In class, one day in October, Merril Durham came to visit us and talk to us about her job which is a Certified Birthing Doula. A doula “provides continuous physical, emotional, and intellectual support for a mother before, during, and after childbirth” (http://www.merrillchildbirthservices.com”).
I learned a lot this class period about a doula because before that day I had never heard/known what it was and what they did. A doula is important because they make a childbirth more comfortable and not so stressful for the mothers. Clearly this is important because we are all born so they just make it an easier process for these pregnant women. What I thought was interesting was that Merril shared with us that pregnancy is nothing that it portrays in the media. Media portrays childbirth through elements of fear, pain, speed, danger, and graphic or gross. So many people especially women believe this due to the fact that media is consuming our lives so the Doula makes sure that these women know that none of those elements are completely true.
The Doula is greek for the “Keeper of the Safe”. Doulas have been around since 1970. Even though they are in the room through childbirth, it is not a medical profession meaning they can’t perform any procedures but they are just there for support before, during, and after childbirth.
The doulas main two jobs is to facilitate an empowered birth and to have an empowered birth. To facilitate the empowered birth they first like to bring knowledge to the pregnant wife and their partner through this experience if they have one. This knowledge involves “be intentional and proactive, know all the options, take a childbirth class, read empowering birth stories, and to write a birth plan to follow for when the day comes” (Class Notes). They also make sure to keep the pregnant woman healthy and active throughout the whole pregnancy and finally to facilitate the empowered birth they create a strong support team. To complete the empowered birth they are a few steps and processes the Doula makes sure to do. They first make sure the woman trusts in the body and the process. The doula makes sure this happens by different relaxations, water, and movements. They make sure that these women let go and have no fear because it will make the process easier. The doulas next step is to create a safe environment. They do this by creating privacy and trying to keep it peaceful with no interruptions and through lighting, aromatherapy, and possibly music. The last step the doulas take to make sure they have an empowered birth is to surround the woman by trusted people for example, their partner, the caregiver, the doula, and possibly other people they trust.
You could tell through her presentation that Merril is really passionate and enjoys what she does. For her first child and only child right now she had a home birth and tried to do a water birth. She brought in her closest family members and a photographer to capture the experience. She shared that after many hours of labor she had to kick people out and listen to her Doula instincts of relaxation and privacy with no interruptions.
Merril really brought to my attention what goes on in a hospital during childbirth. She shared with us that she picked home birth because its not just a business they truly care about the woman and makes sure she is comfortable and not trying to get you in and out. She shared that the atmosphere in the hospital is not the best for woman to feel comfortable because one you have doctors and nurses running in and out, the technology is always beeping and going, and the other is that the hospital has a time table. The time table is something I know personally would make me feel uncomfortable because after your water breaks and you are having contractions if you don’t stay ahead of time these doctors want to induce and other medical interventions to get the baby out to stay on the time table designed for the woman.
Another thing about home birth other than being comfortable in your home around people you trust is the fact that it is cheaper than having your baby at a hospital. Home birth midwives run at about $3,500 while the average vaginal delivery is $20,000 and the average c-section is $30,000. This could be the reason these doctors and nurses are trying to stay on a certain time table so they can turn more beds and make more money. Is that right? I think not your a doctor who should care for your patient instead of thinking about the money.
I think this is a very neat job and experience because these Doulas are empowering these mothers through labor and a truly there for them while these doctors are trying to get them in and out. I have decided I feel like in the future I would hire a Doula. What about you? Would you even considering being a Doula? What about having a home birth after learning about what the hospital does?
If you want to know more about Doula reach out to Merril Durham because she would love to answer questions. Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Class Notes from her powerpoint