You will not see us involved in Improving Birth rallies and other events people associate with trying to improve birth for women, but why? Because, while we believe advocacy definitely has its place, we do not feel it is a doula's job to be an advocate.
If we are standing in the role of an advocate on Saturday morning and get a call to attend a client's birth Saturday night, how do we magically turn off our role as an advocate and become someone who can offer completely unbiased support? Can a woman truly feel she is not being judged for her decision to have a medicated birth if she sees us advocating for unmedicated births as what the research says is "best".
What if our client chooses an elective induction at 39 weeks? Can she truly feel she is receiving non-judgmental support when we advocate for only evidence based care for all women?
To be clear: each and every doula working with Baton Rouge Birth Services cares deeply for the safety of women. We would not have this job if we did not care. But we believe that improving birth goes far beyond rallies, group meetings, and hard drawn lines in the sand on what is best for women.
We believe it involves building bridges and relationships with providers. We believe in creating an environment where our doulas can work cohesively with ALL providers, no matter their cesarean rate. A birth room with no friction between the provider, their patient, and the doula is a peaceful birth room. And, it is one where all parties are more willing to communicate respectfully and openly.
We believe it also involves supporting women where they are. It has been my experience that many women do not want evidence based care, they want individualized care based off of their current and past experiences and preconceived notions about birth, and that is okay! My sole job as a doula is to answer their questions truthfully and without bias, and then to support them in whatever they choose.
No one needs someone else in their life telling them what to do or forcing research on them. We will always be the person who asks and cares about what our clients want, not our own personal agendas. We give our clients the tools they need to feel confident in communicating their needs and desires.
It has also been my experience that most providers are not out to harm women, but that their experiences throughout their time practicing medicine has often led them to the policies and standards they have in place. I am not a doctor. I have no place to say what is a necessary intervention and what is not. There is no MD behind my name.
While I have a great deal of understanding on what normal birth looks like and can navigate explaining complications to awestruck parents once informed of them by the provider, I am not trained in all of the signs and symptoms that signal the complication, nor am I trained in all of the protocols on how to treat them. However, we can help you go through the benefits, risks, and possible alternatives with your provider.
I repeat: I AM NOT A DOCTOR.
I can help open the lines of communication and comfort women physically and emotionally as they cope with any complications, but that is where my role stops. While your provider makes sure you and your baby are safe, our doulas will make sure you and your partner are well taken care of. That you are comfortable, happy, as informed as you want to be, respected, heard, and most of all that your memories of your birth are something you look back on with joy.
Doctors and nurses see a great deal of sadness and loss throughout their careers. I have chosen to acknowledge this and recognize that a majority are genuinely just trying to keep women safe. So, I will respect them. I will talk with them. I will work with them. And together, we will be able to bring you the most amazing birth team available.