Confession: I’m a Birth Doula and I Had an Elective Cesarean

I have to start this blog post with a heartfelt apology for the doula I used to be. When I started out as a brand-new doula in my senior year of college, I had a whole lot of passion and a whole lot of bias. I was immersed in the natural birth community and I was an activist for everything “natural” birth and breastfeeding. I understood that those things weren’t options for everyone, but in an effort to raise awareness for them and support those who were choosing them, I alienated and likely hurt other parents and for that, I’m so sorry.

There was a time when I thought the perfect birth looked a certain way and I didn’t understand why people would willingly choose anything else. Then, I found a doula training organization that challenged me, made me acknowledge my bias and made me a better doula. It might not be a popular opinion, but I no longer believe I can be an activist and a truly nonjudgmental doula. I had to unlearn a lot of things and really change my perspective. I can genuinely say that the perfect birth to me is perfect because the parents think it is. I feel like the best doula when my clients feel heard, supported and encouraged through their birth experience, no matter how their baby comes into the world. I leave every birth knowing that my clients only got nonjudgmental support for all of their choices from me and I truly believe they made the best decisions for their family.

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The Effects of Fear on Labor

There is a strong relationship between fear and birth. Fear is normal, but can very easily become consuming and interfere with the body’s labor process. With any unknown, and each birth is, no matter how many times you have done it, there comes some degree of fear or anxiety. It’s hard to relinquish control and to go into something so huge with so much at stake. Common fears for birth range anywhere from perineal tearing, interventions like inductions or episiotomy, or sometimes surgery or a c-section. Every fear, no matter how small or how big is valid and deserves to be processed. We all bring baggage with us to our birth in the form of emotions, fears and experiences. We need to condense that baggage down into a nice, small carry-on size before the big day so it fits nicely into the process and doesn’t interfere with the “trip”.

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