How do you sell a better birth?? How do you sell yourself as a Doula??
These two questions have had my head in a spin for a little while now. I mean, Birth is free right?? Women birth all day everyday all over the world so why would somebody pay another women to show up and hang out in the room with them while their baby comes out her ‘ladybits”!!
I mean if I’m honest, you would’ve have had a hard time selling the idea to me before my first birth. I was intensely insecure about letting anyone other than my husband see my body and I believed Birth was scary and dangerous and that the closer to medical resources I was, the better….and then I gave birth, once, twice, thrice and then a fourth time! I soon understood how little intervention was actually required. How amazingly capable God has created a Womens’ body to be. Of course, things can go wrong or off track sometimes and then there is a definite need for the medical professionals to do what they have been so well trained to do.
I kept coming back to one of our earliest lessons in Doula school where we were required to watch http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/ and note how we felt about the whole thing. I had a range of emotions from compassion to bitterness. I had an understanding of how it felt to be a miss-educated birthing mother, while also understanding every profession truly believes in the services they are providing. Doctors, Midwives and Nurses have worked long and hard, studying for years to earn their recognition in their specialised fields. And we need them, we need their expertise in those areas, we need their understanding of the human body and their knowledge of what to do in the event of unfortunate or unexpected outcomes. I never want to work or speak against them. I remember my first time as a Doula and how much I appreciated the Midwife involved and all her experience. But in this http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/ documentary there seemed to be an over riding notion from the Doctors point of view (well at least those being filmed in this case) that medical intervention or medical surroundings for every birth are in the best interest of a birthing mother.
This one eyed clinical understanding shocked me and made me sad.
Now don’t go getting me wrong, I’m not saying everyone should ‘free birth’ or even home birth, that’s absolutely an individual choice, one that everyone is entitled to make but shouldn’t make if they don’t feel comfortable in it. Did you know, literally thousands of studies have been done on the difference a Doula’s presences can make to a birthing woman? So many positive outcomes have been proven to increase within the surrounds of a more natural, instinctive, supported birth setting. This can still be achieved when a woman is birthing in a hospital, (and lets be honest, that is where the majority of labouring women birth in the western world today) simple adjustments to a stark clinical room, like dimmed lighting, minimal staffing interruptions and a trusted partner present are all very easy to achieve environmental changes, and yet their impact to a woman’s birthing outcome and experience can be huge. When a woman knows what is happening and feels in control of her body, the fear fades and she is empowered and focused. Understanding what her rights are and what is available to her can drastically change the outcome of her birth experience and memory. All these options need to be offered to the mother without guilt or bias or judgement.
In the end I realised this was why it was so important for me to make My Doula services available; not for the ‘business’ of birth but for “the love of mothers” and their experience in birth!
Doulas are women and so we are for women. We are for their babies. We are for their partners. We are for birth, in every setting, in every delivery.
We are there to enable that unique environment, to “hold the space”, as has become a famous Doula term. To show up to a birth knowing we have already given both the mother and father all the relevant medical and alternative information they need to make an educated decision in the coming moments that are best for their own personal situation and belief system. We are there to offer comfort and confidence to the birthing mother and her partner.
So to come back to my original questions; How do you sell a better birth?? How do you sell yourself as a Doula?? I have come to realise I need not ‘sell’ anything.
I simply speak to women as I would want to be spoken to myself. I give information to those who need and desire it, I offer encouragement and support, empathy and compassion and relief. I am non – judgemental with unwavering ethical standards.
When I am hired as a Doula, it has not been a business transaction, it has been an emotional, mental and physical investment, and I am to honour it as such.
Afterall, how can I sell birth when it is not mine to give!
I am, simply put, “For the Love of Mothers”