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#1 of 27 Old 06-02-2010, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been interested into getting into birth work for a few years, and after my own home birth last year I'm getting more serious about it. I'm contemplating going forth with doula training/certification, and seeing where things take me from there.

My question, for those of you in the birth profession, is this: How do you (if you do) overcome your personal opinions on birth and childrearing issues?

I've been working on becoming a more accepting and tolerant person, in this area and others, but there are still some things that are such a no-go for me that I don't know how I'd ever work with someone who believed differently. For example, I'm very passionately anti-circumcision. I don't think I could look the other way on that one. I'm very pro-breastfeeding, and would have a hard time with someone who wouldn't at least give it a try (excluding someone with physical or emotional reasons - beyond "I think that's gross" - that they couldn't).

I know a large part of the work you do, and that I'd be doing, is education, and I'm all for that. But what do you do if they decide differently on something you believe very strongly in?

EDIT: To make my questions a little more specific and clear, I'm wondering if
(a) there are any absolute deal-breaker issues that would cause you to decline to work with someone (and how you handle that if it comes up), and
(b) what your best advice is on 'letting go' of everything else.
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#2 of 27 Old 06-02-2010, 05:26 PM
 
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I've been told that you just have to let it go because ultimately, it's their birth and their decision, and the outcomes that they'll live with- good or bad. I've gotten much better since I was told this. And it's true, as a doula you are there to provide information and support regardless of what ever the mother chooses.

Wife to Jesse, Mom to Ayden 12/01, Kailey 07/03, Ashlyn 6/05, Dylan 9/07, & Riley 12/09

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#3 of 27 Old 06-02-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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While it's true that as a doula, you're obligated to support your clients in THEIR choices even when they're different from yours, you ARE allowed to be choosy about who you take as clients in the first place. Nothing says you have to take clients who intend to circ or FF, just make sure you provide information and let them know your stipulations before they sign your contract. Personally, I work too hard at helping a mother achieve a peaceful birth to let her commit an act of violence against her child the very next day.

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#4 of 27 Old 06-02-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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LOL you think we overcome them...
no really I would suggest going to LLL meetings , that is where I started to learn and practice nonjudgmental counseling - they did offer some decent communication classes/workshops.
other than that experience ,including negative personal experiences where you have someone around you who always knows whats best for you and it is different than what you want, you learn some empathy fairly quickly-
so to give you one personal experience that kicked me in the bottom- a gal I met at park, who was in a church where the community of women all attended each other's births basically UC. This gal decided that she wanted a hospital birth and some assistance, and we had a pretty decent birth. Well in pregnancy I had given her the info available at the time anti-circ- and we discussed it and she decided to not circ that baby boy- this is maybe their 4th son.. anyhow I move away, and her near 2 yo toddler has what many toddlers get burnt foreskin from strong urine from not drinking enough fluids, well her doc doesn't know how to navigate this and everyone is criticizing her decision, doc, friends, family and church. So she caves to the pressure, and the circ gets done- on a Thursday, and the doc leaves her with a how to care for it sheet and leaves town for a long 4-5 days off- and the toddler ends up with bruising and pain- all over the region, she calls the doc's office gets referred to the hospital where everyone is now upset and criticizing mom's new decision to have gotten the circ on such a big kido-- she couldn't win no matter what choice she made- If I had not been so zealous or even if she had some knowledgeable support to hand it would have been different- stuff like this makes it way simpler to just inform and let families figure out what they want to live through..-
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#5 of 27 Old 06-02-2010, 06:35 PM
 
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My personal deal-breaker would be somebody who appears to be bat$#!t crazy and would end up not respecting boundaries or the limitations of my role in their birth. I am not a therapist. I can't talk to you on the phone at 2 a.m. about a problem with your mother. I am not here to solve your emotional problems. I am not going to get in an argument with your OB on your behalf because you are being irrational and refusing medical care when your condition really does warrant monitoring. The initial interview goes two ways, and if you sniff out trouble, you can always decline the client.

Remember, you don't HAVE to work with every pregnant woman who comes down the pike. If something is a non-starter for you, I would say so matter-of-factly, "I have given this a lot of thought, and I need you to know that if you are having a boy, I do not support families who plan to circumcise. If you are undecided or want to know more, I can give you information on this procedure, its cultural history, common reasons why people choose not to circumcise, and the fact that there is no medical necessity to perform this procedure." You can spin your lines in the sand in a positive way too, something like, "One of the things I am most excited to offer my clients is EXTRA lactation support, as I feel very strongly that all mothers and babies should get off to a good start with breastfeeding." One of the doulas where I live tells clients up front that if they get an epidural, she will go home while they rest (she has her own kids to tend to) and they can call her to return when it's time to push.

If a client wants to circ/formula feed/schedule their primary c-section, and you have strongly held beliefs about these issues that would impede your ability to be a supportive doula, you are not a good match for them. Save yourself the headache you will get from gritting your teeth and pass them up as clients. The universe will bring you clients who want the kind of support that you will be able to give them.

Letting go advice - give them information if they are willing to receive it, let them make up their own minds, and remember that while something might be the wrong decision for you and your family, this might be the thing that they need psychologically or emotionally. Often, you will see only in retrospect why decisions turned out to be the correct ones. I do believe that clients know what is best for them, even if it they sometimes make choices other than the ones I would have made.

Another option would be for you to become a childbirth educator instead of a doula.

Doula, WOHM, wife to a super-fun papa, mama to the Monkey ('07), and his little brother, the Sea Monkey ('09).
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#6 of 27 Old 06-02-2010, 10:44 PM
 
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I think you should be upfront about your beliefs and let them decide. If they don't mesh with you there is always someone you can refer to.
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#7 of 27 Old 06-02-2010, 11:37 PM
 
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More experience will help. The more people you work with, with an open heart, the more you'll see people who challenge your assumptions. You'll see wonderful parents who had planned c-sections, formula fed from birth, circ'd their boys, and returned to work at 2 weeks post partum. (Well, not all in the same person! At least I haven't met this person.) You'll see people who make the same exact decisions you would and suffer terribly or are not he parent they should be to their children. You'll see that genetics and personality affect what children need to get and what parents can give.
You'll also pick up new opinions. Some very strong. Dude, rant coming...I had some woman wake me up this morning to check in with me after sending me an unsolicited introduction letter. About a methodology that is total $#%&. And she was all pissy about the fact that I didn't want to MEET with her to talk about it! F you lady. You called me!

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#8 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 09:28 AM
 
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My response was more in the moment of labor/delivery. I didn't even take into account circ'ing, formula, and all that stuff. Can ya tell I'm still new at this?

Wife to Jesse, Mom to Ayden 12/01, Kailey 07/03, Ashlyn 6/05, Dylan 9/07, & Riley 12/09

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#9 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 09:37 AM
 
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If a client wants to circ/formula feed/schedule their primary c-section, and you have strongly held beliefs about these issues that would impede your ability to be a supportive doula, you are not a good match for them. Save yourself the headache you will get from gritting your teeth and pass them up as clients. The universe will bring you clients who want the kind of support that you will be able to give them.

Christine, mom to C(7.5) - E(5) - J(3) - B(10 mos)

Doula, childbirth educator, Co-leader of ICAN of Atlanta

 

"Never miss an opportunity to make others happy, even if you have to leave them alone in order to do it." ~Anonymous

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#10 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 09:47 AM
 
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Letting go can be tough, but the only advice I have about letting go is LET GO.

I do have my bottom line on some things--some boundaries I've figured out over time (for instance, yes, our work together may well be therapeutic for you/your marriage, but NO, I'm not your therapist). And I do screen clients for a good fit, generally speaking. I AM very opinionated, and DO provide anti-circ, anti-vax info among other stuff, do NOT provide any pro-circ/pro-vax/pro formula feeding info--but I leave these matters to parents to decide pretty much.

My mantra has become something like "I know what is best for me and my kids, and only for me and my kids--it is not my job to know what is best for anyone else". And "I have many good thoughts and answers, but I don't have all the answers for everyone". And "My way is not the only way possible or useful in this world".

Letting go does become easier over time. Establishing boundaries is essential--my clients know what I think, and they know that I will say my bit and then *shut up*, and they know that I will provide A LOT of info/resources/support for BF and natural health, but NONE for needless circ, etc (for instance).

Learning to be passionate and still humble is an ongoing lesson in this work!
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#11 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 10:20 PM
 
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I think it's super, super normal to feel more judgey as a new doula than you do later, at least I felt that way. Another thing that helped was going through an entirely different, incredibly difficult birth personally in which me, natural birth fanatic and 2X OOH birther was begging, begging for drugs. Made me realize there are all kinds of situations out there and you simply cannot walk in someone's shoes or know what is going into them making those decisions. Also seeing a lot more births where things aren't straightforward, ecstatic and peaceful made me respect the process a lot more and understand that intervention is sometimes a very beautiful appropriate thing.

But I think all new doulas feel this way. Retrospectively I can see it in myself, and I hear it from other new doulas now. I think you just have to walk the path for awhile. And, probably some people don't ever get there. I also feel strongly about informed consent. I don't sugar coat things, but if people are aware of the risks/benefits of their decisions, and then still make a different decision than me, I'm hard pressed to think of a situation I wouldn't support other than just the super crazy out there things that I could dream up but probably wouldn't happen!

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#12 of 27 Old 06-03-2010, 11:21 PM
 
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My pet issue is induction. I just really have a hard time with all these women who are so easily pushed into it and then are so hurt by the results. BUT what I've found is...they would be worse off if I weren't there with them. Actually the only moms I won't work with are the ones that I cannot connect with emotionally at all - they won't benefit from me at all and it is frustrating for me. And you have to remember too, a mom may just not be ready for your radical ideas about breastfeeding etc...THIS time...but NEXT time she may be ready and she'll hear your point of view better if you haven't hurt or offended in any way. Respect them, even when they're wrong.

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#13 of 27 Old 06-04-2010, 01:40 AM
 
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I think it's super, super normal to feel more judgey as a new doula than you do later, at least I felt that way....Retrospectively I can see it in myself, and I hear it from other new doulas now. I think you just have to walk the path for awhile.
I've mellowed out a ton since I started. The birth activist/intactivist/lactivist is still in me, but she can sit quietly in the corner when her presence isn't helpful. I stopped attending births during my 4th pregnancy and have done just childbirth education for the past 4 years. As a doula, you're "in the trenches". That was sometimes very tough. As a childbirth educator, you have more time to give new parents the information they need to make safer, wiser decisions. I don't get as worked up about things when I know parents made decisions with knowledge of the benefits and the risks.

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#14 of 27 Old 06-06-2010, 01:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for your replies. I appreciate both your tactful tactics and honesty about your no-go issues.

The more I reflect, the more I feel like rather than having a hard and fast litmus test for clients, I'd be able to take the advice given here and basically state my positions as what I support and leave it up to them to agree or not - or to choose me as their doula or not.

Thanks again!
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#15 of 27 Old 06-06-2010, 09:27 AM
 
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good idea, laurelg

Just remember--parenting is the hardest work there is, and we don't really get much training, and there are both so many options and so much social pressure to do things a certain way despite the evidence. I am passionate about many things, but I've learned that every parent is going to make mistakes...or shall I say, learn as they go, and make different decisions later than they made early on. If new decisions are made later, the family may or may not see earlier decisions as 'mistakes', that is up to them...I try to encourage such families not to dwell upon 'mistakes' but instead on affirming that we are always doing our best under the circumstances we are in...and definitely affirming their efforts to make new, healthier decisions in the present and future.

I know families who circed one or more sons--then finally stopped circing. And so on. It can take time to really think things through, to see the results of various decisions, work up the courage to go against familial/social grain...and for most it is only the years of parenting itself that gives the courage as well as the maturity and perspective to make the kinds of decisions that seem so easy to us. Same goes for birth plans...many a woman has a typical med birth once or more times before coming to natural birth....same goes for so many things around pregnancy, birth and parenting.

I do have a bottom line, and there are some people I still won't work with (and who don't want to work with me, given my 'tendencies'). But over time I learned to do the best I can to inform families along with encouraging their empowerment--and leave the decisions to them. There is still a lot I can offer--and I count on my planting of seeds to do it's work over time, at least wherever it is meant to. Some of my very favorite clients are those who did circ! Or made some other decisions I found difficult to accept; in the end they became my faves for various other reasons of love, courage, thoughtful decision making....
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#16 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 04:28 PM
 
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Letting go can be tough, but the only advice I have about letting go is LET GO.

I do have my bottom line on some things--some boundaries I've figured out over time (for instance, yes, our work together may well be therapeutic for you/your marriage, but NO, I'm not your therapist). And I do screen clients for a good fit, generally speaking. I AM very opinionated, and DO provide anti-circ, anti-vax info among other stuff, do NOT provide any pro-circ/pro-vax/pro formula feeding info--but I leave these matters to parents to decide pretty much.

My mantra has become something like "I know what is best for me and my kids, and only for me and my kids--it is not my job to know what is best for anyone else". And "I have many good thoughts and answers, but I don't have all the answers for everyone". And "My way is not the only way possible or useful in this world".

Letting go does become easier over time. Establishing boundaries is essential--my clients know what I think, and they know that I will say my bit and then *shut up*, and they know that I will provide A LOT of info/resources/support for BF and natural health, but NONE for needless circ, etc (for instance).

Learning to be passionate and still humble is an ongoing lesson in this work!
Right ON!!
When clients have (very rarely) chosen to bottle feed, or a mom has difficulties postpartum and needs to supplement with formula, I always say..." I was bottle-fed, and I'm AWESOME!"
We need to trust that each parent is willing to become the expert on their baby and family. I have info to share, but I need to remain UNATTACHED to their decision.
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#17 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 08:59 PM
 
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Dude, rant coming...I had some woman wake me up this morning to check in with me after sending me an unsolicited introduction letter. About a methodology that is total $#%&. And she was all pissy about the fact that I didn't want to MEET with her to talk about it! F you lady. You called me!
LOL! You so made me laugh! Too funny. Yep, I've had a couple of those. We aren't therapists...we're midwives. They aren't the same thing...
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#18 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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I'm not sure if its relevant if I chime in since I'm not a birth professional, but I went into pregnancy with a very mainstream stance on most issues, and gradually shifted on several over the course of my pregnancy. One of the greatest helps to me was my very kind and gentle doula, who encouraged me, and provided me with pamphlets and book recommendations, but never pushed me to shift faster than I was ready to.

I kindof stumbled into the natural birth scene at a birth fair for expectant moms and I was honestly turned off by some of the other doulas and birth professionals because I felt like they were so loud and intense about their views. (I understand it better now...there are definitely reasons to have strong feelings...but being brand new to all of it, it just felt overwhelming). However, my doula was so gentle and encouraging, and I decided that I'd love to have someone like that support me through this very new and somewhat daunting journey into parenthood.

I totally respect and understand that some doulas wouldn't have wanted to work with me, a mainstream mama, as it probably would have been a bad fit. But I'm so glad that my doula (who is far crunchier than me) was comfortable working with me, because I benefitted so much from her support. She helped me feel empowered to switch from an intervention-happy OB, to a great MW, and I ended up with a drug-free hospital waterbirth that I consider a very positive experience. I've also breastfed and cloth diapered my DD for 3 months now and we're going strong!

I don't know if my little anecdotes are helpful or relevant, but I hope that it was rewarding for my doula to see me grow through this experience, and I hope it might be for you too as you support mamas who may not share all your views.

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#19 of 27 Old 06-07-2010, 10:04 PM
 
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One of the doulas where I live tells clients up front that if they get an epidural, she will go home while they rest (she has her own kids to tend to) and they can call her to return when it's time to push.

Wow. This just seems unprofessional to me. She's entitled to her own practice, sure, and parents can take it or leave it...

But it seems not only judgmental but counterproductive. A woman with pain relief still needs a doula's support-- as the labor progresses she needs someone to help her work through choices and circumstance. Do people really see a doula's role as simply a means to achieve natural childbirth? I've been a doula for 10 years (not practicing lately due to heavy FT teaching load) and I always saw my role as SO much more expansive than that... I can't imagine abandoning a woman at a stage in her labor where she still wanted my help.

All in all the "protecting the memory" aspect of a doula's role has always been my main focus. This is a life changing moment for her and I want nothing more than for her to look back on it with awe at her own capabilities and just bliss at the creation (or expansion) of her family. There is no bigger gift I can give her than to empower her throughout the labor and help her see her own agency. And that may very well mean using pain relief for an unbelievably painful labor, even if she never intende to. The last thing I would want to do is be the very person who makes her look back at that decision with regret. She needs to see that act as something that *she* chose for herself with all available information. I've seen too much PTSD from mother's who have "fallen from grace" of the NCB to minimize this. What message do you send to LEAVE a woman when she makes a decision you disagree with? Her blood pressure could plummet at any moment, and you'll be home resting?

I think one of the worst things a doula can do is put her particular vision of a "ideal birth" at the center of her practice as the only correct choice. That doesn't mean you have to work with any woman who may have such extreme differences than you that you're just incompatible (or personality/energy clashes, which I think are much more important). But it does mean that this isn't your birth and your role is not to put your own feelings ahead of the mother's, ESPECIALLY in the middle of labor. You can chose not to work with a woman BEFORE labor, but not in the very middle of it.
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#20 of 27 Old 06-16-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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I am a doula who doesn't work with families that are planning on circumcising their child.

I have learned over time (and have been heavily questioned) that my morals/ethics come first. While it is about their journey...that path goes through my life...and I am allowed to protect what comes into my life.

How I go about this varies heavily. I have had two families in nine years decide to still circumcise after learning about it. One had a girl and a different doula, and one hired another doula and then did NOT circumcise. (There are a lot of ways to teach about this. Sometimes it is one sentence and then space for them to do their own research.)

Now that I am being hired as a primary midwife under supervision...I am not sure how to approach it. I have a lot of information on my website, which most people see before contacting me. That helps a lot!

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#21 of 27 Old 06-16-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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It's their birth and their baby. But your values are your values. You have to decide in your heart what you are willing to support and what you are not and then communicate that to potential clients. I personally don't think that birth workers are supposed to be faceless, impartial, 100% supportive of every choice beings. You have your opinions and while you have to be kind, diplomatic and respectful you don't have to take part in things that go against your values. The important thing is communication.

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#22 of 27 Old 06-16-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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I am a doula who doesn't work with families that are planning on circumcising their child.

I have learned over time (and have been heavily questioned) that my morals/ethics come first. While it is about their journey...that path goes through my life...and I am allowed to protect what comes into my life.

How I go about this varies heavily. I have had two families in nine years decide to still circumcise after learning about it. One had a girl and a different doula, and one hired another doula and then did NOT circumcise. (There are a lot of ways to teach about this. Sometimes it is one sentence and then space for them to do their own research.)

Now that I am being hired as a primary midwife under supervision...I am not sure how to approach it. I have a lot of information on my website, which most people see before contacting me. That helps a lot!
I'm really curious to know how you handle this one as a midwife. I am torn between not working with couples who plan to circumcise and wanting to have the chance to educate people about it. Then too, many people haven't discussed it at the point in pregnancy that they hire a midwife. I don't want to turn people away who could be educated and decide to keep their boys intact, but then it's such a big issue for me that I can't support it as a "parent's choice" issue. I think maybe just having pro-intact information prominent in my paperwork and website will help.

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#23 of 27 Old 07-01-2010, 09:01 PM
 
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Don't compromise your beliefs if you can't keep your mouth shut....don't take that client.
If you can truly be understanding that these things are their choice (even if it wouldn't be your choice) and give them great support - then take them!

My personal sticking point is when people make choices without knowing all the facts. If I can see that they have the facts, have done some reading and searching for their own best answers - then their decisions are their decisions and I will support them.
First and foremost, I am an advocate for women and their choices.

I have happily taken full payment from a woman planning a cesarean and who only wanted to give breastfeeding 'a try'. Easiest money I ever made.
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#24 of 27 Old 07-05-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Altair View Post
Wow. This just seems unprofessional to me. She's entitled to her own practice, sure, and parents can take it or leave it...

But it seems not only judgmental but counterproductive. A woman with pain relief still needs a doula's support-- as the labor progresses she needs someone to help her work through choices and circumstance. Do people really see a doula's role as simply a means to achieve natural childbirth? I've been a doula for 10 years (not practicing lately due to heavy FT teaching load) and I always saw my role as SO much more expansive than that... I can't imagine abandoning a woman at a stage in her labor where she still wanted my help.

All in all the "protecting the memory" aspect of a doula's role has always been my main focus. This is a life changing moment for her and I want nothing more than for her to look back on it with awe at her own capabilities and just bliss at the creation (or expansion) of her family. There is no bigger gift I can give her than to empower her throughout the labor and help her see her own agency. And that may very well mean using pain relief for an unbelievably painful labor, even if she never intende to. The last thing I would want to do is be the very person who makes her look back at that decision with regret. She needs to see that act as something that *she* chose for herself with all available information. I've seen too much PTSD from mother's who have "fallen from grace" of the NCB to minimize this. What message do you send to LEAVE a woman when she makes a decision you disagree with? Her blood pressure could plummet at any moment, and you'll be home resting?

I think one of the worst things a doula can do is put her particular vision of a "ideal birth" at the center of her practice as the only correct choice. That doesn't mean you have to work with any woman who may have such extreme differences than you that you're just incompatible (or personality/energy clashes, which I think are much more important). But it does mean that this isn't your birth and your role is not to put your own feelings ahead of the mother's, ESPECIALLY in the middle of labor. You can chose not to work with a woman BEFORE labor, but not in the very middle of it.
FWIW, I had a client who WANTED me to go home in the middle of her labor! I felt very weird about it, but I didn't live too far from the hospital... 5 quick miles, and she was tired. She got an epidural, had a nap and called me when they were close to pushing. I went back and she pushed, had a lovely baby and I supported her and daddy afterwards for quite a while. It was exactly what she wanted. I think she didn't want to feel hovered over...
Again, it made me feel really odd, to leave in the middle, and had I had it to do over, I would probably just stay in the hospital, in the waiting room, perhaps, and taken a nap of sorts.
The "bad" thing was that there was a backlash later... apparently a nurse thought it was "unprofessional" too, and badmouthed me to another doula who came along later. It was too bad I had no power to explain that it was the mother's request, not my failure as a professional. I hated the idea that the other doula and or nursing staff thought that I would actually leave of my OWN accord in the middle of labor. I didn't like how it reflected on doula work and I regretted that.
But, I felt at the time, and still feel perfectly fine about the needs and relationship between me and the parents. I did what they needed/wanted and between us, everything was good. That's what was more important to me.
- Jen

Mom of 5 working full-time and waiting to go to nursing school! Whew! I need a nap! joy.gif

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#25 of 27 Old 07-05-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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I'm really curious to know how you handle this one as a midwife. I am torn between not working with couples who plan to circumcise and wanting to have the chance to educate people about it. Then too, many people haven't discussed it at the point in pregnancy that they hire a midwife. I don't want to turn people away who could be educated and decide to keep their boys intact, but then it's such a big issue for me that I can't support it as a "parent's choice" issue. I think maybe just having pro-intact information prominent in my paperwork and website will help.
I am not sure. It is completely different though, as you have a family hire you much earlier and your role is so different. I suppose that I am hired and then talk about it as we go along. I think that most families birthing at home don't generally do this anyway, but it is something that I will bring up. I have a lot on my website about it.

wife - mother - midwife

CIRCUMCISION

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#26 of 27 Old 07-06-2010, 04:16 PM
 
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I am not sure. It is completely different though, as you have a family hire you much earlier and your role is so different. I suppose that I am hired and then talk about it as we go along. I think that most families birthing at home don't generally do this anyway, but it is something that I will bring up. I have a lot on my website about it.
I think it depends a lot on the area you live as far as homebirthing families doing it or not. I would say that probably about 50% (or potentially more) of the homebirths I have attended with baby boys have gotten it done. Yet, I know of midwives who have almost a 0% circumcision rate in their practice. I think part of it is that I live rurally.

I just give a lot of information on the dangers of circumcision and encourage families to really consider it and educate themselves. I otherwise, let go and let them be parents and figure out how to best raise their child. It is similar to breastfeeding. I am very pro-breastfeeding and very much going to encourage my clients and try to help them breastfeed, but I have had some people not breastfeed at all or only for a fairly short time. They know they have me to help them, but in the end they need to decide how to parent their children. I have gotten a chance to know them through the whole pregnancy and can respect them as fantastic women who are really trying to make the best decisions for their entire family.

Erika, mama to three beautiful kids (plus one gestating), and wife to one fantastic man.

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#27 of 27 Old 07-07-2010, 08:26 PM
 
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I'm very pro-breastfeeding, and would have a hard time with someone who wouldn't at least give it a try (excluding someone with physical or emotional reasons - beyond "I think that's gross" - that they couldn't)..
I say this very gently but I urge you to consider this position especially with a client vs someone you know really really well.

I too am very pro breastfeeding. Very. I believe human milk is normal and breastfeeding is normal, not best. I am still nursing my almost four year old and my 1.5 year old and I've nursed both my niece and nephew as well as two other children of friends.

I'm also a sexual abuse survivor and having talked to many other survivors sometimes there are really deep issues going on with breastfeeding (or for that matter needing an epidural during labour or preferring a cesarean over vaginal birth). Sometimes all that they can come up with as a reason though doesn't sound very convincing to those who don't know the deeper issues. But that woman may need support more than someone else, not less.

For *me* birthing without intervention was and is hugely important to my mental health and part of that is because of my abuse history. For *me* nourishing my babies at my breast has been hugely empowering and wonderfully healing.

But someone who isn't coming from that place may really need support as a doula during her labour even if she isn't planning on breastfeeding. And who knows what she'll decide to do in the end, birth or feeding wise.

This is just some food for thought for anyone considering this particular discussion. I totally understand not being able to give more than you can give, I just wanted to possibly give another point of view as a Mom and student midwife myself.

Alison
Mama to Toad (08/06), Frog (01/09)... and new baby Newt born on his due date, Sep. 8, 2010
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