Originally Posted by BethSLP
sorry to be the lone dissenter here. but here goes:
I am vehemently anti-circ myself. HOWEVER, I think you are being incredibly unprofessional agreeing to take on people who have not decided on circ with it in your mind that they will "come around."
Like it or not, circ does happen in this country and the parents have a right to choose it within our current laws. I absolutely applaud those of you out there that refuse to work with people who are going to circ. but i think its just plain wrong to ditch a pregnant woman and get her a replacement after you've been working with them all this time.
and for those of you who are wishing someone to have a deep episiotomy or a tear "because they deserve it." I think you need some professional help. That is such a horrible thing to wish on someone.
I understand your horror at how someone could make the circ decision, but there are a lot of people out there who (even with all the literature you give them) are going to do what they know. its what they've seen their whole life. Esp. if the father is circ'ed and he feels fine about it, he just may be incapable of seeing the truth on the issue.
Again, I know I'm gonna get flamed like mad (I'm ready for it) but I HAD to say something. I am against circ and would not work with someone who circed if I was a doula. But in the future, you need to MAKE THIS CLEAR. Otherwise you are no better than OBs who throw the gauntlet about inductions at the last second, etc. etc. Every professional person needs to be open and honest with who they are working with. Choosing you as their birth assistant was extremely personal for them and they are entering in a trust relationship with you. The fact that you were not honest about your feelings on circ early on and had the idea you would change them is absolutely not acceptable to me.
In the future, please tell couples BEFORE they hire you that you do not work with circ'ing couples.
I have not worked as a 'doula' per se, but I have had doula training and as a birth assistant working with midwives in birth center and homebirths much of my role at births is supporting women in a doula-like way throughout labor, so I'll share my thoughts.
You know, I do really understand where you're coming from, and when it comes to wishing birth trauma on a woman as a price for what she's planning on subjecting her child to, I agree. We shouldn't wish pain, trauma, damage on anyone to 'teach them a lesson'.
I also can empathize with your feelings about accepting a pregnant woman as a doula client, hoping she'll come around on the circumcision issue. I don't think it's acceptable to be dishonest, while at the same time I think taking on such a client provides a doula with an incredible amount of opportunity to gently share the truth about circumcision; most loving, naturally-oriented mommas will 'get it'. If the doula had never worked with them to begin with, because they initially were considering circumcising...they may not have received the information and guidence necessary to make an ethical, respectful, informed choice.
If I were working as a doula right now, I think I'd make sure I discussed circumcision in the initial intervew. Honestly, I'm not even sure I'd want to doula a woman who wasn't committed to at least attempting breastfeeding (unless there was a medical reason for not doing so). It's not that I think all women don't deserve an empowering birth experience, it's that I don't think I have it in myself to not contribute negative or resentful energy at a birth where I know the woman is planning to make obvious/significant poor or harmful choices with her child. This is especially true if she or a partner who's opinion she respects/falls in line with was not open to learning more about relevent childbirth newborn care issues. I can't help someone who doesn't help themself.
Also, is it possible that being completely up front about not working with couples who circumcise may make a moderately crunchy parent who's not circing but isn't exactly an intactivist view a doula as judgemental or pushy? And if they otherwise like the doula, or she is the most affordable/available/whatever...might they LIE to her if they were planning on circing?
Maybe we should start a thread to discuss ways of talking about circumcision during the initial intervew, how to probe women/couples for their feelings on the topic, how to test the waters to determine whether or not they're open to learning more...and how to broach leaving their son's penis whole as a condition for our employment?
Originally Posted by mamabadger
I think my anti-circ credentials are as good as anyone's, and I live in a place where few new babies are circumcised and it's not generally accepted. However, I think a professional caregiver, whether OB, midwife, or doula, has no business telling clients how to live their lives. Providing information is one thing, but choosing only clients who agree with you seems a little presumptuous to me...A doula is hired to help a woman with her birth, not as the overseer and judge of all her moral and ethical decisions thereafter.
Doula's are not obligated to work with women they aren't comfortable with or don't 'click' with. I could not work with a woman who planned on having her daughter or son's genitals mutilated; sorry, but I don't see that on the same level as many other parenting decisions, like spanking or even breastfeeding. Circumcision guarentees damage; it permanently removes healthy tissue from the genitals of a non-consenting minor. It normally occurs soon after birth, while the newborn is adjusting to life outside the womb and is (usually/hopefully) trying to get the hang of breastfeeding.
Originally Posted by dnr3301
And you know what? I don't feel as strongly about bf-ing as I do about circumcision, which is a big shock to me actually. I am definitely biased towards bf-ing, but I have seen people lovingly bottlefeed babies. You can't lovingly cut off part of a baby's penis. And I talk a big talk about gentle parenting....What about you? would you work with someone who was going to toss the baby in the trash as soon as it was born, just so she got a good birth? I get to make moral decisions about who I surround myself with. So do you. I have to live with MY choices, not you.