The first birth I was a part of was on August 28, 1997 when my sweet nephew Isaiah was born. My sister didn't care who was in the room and all I had to prepare me was what I'd seen on t.v. and some old pictures of my new self. I remember getting to the hospital and wondering where the doctor was. Napping. Oh, yes, of course. That makes perfect sense, right? Then, when it came to pushing, I found myself holding a leg. What?! I was wondering where the sheet was separating her upper body from her lower body so we could stay on the upper body side. Apparently, no such thing. When Isaiah came out I was flooded and overwhelmed. I had just witnessed the most incredible thing ever. Almost 3 months later I got to do it again when my best friend, Chaille, gave birth to her first son, Jackson. I was changed by these 2 births.
It wouldn't be for many years that I'd learn what a Doula is. In short, it's a "non-medical birth assistant." For hundreds and hundreds of years women have given birth surrounded by women. Doulas are an advocate, a resource, and above all a support for a mom and dad. I started looking into becoming a Doula and got quickly overwhelmed. Which organization should I train under? Should I get certified? How will I market myself? How will I get clients? and so on. I decided to check it out in early 2009. Then I got pregnant myself. I knew I wanted a Doula. Most Doulas help women who want to birth naturally, but I think Doulas are useful no matter how you birth. Anyway, I finally settled on an organization and went to my first Doula training workshop this past weekend at a place called The Farm. Whoa does this place have history! They've been birthing babies at the farm for many many years under the care of midwives. Secretly, I wanted to do my training here b/c I wanted to visit The Farm. (one thing we loved about this place is they call it "intentional community.")
the Chia Hut
It's called this b/c it's made from all natural materials including wheat. before they could apply the plaster the wheat sprouted and it looked like a Chia pet. it was like indoor camping. loved it. and Charis slept beautifully.
My training is through Birthing From Within. I settled here b/c I like a few things about them: 1. they seek to collaborate with the medical field, not against it. (oftentimes the natural birth movement and medical field are like oil & water)
2. they provide childbirth classes that are creative, interactive, and very educational
3. they are solution-focused, not problem-focused
For the 3 days of training it felt a little like when my church did Barnabas Training (Counseling). It's about getting to the reason behind things to help find a solution. There are "roles" people fall into that cause them to react or respond a certain way. I mean- that's the simplest way I can put it. It was very informative and counseling-esq.
I loved the women I met on this weekend. Some were practicing Doulas, a few were midwives, many were nurses, and some were like me. What motivated most of us, was our own births. The birth stories varied: traumatic cesareans then a VBAC, completely medical, or at home. I loved the common interest of the group. We would sit around the table for hours sharing stories and learning from each other. It was really great. I was encouraged and affirmed by my new friends. This community is way different than my community here at home.
a few of the women i got to hang out with
My hope is to keep praying about this and see what God wants to do with it in my life. I will also begin networking with folks in my community, it will be important for me to find a community. I hope to help educate and support women. All we have to go on about birth is what we've seen in our culture (mostly t.v.). It's really a jacked up view of birth. Yes, it's hard. Yes, it's painful. Yes, it is unpredictable. It's also beautiful and unique. (if you're looking for a Doula, or know someone who is, call me! serious.)
us at the farm Ecovillage