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The “What Ifs” of birth work

person holding clear crystal ball

As a Doula, my list of “What ifs” is often based in reflection upon each individual birth experience. This list is the driving force behind my continued dedication to improving maternal, newborn and lifelong family outcomes for those I support through Childbirth Education and Doula care at Northern Sun Birth Services – Oscoda, MI.

I ask myself:

“What if care providers were taught to trust the mechanisms of birth more so than wildly inaccurate machines…instead of using fear surrounding a baby’s ESTIMATED size (+/-2.2lbs) to undermine a woman’s confidence to birth her baby?”

“What if she had been encouraged into an upright pushing position instead of quickly coerced onto her back conveniently after a vaginal exam when she was already feeling the urge to push? Would she have to heal from that tear?”

“What if everyone knew that protecting the emotional well being of the Mother automatically makes labor and birth safer and more efficient?”

“What if the pause between the birth of a baby’s head and the rest of the body (often as long as her contractions were already spaced apart) was honored and trusted to allow both of them to recoup and prepare for the final push…instead of baby being forcefully turned and pulled from her body – and thus making her feel as if her body was dysfunctional?”

These are many of the same ponderings of childbirth educators, doulas, and midwives long before myself. Birthing women and their babies are vulnerable and her instincts should be trusted and followed by everyone around them. Providing respectful and loving encouragement, no matter their individual choices or challenges, is a responsibility for society as a whole. This also means providing accurate, evidence based care. This means stacking your deck for a safe and heathy birth by learning about all of your options through unbiased sources (maybe not where policies or routine practices are factors) and creating a straight forward birth plan to include in your charts before you go into labor. Ask questions until you are satisfied with the answers. As your local Lamaze Childbirth Educator, I promise that if I don’t have immediate answers for you, I will seek them from my trusted resources.

Too many times as a Doula I have heard the words “I wish I had had a Doula for my birth…it could’ve changed so much.” My heart truly hurts for those that have suffered from traumatic birth experiences and I always try to offer space to process these things with those that trust me with their birth stories. I wish I could’ve been your Doula, too.

Sending love & light to each of you that also have a list of “What Ifs” surrounding your birth experience.

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