Posts tagged doula
Posts tagged doula
“The love flows when the woman has been loved, and if she hasn’t been loved she doesn’t have love to give. Part of our job is loving her!” _ Penny Simkin
I believe in the power of music. I believe it has the power to turn around any mood, make you think deeper and hear the emotions you want in song. I believe that music therapy is not just about playing, it’s about feeling.
This has been a particularly hard week for me. As you can read from my last post I reached a tough spot with a client. It got to the point where I second guessed every word I said, the actions I made, and the content I sent. I went back over and over again and thought “I should’ve…” for two days straight. But at the end of every thought, I knew that I did what I was supposed to do. It was not my intent to create a mood of fear and distrust. I simply was doing my part in educating them in their decision. I made a suggestion, but followed with “it’s not my decision, it’s yours, educate yourselves. I’ll be there no matter what.” I’m being placed with the blame for the fear that has risen in these new parents. And ultimately they are questioning whether I’m a good fit for their birth space now, when really I feel they’re looking for a distraction and someone to blame for this inevitable hard choice they are going to make. It’s the most difficult thing to ever to let that happen and not get emotional. Birth is an impossible event to not get emotional. It’s so hard to feel that is is not my fault.
After talking with a friend and my mentor I realized I have to accept the fear and anger they are feeling towards me is not for me, but it’s at their fear. I needed to release them. I needed to give myself the permission to let go and not be involved anymore. My mentor suggested a little mediation. The best way for me to mediate and really shut my brain up is with music and a steamy bath.
First Devotchka ”And in your heart you know it to be true, you know what you gotta do, they all depend on you, and you already know how this will end….And now you know there’s a place in that sun, for all that you have done, no longer shall you need, you always wanted to believe, just ask and you shall receive, beyond your wildest dreams.” Yes sure, it’s a little dark and ominous, but the bass in the background and constant tune really calms me.
Second Priscilla Ahn ”Long walks in the dark through woods grown behind the park, I asked God who I’m supposed to be. The stars smiled down on me, God answered in silent reverie. I said a prayer and fell asleep.” I find myself still asking if what I did was right and I get the same answer, but I need to accept it.
Third Joni Mitchell ”They shake their heads tell me I’ve changed, well some thing’s lost but some thing’s gained in living everyday. I’ve looked at life from both sides now, from win and lose and still somehow, it’s life’s illusions I recall. I really don’t know life at all.” I did what I felt was right, yes I could have not done anything, yes I became a different doula in their eyes in the moment of delivery, but I still am me. And it’s their impression I can’t control
And lastly Coldplay ”When you try your best, but you don’t succeed…Stuck in reverse. I promise you I will learn from my mistakes. Tears stream down on your face…Lights will guide you home And ignite your bones, And I will try to fix you.” This is one of my all time favorite songs, and lullabies I sing to my son when he’s upset. It’s such a powerful song in so many situations. When it comes on the radio, I don’t care who’s with me, where I am, I close my eyes and just sing it straight my heart. I can try to fix the situation with my client, but I need to fix me instead.
At the end of my songs, I stood up and blew out four candles, three for my clients, wishing them the best delivery possible, happiest and healthiest of babies, and best in life as new parents. And one for me and the guilt I felt, I’m putting it out, I’m done with it, I’ve learned and I’m embracing a new day.
Yesterday I got the news a client’s OB wants to induce her next week, for no grounded medical reasoning besides the fact that he doesn’t want her to go past her due date too long. UGH. Granted she’ll have a sonogram on Friday to “see that every thing’s okay” but that is not a true reactive test. I called two of my mentors, gathered information, bookmarked websites and came up with an action plan. I called my client and went over everything with her. They are in good spirits and know that Tuesday is still a week away. Then I sent them an email summarizing our conversation with links for them to make an educated decision together.
Then I sat in bed last night going over every single sentence. Thinking…crap did I overstep? Am I pushing my own agenda on this anxious couple? This morning I sent another email to them, apologizing if I went too far and if they still like me. But is this really a case of foot in mouth? Am I impressing my opinions on them? I’ve never been an “overdue” pregnant woman, who am I to say, “just be patient”?
After the email sent I thought to myself, no you’re doing what they are paying you to do. Educate them, help them to make the best birth possible for their first child, help them make the best first decision as parents. Being a doula is not just about providing comfort a laboring mother, assistance and reassurance to her partner, rubbing her feet and getting snacks. It’s about being a birth advocate. It’s about listening to the desires of these parents to be and seeing they are followed through as much as possible. It’s about helping them remove those seeds of doubt planted by their providers when nothing is really wrong.
And ultimately it’s about helping them bend the plan when needed because nothing is certain in birth or life.
Today is precisely one of those days that I longed for in the long winters in Spokane. It’s 64 degrees here today in Colorado, I have been to the park twice with Connor, cleaned house and have all the windows open to some much needed fresh air. Of course on Monday we’re expected to get another arctic blast and snow, but the warm temps will be back again. For today, I’ll embrace it.
I have a client who is officially in her 39th week of her pregnancy. She’s ready. Ready to meet her son, ready to experience the birth, ready to see who this little boy will be. Can you blame her, how exciting!? With all of this sunshine and warm temps however she’s embraced the outdoors. Which are soon going to be seldom visited once those teen temperatures return and the little baby boy enters her world. I’ve given her a few tips on how to pass the time, but sometimes I feel like I’m running out of creativity!
What are some of your best tips for waiting for a big event? Waiting for baby? Waiting for a partner to return from a trip? Waiting to hear some good news? How do you embrace the minutes that slowly go by? How do you ground yourself into today?
For me, I bury myself deep in the kitchen. Whether it be meals for my family, snacks for the little guy, cookies and muffins as nurse bribes for when my client heads to the hospital. And I embrace all that winter has to offer…sunshine, snow and smiles.
Some facilities here in the states have mirrors that help women to see their birth progression, but this mirror will truly allow for all positions to work! I wonder if it will take off?
Just another reason why I love Sesame Street.
I know another video, but this was on a blog I frequently read and I was just in tears. And my thoughts continue to spread to those in Australia, Brazil, and Arizona.
A very interesting insight!!
Since I’m relatively obsessed with birth politics (especially when I’m ovulating, which is now) I feel like I am constantly scrutinizing people’s birth stories and pinpointing the exact issues that caused unnecessary augmentation and intervention in their birth process.
Example: a woman begins labor quickly, arrives at the ER (in my opinion, mistake #1 as this was a complication-free pregnancy) 2 CM dialated and they wheelchair her to her room (mistake #2) where she immediately asks for an epidural (#3), they give her one as she’s 4 CM, her birthing slows (duh), she’s laying down this entire process (#4) and her birth stalls at 7 CM. They give her pitocin (#5), upped her epidural (#6) and wait 2 hours (#7) and she is still stalled at 7. They decide that the baby’s head must be too big for her pelvis (#8) and C-section the baby out (#9). This is only ten hours after her labor begins. (#10) She says that she “wouldn’t have been able to push because it hurt too much anyway” (maybe not a cause but a symptom of her mistrust and disregard for her body).
There are so many places in this woman’s birth story where augmentation or intervention was unnecessary but happened/was given anyway. If this woman had access to or was given access to any good information and education about birth prior to her birth experience, a c-section probably wouldn’t have occurred. She could’ve birthed at home or at a birthing center (but could’ve chosen to birth at a hospital as well. Just coming armed with an informed birth plan would’ve helped), she might’ve known that movement during labor is really helpful, she might’ve been preparing for a natural birth through relaxation, meditation and alternative-pain remedy techniques, she might’ve opted away from pitocin if she knew that pitocin increases intensity and duration of contractions and would require more epidural that would continue to slow her labor, she might’ve known that 2 hours really isn’t a ton of time in the whole scheme of births, she might’ve known that her 7 lb. 5 oz. baby’s head was not in any way too large for her body to birth vaginally, she would’ve been expecting a longer labor because it was her first child, and she would’ve fully known the physical, mental and emotional risks of c-section to herself and to her child.
She might’ve known all these things if she was more informed about birth and the way women’s bodies birth. I’m not suggesting that it’s her fault that was was not educated about augmentation and intervention in birth (though, some fault may rest on her. As discussed in The Business of Being Born, some people research buying a car or TV more than about their birth experience). I am more suggesting that women need to be able to make informed choices about their bodies and their birth experiences. All she would’ve needed to do was watch The Business of Being Born or Orgasmic Birth or read ‘The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth’ or anything by Ina May Gaskin. The information is all there. Woman need to be encouraged and facilitated towards accessing it.
And maybe this particular woman would’ve made her choices the exact same way, even if she had all of the knowledge about what was happening to her body and what other people were deciding to do to it for her. But, she still would’ve had the opportunity to make her own informed choices. I would disagree with her 100% about those choices but I would be able to respect her for being informed and for making them herself.
This probably makes me seem judgmental. I can’t remember exactly where I watched this clip of Robbie Davis-Floyd discussing the way women often tiptoe around their positive, empowering, natural birth experiences because they don’t want to make other women who didn’t have the same type of experience “feel bad”. She suggests that this is why women don’t know that they can have options in their birth experiences and that their births can be better. Women are too concerned with coming off as “judgmental” or “superior” if they rave about their amazing experience. Birth can (and in my opinion, should) be an empowering, cathartic experience and many women don’t know that. As women, we need to help support others in the process of accessing this information and fostering these positive, empowered attitudes about birth.
(photo by Austin Kleon, an awesome “Mind Map” of the Documentary ‘The Business of Being Born’)
The US C-section rate rose yet again this year, and while there are cases that c-sections are more than necessary, there are many cases in which they aren’t. One way to help reduce your risk for a c-birth, is to hire a doula!