Doulaing through a Pandemic
Left - Happiness and power! My beautiful client who achieved her dream - a home water birth - during lockdown
There are so many aspects to the Coronavirus story - things to be joyful about and some things that make us sad. There are also things that it appears take people by surprise, but to quote a few I have come across recently:
* Giving birth is not just a physical event in a persons' life, it is also a psychological, social and spiritual pilgrimage.
* Childbirth should be a natural event that occasionally needs medical help instead of being a medical event that occasionally happens naturally - Kemi Johnson
We used to know these things, from my Grandmother's time and beyond, women instinctively knew to trust their bodies and its' ability to give their child birth. Yes medical advances have ensured that there are more safe arrivals and we celebrate those, but, medicine does not 'own' birth. Birthing is not about medicine/treatments/procedures it just may need them occasionally.
It is about warmth, and safety, and instinct, and trust. Its about the body's own progressing and pain relief hormones and how to maximise their production. Its about the environment for birth, its about the movement for labour, its about the energy refuel, its about the love, support and care provided. Medicine has its place, in the corner, for use when needed, but not front stage and not 'in your face'.
Hospital trusts across the country have decided that it is the medicine that is needed, and while midwives have provided care and support to birthing people through lockdown this is not their only job. But it is a Doulas.
I have provided virtual support to my clients when they have been left alone to let the induction start to work, or when they've been examined and its been decided that they are not in active labour and therefore can't have their partner with them.
It makes me so sad to hear the distress, it makes no sense to me that during labour someone is left in a situation that makes her so sad and feel so alone when that same woman could have had dinner in a restaurant the night before, may have shopped for the last minute pyjamas during that day, or even had her nails done the day before, at the point of her entry into the maternity unit she has to go alone. And the craziest thing to me is that she was with her partner up until the moment she entered the maternity unit, she saw me, her Doula, throughout her labouring at home and all of us have made sure that our own exposure to the virus has been minimised for at least 2 weeks before she went to the hospital,
However, for my clients, they had me via the phone/video/text whatever means she wanted, and they all said it made a difference. It helped them cope with the waiting, or with the surges that weren't quite established labour but certainly felt like it to her. And they all said it made the difference. If we have to be in this situation - they've said that having a Doula made the whole thing a POSITIVE BIRTHING EXPERIENCE and that's good enough for me!