Wanna know a secret? This is YOUR birth.
Bless Your Heart
I recently did virtual support for a mom down south. When she was 2 days past her due date, she was so calm and completely relaxed. Yep...you read that right. She was relaxed. She was confident in her body and the process. She trusted her healthcare provider and she found comfort in her baby's ability to start labor when he was ready. She knew when her little boy was ready to make his grand entrance, he would. She knew her healthcare provider would let her know if anything was wrong and if not, she was going to keep herself busy until the time came. And she did.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. A mother, down south, with such a......crunchy outlook on birth. Her confidence in her own choices was overwhelming (and inspiring). It brought me to tears. It made me realize that the birth world is changing for the better and it's reaching places like rural, southern towns. I was beaming with pride. I was so proud of this mom, I wanted to stand on the rooftops and yell at the city of Boston about her strength and beauty. I was so proud that she was strong enough to face the cultural norms of the south and take control of her birth.
What Does Your Voice Sound Like?
Society has a funny way of putting guidelines and suggestions on every aspect of life. Every mom has an opinion. Every dad knows best. The teachers are the experts on every child--even when they don't have any of their own. Doctors are the end all, be all with everything medically related. Grandparents struggle with aligning their beliefs and attitudes with changing times. Organizations are responsible for making rules and regulations for everyday functioning that they are so far removed from. Big donors have more say that the little people actually affected by each decision. This is the society we've allowed to cultivate. Now, we must un-cultivate it. We must exercise our right to make choices for our own bodies and adopt a gentle, yet "to hell with everybody else" attitude. It's okay to respectfully disagree with someone on whether or not breastfeeding is right. It's perfectly acceptable to make the choice to have an all natural birth, even though everyone around you had an epidural and promises birth will be the most grueling task you ever go through. It's alright to tell someone that you have chosen to not be induced even though you EDD was 4 days ago. Finding your voice can be hard (and scary!). Having a doula can make this easier. When you have a doula, you know you always have at least one person in your corner who supports your choice and understands why you've chosen this route. You have someone to turn to for reassurance, but to also gently remind you that this is your birth. You have someone to explore options that may not be common in your area or among your closest friends or relatives. The even better news is that your closest friends and relative don't have to birth your baby; you do. You get to bring your baby into this world and why shouldn't you have choices about how that is done?
When you stop and think about your wedding day (whether you've been married for 30 years or are single and ready to mingle), think about all the preparation that went into or will go into your wedding day; photographers, venue, food, guests, invites, diets/workouts, attire, music, and flowers. I haven't planned a wedding and that is just what came to the top of my mind. I can't imagine the list of things I have forgotten. Imagine if we put this much effort into our expectant moms. Imagine, for one second, if we provided all moms with unbiased education, a safe space to explore options, an ear to discuss fears and worries, a neck to hug when accomplishments happen, a calm voice to talk her through each contraction, a hand to provide gentle, but deep touches to relieve pain, and arms to hold her baby in those first few weeks of postpartum so she can eat, shower, and take a short snooze. Imagine. What would our birth world look like? What would our real world look like?
When you find your voice, you don't have to yell. We will hear you.
The most defining part of my job as a doula is to provide mothers will a safe space to peacefully say their thoughts and wishes and to know they will be supported. You should choose your healthcare provider based on a similar beliefs about births. These beliefs include the use of medication and intervention, c-section rates, what to do if you go past your due date, immediate skin to skin contact, breastfeeding support, how soon you should start birth control after your delivery, etc. The list could go on and on. When choosing a healthcare provider, make sure to ask the questions that address topics that are important to you. A healthcare provider that listens and understands shared-decision making will have no problem honoring your wishes. You never want to be in a "yelling match" (hypothetical, metaphorical, or real) over your body, your baby, your birth, and your choices.
"Build your birth team with like-minded people who support you and your choices, who understand this isn't about them, and who will help you have the birth you've always dreamed of being able to have. Fill your delivery room with people who will help you dig deep and become the warrior princess you are. Choose people who will breathe deeply with you through each surge of contractions. Surround yourself with positive, encouraging personalities who will remind you of your strength, your beauty, and your power as a mom." XoXo, HeHe
--------------------------------------------------------------Congratulations to Grace and Hunter on the birth of your beautiful baby boy! You guys are already wonderful parents and you had such a lovely birth. I couldn't be more honored to have been given the chance to support you in this journey. Thank you for sharing your inspirational energy and your birth experience with me. Love always, HeHe
Tranquility by HeHe, A Concierge Birthing and Doula Service in Boston, Massachusetts