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UCer's becoming doulas/midwifes - Page 3

post #41 of 95
I am disillusioned with working as a doula. You shouldn't go into doula-ing if you want to improve women's birth experiences. All you'll end up with is a lot of frustration as you watch things being done to women, and women accepting them, and you can't do anything to change the situation.

I also feel that doulas are in this very awkward spot: they aren't supposed to advocate or tell a woman what to do or contradict a care provider. So they end up watching silently as the woman's doctor or nurse or midwife lies, coerces, bullies (however nicely, it's still manipulation). If the doula speaks up, she can be thrown out of the birth room. If she remains silent, then she's enabling the lies and the manipulation. Then she's supposed to make the woman feel how "powerful" she was and tell her how "well" she handled the birth--even the mother ends up shell-shocked from a c-section, or feeling guilt-ridden about accepting an epidural, or whatever.

That's one reason why I'm not doing doula work right now.
post #42 of 95
I've definitely had those births Rixafreeze. But I've also had the ones where I walk away and I'm just blown away by how strong the mama was and how awesome the birth team. And my best friend, who is also a doula, just attended an incredible birth where the mama would NOT have had the experience she had if it wasn't for my friend. She was in there, working hard, supporting her emotionally and physically, suggesting positional changes when she got stuck, etc. Mama had a HARD birth, with hours and hours of pushing, and a very large baby for her frame. But she did it, and she told my friend that it was an amazing experience and very empowering. THAT is why doulas dig out of those horrible births and continue. I hope that you are able to heal and continue working.
post #43 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by rixafreeze View Post
I am disillusioned with working as a doula. You shouldn't go into doula-ing if you want to improve women's birth experiences. All you'll end up with is a lot of frustration as you watch things being done to women, and women accepting them, and you can't do anything to change the situation.

I also feel that doulas are in this very awkward spot: they aren't supposed to advocate or tell a woman what to do or contradict a care provider. So they end up watching silently as the woman's doctor or nurse or midwife lies, coerces, bullies (however nicely, it's still manipulation). If the doula speaks up, she can be thrown out of the birth room. If she remains silent, then she's enabling the lies and the manipulation. Then she's supposed to make the woman feel how "powerful" she was and tell her how "well" she handled the birth--even the mother ends up shell-shocked from a c-section, or feeling guilt-ridden about accepting an epidural, or whatever.

That's one reason why I'm not doing doula work right now.
What about becoming a childbirth educator? That's why I'm personally going to stick to becoming a postpartum doula, then a CBE.
post #44 of 95
My midwife didn't have a UC herself, but she is very supportive of it. Which is why I chose her. My first three births (2 hospital, 1 home) were all SO interfered with, my home birth the least of all, but there were still too many interferences that really bothered me. My 4th birth was exactly what I needed. Women NEED choices for their births, and I think a midwife who supports the choice of a UC, or midwife-attended UC, is a VERY good thing.
post #45 of 95
Interesting question. I guess it all depends on your perspective. For example, I'm a teacher by profession but the more I look at schools, in particular public schools, the more I realize that I have a fundamental problem with how children are educated in this country and my ideal is homeschooling. Thusly, I don't think it would be wise for me to go teach in a public school in hopes of changing the system or reaching a few kids. Granted, not everyone can or wants to homeschool. That's fine. But I'm very passionate about homeschooling and that's what I have come to hold as the gold standard for my children, i.e. the best way they could be educated. I don't know if it's right, then, to go to teach other people's kids when I wouldn't let mine go to school--especially since I'd be doing things that I feel in my heart are detrimental to kids (and their ability to learn). If you as a UC'er believe that fundamentally the only ones who should be involved in the birth are the birthing mother and perhaps her partner and you hold this as the gold standard, then I don't think becoming a midwife or a doula would be appropriate. You would, IMO, think less of the birthing mother you are attending because for you, the *ideal* is UC. I don't think you'd treat her fairly because she doesn't have "what it takes" to UC or "isn't empowered enough" to UC. What are you really doing there? If UC is your ideal and you are passionate about and believe that is *the* way to birth, then, I suppose, you should spend your energy advocating UC. If you feel women should not *need* a birth attendant, why become one? If, however, all you are advocating is for women to have the *choice* to birth however they want and really really fundamentally believe that . . . well, then, by all means, midwifery/doula is for you.
post #46 of 95
You make some good points, but at the same time I think I can do both (or at least, I hope I can). I do believe that the majority of women can birth just fine on their own. I do hold that as the gold standard. However, I don't think the majority of women are in a place where they *know* that. I know for me, my births have been a personal journey. I know for sure that I don't look down on women who birth differently. I am sad for them sometimes, yes, those who don't even know what they are missing the most. But I don't think I would treat them poorly or unfairly. I would hope that I could help them along their journey to empowerment.
post #47 of 95
This is a big topic for my mind as well. After years of midwifery apprenticeships, classes, studying, and four homebirths, I know I have a body of knowledge to offer women as well as a real trust in birth and an ability to be supportive. But I agree that the way other midwives practice here is just not my style. I want to offer support to women in whatever way they need it, not how I need it to be. So if a woman wants an unattended birth but wants some prenatal care, and wants to call me for advice and assistance if she changes her mind, GREAT. If a woman wants me there to talk her through every contraction, GREAT. I don't want to fear liability. I too, feel (sorry, I know it's so unhumble of me) that it would be great to just offer myself up to women, but I too fear that there would be a small client base, misunderstandings amongst the midwifery community and LOTS of judgement. I'm the only person who has UC'd here that I know of, and there was a lot of talk about it (like "I don't know why she'd want to do that with all these great midwives around."). This is a good conversation...thanks.

Has anyone ever read/written a book about BASIC pregnancy/childbirth/pp information that wasn't written in the "ask your doctor..." or "your midwife or doctor will..." but not for uc specifically?? Just INFORMATION. ????
post #48 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by mataji4 View Post
Has anyone ever read/written a book about BASIC pregnancy/childbirth/pp information that wasn't written in the "ask your doctor..." or "your midwife or doctor will..." but not for uc specifically?? Just INFORMATION. ????
If it exists, I haven't seen it.
post #49 of 95
I am a UCer who plans to become a homebirth midwife in the future. It's more than possible. I think I will be pretty laid back in my midwifing style, but we'll see what happens.
post #50 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rockies5 View Post

In some respects I put the UC part of myself and how *I* think birth is meant to be on a shelf while Im attending births, it's all about them at that point. I think a doulas presence is a disturbance and I'd never have wanted one at my own births. But I know I protect birth and what parent's want at the births I have attended.

make sense? I'll be happy to discuss more...
:

I'm not a UC'er but would love to be. I AM a doual though and my views don't always coincide with my clients, but I put my views on the shelf as well for births, and do my best to support my client to have the type of birth SHE desires. It is HER birth, not MINE and I fully respect that.
post #51 of 95
I'm a UC-er and have wanted to be a midwife since my first pregnancy, 5 years ago (I had a CNM attended hospital birth with #1). I lived in a place where I just didn't have any options for becoming a midwife, and I focused on taking care of my babies for the time while studying birth on my own at every chance and getting a BA in women's studies. I UP/UC'd my littlest, who will be 2 in December. I moved to Ann Arbor a couple of months ago and now I feel like my babes are big enough and I'm in a place where I really work towards becoming a midwife every day. I hope to find an apprenticeship here, but if I don't, I'll go to midwifery school when my partner finishes his PhD coursework. Either way, there is little doubt in my mind that 5 years from now, I will be a homebirth midwife, unless something goes extremely wrong either in my personal life or in national or world politics.

I did train as a DONA doula and I hated the training and found that I couldn't stomach seeing normal birth stolen from women with scare tactics and hospital protocols. I get crippling migraines just from seeing terrified, shell-shocked newborns in the plastic "bassinets" they use in hospital nurseries.

I have considered med school to become a family physician who attends homebirths and works with children as a NFL/AP-friendly doctor. But while that sounds wonderful, what I really, really want to do when I grow up is to be a hands-off homebirth midwife. I consider a 30%+ c-section rate a human rights issue and a top priority as a feminist and I will do everything I can to change that. Midwives make a difference.
post #52 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by rixafreeze View Post

I also feel that doulas are in this very awkward spot: they aren't supposed to advocate or tell a woman what to do or contradict a care provider. So they end up watching silently as the woman's doctor or nurse or midwife lies, coerces, bullies (however nicely, it's still manipulation). If the doula speaks up, she can be thrown out of the birth room. If she remains silent, then she's enabling the lies and the manipulation. Then she's supposed to make the woman feel how "powerful" she was and tell her how "well" she handled the birth--even the mother ends up shell-shocked from a c-section, or feeling guilt-ridden about accepting an epidural, or whatever.

That's one reason why I'm not doing doula work right now.
Another disillusioned doula here. There's more to it, but Rixa pretty much summed up my thoughts on doula work.

As a UCer, I chose to eliminate the entire power dynamic while giving birth.

I hired a midwife who agreed to be on call for me if I changed my mind, and to give me postpartum support. She cleaned up, involved my older children in brewing a bath for me and the babe, and shared information when I was concerned about my baby's bubbly breathing. She didn't do anything (not even enter the room) until I asked her to. She had a rare awareness of her role as a person who is (by general consensus if not by definition) a figure of authority.

It takes a whole lot of trust to practice like that. I don't know if I could do it--and I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it any other way.
post #53 of 95
i don't feel it's a contradiction at all to be a uc'er and a mw or doula.

i've wanted to be a hb mw since i was 9 and just enrolled in school, although i have been studying on my own for 16 years. dd was a mw attended hb. i loved my mw, but her assistant was horrible. actually, her assistant was out of town and another hb cnm agreed to fill in. she was very agressive and *everything* she said and/or did was negative and impacted my dd's birth negatively.

i started looking into uc'ing when dd was a few months old. it's something i always "fantasized" about, even as a young child. giving birth quietly and alone. i decided that all our future children would be up/uc.

i am 24 wks pg and have been up'ing and plan to uc.

my main goal when i become a cpm, is to provide extremely low-cost and free care to women. whether that be a uc mama who needs pp care or a young mama with no money.

i feel that i have a unique perspective because of my support of up/uc that would enable me to be the kind of mw i dream of being for others.
post #54 of 95
"If you as a UC'er believe that fundamentally the only ones who should be involved in the birth are the birthing mother and perhaps her partner and you hold this as the gold standard, then I don't think becoming a midwife or a doula would be appropriate. You would, IMO, think less of the birthing mother you are attending because for you, the *ideal* is UC. I don't think you'd treat her fairly because she doesn't have "what it takes" to UC or "isn't empowered enough" to UC. What are you really doing there? If UC is your ideal and you are passionate about and believe that is *the* way to birth, then, I suppose, you should spend your energy advocating UC. If you feel women should not *need* a birth attendant, why become one?"

Ouch. I like to think I'm not that judgemental. I don't really have an all or nothing attitude with regards to birth. I don't personally think it's healthy, really, nor accurate to see UC as the "ideal". It's just an option. It's an option that "I" prefer, and it saddens me that more people don't consider it a valid option. But I certainly don't think myself more enlightened than those who choose to birth with attendents. And I definitely don't look down on mothers who want an attendant as not "having what it takes" to UC. It just seems such a negative place to be coming from......

What would I be doing there? Well, I guess I feel that there is still a lot of fear being taught to women in the midwifery community. Midwives claim to have a lot of faith in birth, and spout off about how safe homebirth is, but they really only mean safe "if" they are there to protect the mother from all that can go wrong, and "if" they are there to monitor her pregnancy, and provide all the procedures (many unneccessary) that she learned about in midwifery school. I feel like there is a true disconnect. It seems to me that UCers would make a heck of an improvement if more of them became midwives, because they are coming from a truely unique place and philosophy. Not one that was taught to them by someone else, but one born of personal experience. And not in the same way that it was in the 70's when women reintroduced midwifery by becoming self-taught midwives by attending each other's births. Instead, they would be coming from a place of pure belief that birthing alone IS safe, that it is a valid choice, and that much of what is forced upon or offered to women in the name of care is USELESS if not detrimental, and that the birthing woman herself is more than capable of choosing for herself the scope of care she receives. Just imagine if when the majority of women hired midwives they were given the option of calling in labor if and when they felt like they wanted additional support. But that if all was progressing in the way the mother was comfortable with, and she didn't want to call that was FINE and NORMAL? Yes, it might be a small change in our birthing culture, but in my opinion it's a good change, and it's a change I feel I can be apart of. And to me, it would be a step in the right direction toward the "ideal" of women having the faith and knowledge and courage to make more decisions for themselves.

I'm sure I have more to say, but it's late and the husband beckons.

Kat
post #55 of 95
I've thought about this too -- given that I have no desire to hire a doula for myself, given that I want my midwife to stay out of the room and leave me alone unless I'm bleeding to death, given that I've seriously thought about going UC and just eliminating the midwife entirely (my midwife has 4 clients due near the same time and only enough staff to cover 2 births, so I guess I might end up a UCer by default!) -- would it make sense that I work as a doula or midwife? I do feel the contradiction and the tension, like I'd be promoting something I don't really support, like I wouldn't be living what I believe.

But some women (most women for now, I guess) are going to choose hospital birth, and maybe they'd like a helping hand. The stats on doula-assisted hospital births are encouraging, so being a doula is a worthwhile pursuit. Likewise with homebirth midwifery -- lots of women don't want to UC, and it's good for them to have access to hands-off practitioners who recognize a woman's ability to give birth independently. So I think these really would be okay choices for me.

Ultimately, I've decided that being a childbirth educator is the best role I can take. Not a methodical kind of childbirth educator who gives out instructions and "teaches" you how to birth your baby "perfectly and painlessly," but a thought-provoking kind of childbirth educator who gets prospective parents to consider what they believe about birth and what they want from birth, and gives them information to help them make decisions and to prepare them for dealing with obstacles they may encounter. I think a childbirth educator has the power to help people choose a better birth and I think that's something valuable that I can contribute without being conflicted.
post #56 of 95
what is UC?
post #57 of 95
Unassisted Childbirth
post #58 of 95
thanks.
post #59 of 95
post #60 of 95
I've read this whole thread a couple times and still can't feel like I can put into words how UC and me wanting to be a midwife are tied in.

All women should be able to birth however they want with as little or much assistance as they want. I'm willing to help a UCer with prenatal care or whatever. I'm willing to midwife a mom through the whole thing. I'd prefer to sit on my hands. I'm also a doula but am finding I don't like it as much. The women I've doulaed for want the doula to DO something rather than just BE. I continue to doula though, because I know that some moms really need that other woman there. I love CBE because I can teach skills and share knowledge.
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