Birth is one of the most amazing miracles of this world. It breathes air into life. Birth not only brings your baby into this world, it sets the tone for how you look at yourself as a person and a mother. It greatly affects your life in ways you never imagined it would. It can set you up for memories filled with love, hope, joy and empowerment or it can break you into pieces. Birth Matters, you matter.
I began my journey of becoming a doula, a woman who serves, after a less than lovely birth experience with my second child. I was uneducated, unmotivated to learn and completely trusting of the hospital, my doctor and the nurses I have never met. I set out to have a baby with complete strangers and was treated as such. It shook me to my core. I birthed a beautiful baby boy vaginally after 10.5 hours of labor where threats and scare tactics were used on top of medical interventions that went terribly wrong. I felt alone, unloved and just a statistic. I didn’t feel like I mattered and my postpartum experience confirmed how I felt about myself, and my ability as a mother.
Experiencing a labor and birth that caused myself to doubt my abilities, lowered my self-esteem and caused unwanted postpartum depression, motivated me to change the way my clients would experience birth. “Women’s perceptions about their bodies and their babies’ capabilities will be deeply influenced by the care they receive around the time of birth.” Ina May Gaskin, Birth Matters. I set out to love on women and their partners, educate them on the labor and birth experience, challenge them to dig deeper and counsel them on their fears. I want my clients to know they matter and to know that I care about them and their hearts. I didn’t want them to hear “the baby is here and healthy and that is all that matters”. It’s not all that matters, it’s a huge part, but that is not all that matters.
Why does birth matter? Ask your mom about her birth experiences, better yet, ask your grandmother. Do not be surprised if their birth stories are as detailed as a woman that just had her baby yesterday. Birth leaves and imprint on your mind and soul. For every mother, birth is an event that shakes and shapes her in one way or another. Birth leaves lasting effects such as empowerment, euphoria, depression and disempowerment. These effects all differ depending on how the women is treated and supported around the time she gives birth regardless of whether the birth is vaginal or a cesarean.
Birth matters because you matter. Do not for a moment leave your birth in the hands of a stranger. Take my word for it. Build a birth team that will support you, your desires, educate you and empower you to want better for your birth and yourself. Choose wisely and seek out a practitioner whom you feel comfortable. You wan them to be encouraging, understanding and will freely educate you on the questions you ask. Interview with doulas and choose the best fit for your family; one that you feel will serve, love and support you and your partner the best. It is very important that you are comfortable with your birth team. Love, support and service are a powerful thing. It can take even the less than ideal circumstances and turn them into more joy than your heart can contain. Take control of your birth and let someone love on you and treat you the way you deserve, because YOU MATTER!
Source: “Birth Matters” by Ina May Gaskin
Kara Figueroa is wife, momma of 4 and a doula. She has been trained by DONA and BAI and is seeking her certification through BAI. Her passion is to serve, love and support. She has been a practicing doula since 2008. http://smiledoula.com