Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What I don't know

It's been really hard for me to write because it's been a really hard time for me professionally. I used to think of myself as really impartial, a doula who could happily support any woman's birth choices regardless of whether that is what I would choose. I am finding that harder and harder to do. In my years of doing this work I have maintained an 85% hire rate; most of the families I met with hired me. Lately it's been more like 50%. I don't think it's because there are so many great doulas to choose from, though that is definitely true. I think I am having a harder and harder time presenting myself as neutral. I don't think it doesn't really matter what happens in your birth as long as everyone is healthy. I know that many other things matter. I know that an empowering birth is an opportunity of a lifetime, an experience that gives a woman confidence for all of her future undertakings. I don't think that when a woman in labor enters the hospital her chances of having a normal birth are good. I know that 35% of the time the baby will be surgically removed, and if that doesn't happen, she will likely have a host of plugs and cords and devices attached to her that even if she still manages to eke out a "natural" birth, she will never really know what a normal birth is.

More and more as I try to envision what my place is in this life, I think I have to be an advocate for normal birth. I am not sure where that starts. I used to think it started with my doula clients, but now I am not so sure.


lolo said...

I feel your pain Randie. I'm heavily contemplating the same things everyday. How do we make birth better, safer, saner? How do we follow our passion and still be able to support our own families?

randiedoula said...

Thanks for the support, L. It seems some of us are better at compartmentalizing than others, doesn't it? I have a hard time thinking of my work as a job sometimes, which means that I struggle taking on a situation which is so clearly misaligned with my "birth values." But if we don't support all women, who will?