I enjoyed reading this post by Nurtured Moms about activism in the Birthing Room. It made me think back to a few months ago when I was SO nervous about my VBA2C’s mom upcoming birth. Was I going to have to be an Activist? Or could I just support Mom?
I didn’t know what role I was going to be playing with the staff.
When T. tried to hire me, I first said “No, don’t bother unless you change care providers and hospitals.” No you may not hire me!
- Her OB was the one that pulled the rug out from under her for her first VBAC try.
- The hospital was not VBAC friendly.
- I thought her chance of a VBAC there was about 1% chance.
So T. tried to find another care provider. She spent months trying to do so, but wouldn’t find anyone to support her in a VBA2C. She finally had her records switched to another care provider (for a cesarean) and her original OB said that she would really support her in her VBA2C, so she switched back.
This whole time we were in touch via e-mail and phone. I would give her other names of people to call, I would send her links, like when ACOG came out in support of some VBA2C. I knew how hard she was working to make it happen.
When she switched back she asked if I would be her doula.
I wasn’t sure what we would really be up against, but I had seen how hard she was working to achieve her goal and wanted to provide whatever support I could. So I said yes, but was really, really unsure what my role would be.
I think that doulas need to be educators and activists before the birth.
Then in the birthing room we need to support the parents in choices they make. We can certainly remind them of the pros and cons (that they should have already learned before hand – because it is hard to learn something new during birth!)
In this moms case, if we showed up at the hospital and they tried to pull the rug out from under her I would have to have really stuck up for the mom and supported her in the research and choice she had made to have a VBA2C. Unless there was something wrong with mom or baby, why change the plans? Her OB said she was on board, so I was going to really push for her to support mom.
I was so unsure of what my role would be
I was SO nervous about this birth! I had never gone into a birth before knowing it may be very adversarial.
I would have been a STRONG advocate for her, respecting whatever the mom wanted to do along the way! If the nurses or OB had tried to scare her into a cesarean if all was well with her and her baby, I would have helped her fight against it. In this case I would have been an activist IN the birthing room.
Luckily she had great support from all of the staff. I got to be a “normal” doula. Doing my normal doula things. Rubbing backs, walking the halls, reassuring her it was OK to get an epidural when she really wanted one, being amazed by birth. Respecting the mom and HER choices!
So I don’t want to be an activist in the birthing room, I don’t think doulas normally need to be, but there are times when it is the right thing to do.
Another great post http://wonderfullymadebelliesandbabies.blogspot.com/2011/05/our-own-worse-enemy.html