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Tuesday
Apr052005

Doula Post

On-going discussions about women's choices, how doulas hate them, how much should doulas tolerate/accept... has moved into our own ignorance even in education.

My comments:

This another part of my own walk that I see as women birth in ways I personally find aborrhant. I was that lemming! I was that woman who walked blindly down the induction, medication, episiotomy, etc. path and who, through sheer luck of the draw, found herself surrounded by Bradley, LLL women who gently illuminated the other path around the lake.

And I took that path.

I believe that if I, the ignorant of the decades, can find it, so can other women. I believe that we who do birth work share our experiences. The ripples begin and end in places we never have an awareness of.

Be the example you want others to follow.

This is my personal motto and I strive to work those words.

A voracious reader, my first birth mimicked the birth books. Hospitalized with all the inherent accoutrements.

When I learned there was another viewpoint, I took that to its extreme and UC'd.

With my third, I found (some) balance and had a U-Labor and a (somewhat) assisted car birth.

This was an earlier time (my car baby is now 19 years old), but back then, each time I thought I had completed my evolution. What else was there to learn? How many different ways can a baby be born? When #3, I'd attended maybe 30 other births. I am now 800 + above that number and while there are two *routes* for babies to be born, there are infinite WAYS for them to be born.

Because I have watched myself, and DOZENS of others, walk this path from Medical Model to Belief in Women & Birth Model, I remind those who cringe at women and their choices that, in 20 years, she might be a magnificent doula/midwife *because* of this part of her walk.

Even if YOU believe the woman doesn't have her baby's best interest at heart, even if YOU don't see her thinking of things, I believe SHE thinks she does. And isn't her perception as valid as yours? In fact, her perception is her reality. Your perception of her is YOUR illusion.

with regards to stripping membranes "hurting" the baby and a midwife saying that no, it doesn't hurt the baby

As a midwife, I would answer that question the same way. No, it doesn't hurt the baby. It might move things in YOU to another level... might rupture the membranes... might blah blah blah, but hurt the baby? Physically? No.

That is the question that people usually mean when they ask: Will it hurt the baby? (Can I have sex? Will it hurt the baby? If I ride the ferris wheel, will it hurt the baby?)

with regards to an epidural hurting the baby

But, this is the interesting part. Even midwives... even homebirth midwives... don't believe that what you asked hurts babies. In the way things are asked, I hear (again) "physically" and no, epidurals don't physically hurt the baby. It can cause issues in mom that have an effect on the baby so I don't even see the midwife answering evasively. She was answering clearly as to how she heard the question.

And many Many MANY medical and midwifery people don't believe either of the situations you asked about have ANY consequences at all. Even epidurals are seen as benign in many midwifery circles.

with regards to one's "ignorance" at a previous time and the doctor's belief that they are acting in the best interest of the mother and baby

But, see, they ARE acting in the absolute most wonderful interest of your baby. They still are and do. They believe 1000% that their care is optimal, correct, safe, and validated via studies and experiences. It is rare that I hear whispers of economics, lawsuits, or time contraints as reasons for what they do, although those of us here know better. They really, really REALLY believe they are doing the right and best thing. They think that those of us asking for individualized care, occasional monitoring, etc. are nuts and that we are asking for a dead baby by our "selfishness." I've heard that several times. "If I didn't have to go to court to defend my actions, I'd say 'leave her off the monitor - let her see what happens when she does.'"

I love my evolution. I love that I had a highly mechanized birth 22 years ago. It has helped shape me into the birth worker I am. Just as every birth, vaginal, cesarean, home, hospital, birth center, birthrape, hands-off, gentle, frantic, death-shrouded, life affirming birth I have attended has helped shape me into the birth worker I am.

And my evolution continues.

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