You’re a midwife?? That’s cool, I wanted to do that when I was a kid. What do you make?” “WHAT DO I MAKE?” I make holding your hand seem like the most important thing in the world when you’re scared, i can make your baby breathe when they stop. I can help you to survive a postpartum haemorrhage, I make myself get out of bed at 5am, so I can care for you and your partner on one of the most important days of your life, and am privileged to do so. I make my family wait for dinner, until I know your family is taken care of. I make myself skip lunch so that I can ensure everything I did for you today is documented. I make myself work weekends, nights, and holidays, because people don’t just birth babies 9-5 Monday – Friday. Today, I might save you, or your baby. I make a difference, what do you make?” REPOST if you are a very proud midwife. I am!
‘If a Doula were a drug, it would be unethical not to use it’
Dr John Kennell 1998
DONA International Founder
I believe every mother should have a Doula.I believe that Doulas have the power to enable women to experience their birth in a way they thought was unimaginable.
Birth is, and should be an empowering, life changing event. Something that, no matter how many babies you have, will be magical and unique every time. Women remember their birth experiences for life. I believe it is our role and duty, as birth professionals, to make that memory as special as possible.
A good birth experience is not about how you do it, it’s how you feel about it.
The concept of a birth Doula isn’t something new, it’s just now it has a name. Women have always been surrounded by loving women in childbirth. As recent as a hundred years ago, 90% of births took place at home. Women were surrounded by a sisterhood of mothers, sisters, friends and neighbors. Women were supported emotionally, physically and spiritually. It used to be common for women to have witnessed many births before she was having her first baby. This gave her a greater degree of comfort, knowledge, perspective and experience that benefited her in her own birthing experience. But times have changed. As birth moved out of the home and in through the shiny doors of the hospital, birth has become a mysterious event. It has become something that takes place behind closed doors. Women are no longer participating in this lesson of life. Birth has become a sterile and separate environment for both mother and baby, and to a large extent, the partner. We have become shielded from this normal life event. Birth has become an event dramatized by technology and interventions, portrayed as a medical emergency waiting to happen on soaps and dramas, and reality tv series, with the true potential of birth being lost along the way.
Since 1970 in the US alone, the cesarean rate has increased from 5.5% to 30% and rising, with no decrease in maternal or infant mortality. This is true in most countries around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) states ‘there is no justification for cesarean rates to exceed 10-15% in any industrialized country’. Research shows us that continuous support from the Doula reduces the length of labor, reduces rates of intervention and the need for pain medications, therefore lowering the risk for both moms and babies. Research has also shown us the support from a Doula increases a mothers’ satisfaction with her birth. We know that post partum Doulas increase the bonding connection for moms and babies, and help reduce the risk of post partum depression by aiding the transition in to parenthood and providing support and education. It is important to recognize the long lasting powerful effects Doulas can have on women and their families.
‘Psychologically for many women, especially those who have had difficulties in their own childhood, there’s potential for internal re-organization…a feeling of higher self esteem and a greater sense of confidence, feeling good about themselves, and feeling good about the whole experience’.
Phyllis Klaus, DONA International Founder
‘I think Doulas have shown very, very clearly how essential they are for mothers…Doulas usually have a great drive to help other women, think of their needs and have the spirit to stick with the mother’
Dr John Kennell, DONA International Founder
Having a healthy and positive birth experience is far more than simply the method in which you give birth. A positive birth experience has physiological, emotional, behavioral and psychological benefits, not just for mothers, but to society as a whole.
This is an excellent informative video from DONA (Doulas of North America), explaining the wonderful impact Doulas can have on women, families and society, and the powerful results they can achieve.
‘Midwives may be rare in this country, but they hold the key to improving maternal health’
Ina May Gaskin
Be sure to check out Ina May Gaskin’s latest book, released this month, Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta
- Doctors Need Midwives: Ina May Gaskin on the U.S. Maternity-Care Crisis (thedailybeast.com)
- Speaking Out for Mothers and Children (wisdomfrommidwives.com)
- CDC: Women Are Increasingly Choosing Home Birth. Why? (crooksandliars.com)
- The state of maternal health. Can MDG5 be achieved by 2015? (guardian.co.uk)