Merrill Durham, a certified doula, recently gave a presentation outlining her line of work and why she chose her occupation. I found the information she presented to be fascinating; it provided another perspective to childbirth and women’s bodies in general. Being a doula is closely tied to sex because conception and childbirth are the simplest and most essential aspects of human sexuality.
A doula, as Durham explained, “provides physical and emotional support during childbirth,” sans any medical exams or treatment. She emphasized that her focus is on the “empowerment” of women, meaning she wants women to be informed of their options throughout the childbearing process. By helping relieve women of any stress and fear related to childbirth that they might have, Durham helps women feel more comfortable with their pregnancies.
What I found to be interesting was how Durham explained how the perspective on childbirth has so radically changed over the years. Home births used to be much more common, but childbirth has been “medicalized,” to the point where it’s almost paralleled to being ill. Women are taken to the hospital to deliver, there are many medications that may be administered, and there is even surgery involved. That’s not to say that modern technology should be ditched completely, but I think there is something to be said about conserving the true nature of childbirth because it is after all, natural.
The work of Merrill Durham and other doulas supports the emotional and physical health of pregnant women, helping them through one of the most special times in their lives. What I concluded is that they ultimately support female sexuality, or possibly just human sexuality in general. As a doula, Durham supports the couple and their relationship along with the personal support of the woman. I appreciated the passion with which Durham spoke of childbearing and her own personal experiences with it. She is a woman empowering women with enthusiasm and strength.