1. Birth is literally the most beautiful thing
In my eyes, there is nothing more beautiful than watching an individual find their inner strength in the midst of giving birth. Everything about it is beautiful. The oxytocin flowing throughout the room, the mixed looks of fear, anticipation, love, and determination in the birthing person’s eyes. Not to mention the smiles and laughter, mixed with sighs of relief as the long awaited baby comes earth side. All life starts here. It is something we all have in common. A universal truth we can all relate to. An unavoidable experience with the power to touch each and every one of us. Is there anything more beautiful and powerful than that?
2. The healthcare system is seriously [effed!]
Excuse my language here, but our healthcare system has leaps and bounds to go before it can be considered as serving women well in the childbearing year. The national cesarean birth rate is about 31.9% according to the CDC, and more than 1,200 women per year die from childbirth in the U.S. alone, according to the World Health Organization. More than 60,000 suffer complications that are near fatal. The number of deaths has doubled since 1990. Learn more about these statistics here: http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/93/3/14-148627/en/. This is a failed system. Women everywhere are shamed into interventions that they do not want and many times are not medically necessary. In addition to the dangers of childbirth in the healthcare system, postpartum depression is close to being completely off of healthcare providers’ radar during post-birth checkups. The long-term consequences of these issues are not being recognized. In my opinion we are in the midst of a maternal health crisis. I could go on and on about this, but I will save that for another blog post.
3. I needed a doula, and you do too
Unfortunately, during my pregnancies I was unaware of the multitude of choices I had in the course of my pregnancy, birth, and postpartum journey. I wish I had someone knowledgeable about childbirth to be on my side and guide me through the whole process. I may be biased since I am one, but I think a doula’s support is priceless. We provide informational, emotional, and physical support tailored to fit each family’s distinct needs. We will read through a pile of research on the vitamin K injection and give you the unbiased, evidence-based highlights so you can make the best choice for your baby. We will tell you how strong you are as you rock through the surges of labor. We will squeeze your hips until our arms go numb. I needed a doula, and you do too.
4. Heal birth, heal Earth
Everything on this earth began with birth. It is the first defining moment in each of our lives. We may not remember it, but I believe our births have a lasting impact on us. Not only us, but our mothers, fathers, siblings, and the rest of our family. When a mother feels supported through her childbearing journey she is set up for success. When families know that they are not alone, they feel empowered to raise their children in the best way possible. Healing the way we view and treat pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, and the postpartum period is a sure way to start healing Earth. It helps to heal the way we relate to others, our children, our families, and ourselves.
5. Postpartum support saves lives
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 15% of women experience postpartum depression in the weeks and months following birth. Often these women fall through the cracks and go untreated, thinking what they are feeling is normal or fearing that their children will be taken. Many women blame themselves. Healthcare providers are not properly trained to ask the necessary questions at post-birth checkups to determine if a woman is experiencing postpartum depression. Even when asked, women may not feel safe in confiding in their healthcare provider due to the numerous stories of women being confined to hospital beds when admitting to being depressed and having atypical thoughts. Doulas counteract this by providing a postpartum checkup in the week following birth and asking the necessary questions. Presumably, women tend to feel more comfortable confiding in a doula. If postpartum depression is suspected, the doula can refer the mother to several local resources. In addition, postpartum doulas stay with women throughout the postpartum period. Essentially they “mother the mother.” This type of unwavering support while parents are adjusting to have a newborn is essential and can help prevent against the helplessness and isolation which may evolve into postpartum depression.
(Bonus reason: I get to hold/smell newborn babies!)
Thanks for reading! If you are in search of doula support in the Portland area, get in touch with me at www.sagebirthdoulaservices.com