, which can cause harm to brain development in utero.
There are many negative effects domestic violence can have on a developing baby. These are just a small few. If caught early enough the effects don’t have to be permanent.
Victims of domestic violence need to be supported. They need to feel safe. They need their voices heard.
For both woman and baby, it could make the difference between life and death. Please hit SHARE to broaden the awareness.
Need Help? The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
#OctoberIsDomesticViolenceAwarenessMonth #DVAM #DVAM2017#TakeAStand #BreakTheSilence #PurpleRibbon #YouAreNotAlone#NoLongerAVictim
Tonight, I'm up... Thinking. You know how that goes, right? My mind wandered onto an article I read a few years ago about how much a Stay-Home-Mom is worth. In summary, the article ended up listing ALL.THE.THINGS a stay-at-home mom does. Man, the list was astounding! Can I just tell you,
if that ever becomes a paid position...
Then my mind continued on to not only being a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom, but a doula and business owner. I happen to wear all of these hats. There is this conversation that happens in the doula community about what a doula "should charge" and why free doula's are a detriment to the profession of birth workers. The conversation can be very passionate and quite loud.
Before I get further into this post, let me preface it with, I know what it is to have to rob "Peter to pay Paul", pinch pennies, save up for something (for a long time), decide maybe I don't really NEED that "thing" cause honestly, it isn't in the budget. I assure you, I absolutely understand "the struggle". And It. Is. Real. Thankfully, we've been blessed to be in a much better place at this point in life.
Making the choice to serve, in any capacity, is not without its compassion, empathy, care, and concern. It's a matter and work of heart. Because of this, a large number of doulas want to save the birthing experience and are willing to give away their services to whoever "needs" them. Making the choice to be a doula is choosing to serve another unselfishly.
As a doula you have to set yourself aside; your opinions, judgments, and critiques to "hold space" for a birthing woman and her partner to allow them to be fully present in their birthing experience.
But, consider with me what it takes to be a doula: Initial and continuous training. The majority of which has some fee attached. An amazing support system to be on-call when she's on-call for you and your birth. For some doulas this is 24/7, every single day of the year. Her family has to understand she may not be able to make every event or she may have to leave at a moments notice- Even though it's her birthday party, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas. There is no "unplugging". Her phone is ALWAYS on and within reach. There are business fees- including websites, materials, doula gear, proper clothing, gas for her vehicle, babysitting fees, having to pay her back-up doula for being on-call even though she may never be called upon, etc. I could keep going....
So, I'm sharing all of this to say, when you're looking for a doula PLEASE don't be caught off guard when she tells you her fees. Hopefully, they're enough to provide a living wage for her family. I assure you, she didn't come to those numbers lightly. She factored in everything. And while it's important to know what you can afford, please take a moment to consider how you might be able to afford her, rather than how you can talk her down from her fee.
For me, my family is PRICELESS. This life I've been blessed with is PRICELESS. It's precious and time is fleeting. But, if you call, I'm coming. They will understand. Or... At least I hope so.
Just to be clear, there are many doulas out there who will doula for free or almost free. How they can afford to do so is beyond me. I sincerely hope this helps you to truly understand and appreciate your doula on a level deeper than her cost. She is sacrificing to serve. Her whole family is. And they are worth every penny.