Birth Arts Certification Assignment

I have been rocking the assignments with my doula certification lately! I did four of them yesterday!!

Anyway, they had a worksheet to fill out about What is a Doula and why you want to be one.  So, I thought I would share my answers with you 🙂

Why do you want to be a doula?

When I had my daughter almost three years ago, I didn’t know there was a different way to have a pregnancy and birth. I was the ideal patient. I never asked questions, I read the books they told me to, I took the hospital birthing class, and I entrusted the care of my daughter and me to my providers completely. When complications arose and an emergency cesarean and a NICU stay ensued, I felt cheated after I learned I wasn’t informed about the procedures that were done to my daughter and me. I wasn’t an active participant in my care. I want to be a doula so no woman feels the way I felt after my birth. I want to help women know there is another way to birth, that their experience truly does mean something. That they can truly be an active part of their own birth, regardless of where or how they give birth to their child.

What personal qualities does a doula possess?

A doula needs to have patience, love, and endurance. When a birth goes on for days or ends up with unforeseen complications, the doula needs to be able to still be there for the family. She needs to be able to let the family completely into her heart and soul to truly be able to create and continue to aid the intimate aspect of birth. A doula needs to be able to put her views aside and truly on follow the couple’s wishes for the birth.

What skills and knowledge does she need to have?

A doula needs not only to know about birth, she needs to know the ins and outs of birth. She needs to be able to know how to relax a laboring woman that is afraid or stressed. She needs to know how to help take the fear out of a woman’s head so she can tune into herself so her body without worrying about problems that may occur. She needs to be able to inform a couple on the good and bad of interventions that may or may not be needed. She needs to be able to understand what is being said when the couple is laboring so she can interpret it for them when the contraction or moment is over and help them ask questions when they can concentrate. She needs to know how to help a couple inform themselves, not just spout her own take on ideas and influence their decision. She needs to know positions for labor and birth that can help take away pain and aid descent of the baby so the labor is easier on both mother and baby, not to mention the father. She needs to be able to follow her gut so she can truly instinctively know how to help a laboring woman in her hardest times. She needs to be able to put herself aside so that the partner can help the laboring woman, but also know how to show the partner how to help so they feel included. She needs to give all of herself and not ask for anything in return.

In what ways does she assist a birthing woman and her family?

By giving of herself and her talents, she brings a calm to the birth that helps labor progress and helps take the fear and uncertainty out of the room. She is there to hold the bucket for puke, she is there with extra blankets for when the mother gets cold, she is there to steady her when the partner needs a break, she is there to relieve pressure on a back for hours so the mother is able to relax, even if only for a moment. A doula brings information so if there is a any issue, she can talk about the options with the couple. Her main goal is to preserve the atmosphere the laboring woman and her family wish to have during the labor and delivery and after the baby is born.

What did you need when you became a mother or went through a major life change? What helped? What didn’t?

When I became a mother, the one thing I craved, even if I didn’t know it, was support. I needed someone there to talk to about what happened, to tell me I was doing okay, and to understand what I needed. I didn’t like feeling as if being a new mom was supposed to be easy and I was supposed to have it down pat by the time we came home from the hospital. It seemed as if I was doing something wrong because I didn’t feel the intense emotions that everyone says they have after birth. The one thing that helped was talking to other moms about how hard it was to transition from pregnant to mother. It was wonderful to know I wasn’t alone.

In light of the questions above, assess yourself. What do you already have? What do you need to work on? What do you need to think more about?

The one thing I know I have is the love for other women. My favorite part of this work is that I am able to work with pregnant women and new mothers and give them part of myself for their birth. I truly love helping them preserve the love they have for each other and give it to their child on the day of their birth. My endurance level is very high since I have been helping with homebirths the last while, so I can stay awake for births no matter how long I am needed. However, we are very hands off, so the physical part of being a doula I am going to need to work on. I do need to think more about how I will help the people that have the same complications I did with my birth, or have complications that you could never prepare for. I need to know how I can help these families still believe they had a great birth, even in the shadow of a complicated or intervention filled experience.

Do you have personal issues that may interfere with your practice as a doula?

I have a hard time with women planning inductions and cesareans without medical need. I know that for some these things truly are medically necessary and that isn’t a problem, but the women planning for convenience just really make me angry. I don’t understand how someone can sign up for procedures that have the side effects that those procedures have without batting an eye. I truly think there is an underlying issue if they sign up for these procedures, but the women that don’t admit it or don’t listen to advice or reason from anyone really bug me. I know I need to work on it, and I am slowly getting better, but it is mainly the scheduling of a procedure without medical need that bugs me so much.

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What do you guys think? What do you want out of a doula, or why do you want to be one?

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One Response

  1. Whew, I am going to have to start thinking hard about these topics for my own certification essays soon! So I may as well do some brainstorming here in your comments section 🙂

    I came to the birth world from a slightly different direction… I’ve never been a mom and hadn’t been around many birthing women. My eyes were opened in college from reading Brigitte Jordan’s Birth in Four Cultures. I learned about how birth could be different from the Western Medical version (the only way I knew), how doctors treated birthing women different from midwives, how treatment varied by country and culture. I became fascinated by all the things that young women in America are rarely taught, and determined to share knowledge, options, the reality of birth. And one of the best ways to both learn more and help women is to be a doula! 🙂

    It ALSO drives me a little nuts to hear about women scheduling inductions and cesareans for no medical reason.

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