UCer's becoming doulas/midwifes - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would love to have a conversation regarding this.

Lately I have been thinking ALOT about becoming a doula to improve woman's birth experiences in this mainstream, medicalized culture.

I FULLY support UC and believe that women do not need assistance in birth. However, so many women are saturated in the NEED.

Would it be wrong to try and reduce the fear of birth by assisting women in having natural and beautiful births as a doula or a midwife?

Ok...discuss

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#2 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 05:09 PM
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i don't think so.

i've thought about it myself. it makes sense to do so--to put yourself into a position of influence where you can help a family feel empowered through their process.

i think that there are many people who are not able to be UCers for whatever reasons. and i think that they, too, need advocates on their side, who support them where they are and with what they are choosing.

so, it makes sense to me that a UCer would want to reach these folks where they are, and help them in that situation.
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#3 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 05:17 PM
 
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I dont see UC as "the best" way to birth. I just see it as an option, and IMO we need to do what works best from us. I have often considered being a midwife, and had at one point purchased everything I needed to become a doula, including the application packets from DONA and CAPPA, before deciding that I just couldn't make ends meet that way, financially, and wasnt willing to be a doula when I couldn't commit 100% (I'd have had to only attend births during certain time frames when I wasnt working or DH was able to take care of my kids and that wouldn't be fair to the mommas)

That being said, I am seriously considering going to school to become an LPN next Fall. It would be very amusing if I ended up becoming a CNM after it was all said and done, considering how vehemently I have opposed and feared them. I dont know if I could handle the OB monitoring, but not all OBs are bad, so maybe there would be hope.
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#4 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 05:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
I would love to have a conversation regarding this.

Lately I have been thinking ALOT about becoming a doula to improve woman's birth experiences in this mainstream, medicalized culture.

I FULLY support UC and believe that women do not need assistance in birth. However, so many women are saturated in the NEED.

Would it be wrong to try and reduce the fear of birth by assisting women in having natural and beautiful births as a doula or a midwife?

Ok...discuss
OK I'll bite. I do this already. I'm a UC-ER (was first) then got my CBE cert and doula cert. I feel there are alot of compromises you make. For instance, while I can feel, stand as a testament to the fact and give voice and evidence that X Y and Z are unecessary in my classes and even at a birth, the mama will still choose it because it seems a good idea to her at the time. Vaginal exams for instance. They are stupid, but it's a concession hospital birthing mamas make all the time despite not needing to. It normally leads to second guessing your intuitive sense of laboring.

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...

Carrie, The Birthteacher CCE and Doula, real mom to five; and womb-mom to G. born at 23w by emergency C. 12/09
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#5 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 05:21 PM
 
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and not all CNMs are alike. Not all laws are alike. Not all CNM's "report" or "work under" OB's.

I'm considering that route too. You don't make ends meet as a doula.

Carrie, The Birthteacher CCE and Doula, real mom to five; and womb-mom to G. born at 23w by emergency C. 12/09
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#6 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 05:28 PM
 
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I don't think practicing midwifery or being a doula is incompatible with personally having unassisted pregnancies and/or births.

I do think that if I ever pursued midwifery as a career that I would want to wait until after my family is complete and that I would be an extreemly low interventionist midwife.

Mama to Raina (9/06) and Peter (8/09)!
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#7 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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and not all CNMs are alike. Not all laws are alike. Not all CNM's "report" or "work under" OB's.

I'm considering that route too. You don't make ends meet as a doula.
My concern about being a midwife is liability. Doulas seem to have little to none. Being a midwife, I would think that would carry some liability risk.

Anyone have info on that?

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#8 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 06:03 PM
 
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A homebirth midwife has a lot more of a liability / risk than a CNM, but a lot more freedom I think too. (although this may be better answered in the Birth Professionals area of the boards since I'm just going off of research and not experience)

Quote:
Rockies5

and not all CNMs are alike. Not all laws are alike. Not all CNM's "report" or "work under" OB's.
I'd love to hear more about this. I was pretty certain that, in my area atleast, CNM's had no choice but to work under an OB, but this is one area where I would LOVE to be proven wrong.
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#9 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 06:10 PM
 
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I fully intend to become a CPM at some point......yet to be determined! I was to start next July, but life interviened!

I have often wondered how I will merge my feelings on birth (hard core UC leanings) with being a MW. I read Sage Femme's blog a LOT as she speaks to that. I want to be hands off and not bow to the pressure of "liability" but still respect that when a woman hires me to be at her birth, I do have liability, both legally and ethically (if she is not in a place of trusting herself).

My ideal as a MW? Guiding women to a place of deeper self understanding, deeper respect and trust with their intuition, and empowering them to own their births.

I sometimes wonder if I've hired my current MW to not only watch that in action, but perhaps make some ties with her for the future.
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#10 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 08:34 PM
 
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actually, I would like to be a midwife someday (once I am done with my own kids, on the advice of my former m/ws).

I do believe in UC and I believe it is best, but I also know that like with homeschooling/unschooling, it is not always possible. Since that is the case, I would like there to be compassionate, skilled women as midwives who trust birth.
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#11 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 08:46 PM
 
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I have been thinking about this, too. I may go back for my CNM or CPM at some point when the kids aren't so young. I see UC as one option, and midwife attended as another. Some people want one there, and I would also be happy to stand back and be there just in case for women who are unsure.

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#12 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 09:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
I FULLY support UC and believe that women do not need assistance in birth. However, so many women are saturated in the NEED.
I think it's a great idea. But you need to get past this line of thinking first.

I'm comfortable with the idea of having an unassisted birth. But I've also recently come into a place in my own psyche where I'm recognizing that interdependence is as valuable, if not moreso, than independence. I think the ability to do things alone is great, but I also believe that doesn't mean you have to do it alone. Humans are social animals and there is a lot of value in community. To me, this includes the birth process. Women deserve to have someone around massaging their back or holding their belly through contractions if they desire. Women deserve to be taken care of (again if they desire). That is why I would hire a doula, if ever.
I'm an extremely independent type - I have a very hard time asking anyone for help. The knowledge that it's okay to ask for help sometimes has been extremely empowering for me.
I'm not sure what's going to happen at my next birth. I love having a midwife because I love the aftercare - someone to have tea with, a nonjudgemental ear to listen to my hopes and fears in the days and weeks after the birth. But I've moved since my last one, and I may end up hiring a doula or two instead - just in case I need someone to massage my back (although I have a feeling that I'll probably be solo with this one) or bring me water or . . . I don't know what I'm going to do afterwards.
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#13 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 09:54 PM
 
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Such a wise post Mandy! Thank you so much for writing it.

To jump off of that, I would also say that UC seems to be a state of personality as much as trusting birth. My good friend L trusts birth just as much as I do, but she's a very social, outgoing person and she likes to have a PART-Y at her births. She loves to have MW, apprintace, husband, kids, friends, mother, etc all gathered round. I, on the other hand, am a serious introvert and that's why I *liked* UC so much. I am very private and get preformance anxiety which hinders my births. She would hate having an unattended birth. She likes all the lavish attention.

So perhaps some women just choose to have a wise woman (MW) attend them for more reasons that just not trusting their bodies.
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#14 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 11:34 PM
 
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My midwife UCed all her babies

I think she's a fabulous midwife because of it.

-Angela
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#15 of 95 Old 10-24-2007, 11:38 PM
 
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no way, that wouldn't be wrong! I think if there were more needy women that had doulas, then they'd make smarted choices all around. If they turn to an MD or another very medical person to meet their needs then they aren't going to get ideal results.
if you want to be a doula, then you should be one

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#16 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 12:10 AM
 
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That's my plan, someday. I'm currently a Peer Breastfeeding Counselor for WIC and I'm working towards becoming an IBCLC, someday. I've been interested in becoming a homebirth midwife for years, but lactation is very important to me, too and it has better hours We're currently thinking this is our last babe (I'm due in a few weekish). If that's the case, I could see myself apprenticing in a few years, perhaps.

I like the idea of being low intervention, of supporting people doing it themselves, as much as they want, of being emotional support. I also love the idea of offering Prenatal or Postnatal care to UCers who want it. That's hard to come by! I don't feel that I need a midwife, but it took me a while to get there. If someone else needs or wants one, there should be good options.

Sarah
aspiring midwife Mama to Declan - 7/14/00 and Bastian - 11/20/07.
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#17 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 02:06 AM
 
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GREAT post Mandy! I could not agree more.

I started off with a party birth, then did a modified party birth then did a UC birth with my DH and doula (who was there 5 min. but was hired in case we had a forever labor to relieve DH). I am both a private and personable person so some of it has to do with personality, but an enormous amount (I feel) has to do with your thoughts about birth AND thoughts about taking 100% responsibility.

I am a doula and a midwife assistant (and plan to become a MW when my kiddos are older) and feel that I can support any woman. It is a professional ability that you need, to be able to support a choice YOU wouldn't make yourself. I have had 3 very different births (hospital transfer from home, homebirth MW and UC) - I don't share about my UC with everyone - some people are not in the place to hear it, but sometimes it appeals to them.

I am going to be a very handsoff MW myself as it will run most easily with my beliefs, concience, but I still feel that the choices are not mine when it is not my birth.

But to have a UC background, or personal hands-off experience, it undoubtedly would positively affect your beliefs in a medical world if you want to be anything but.

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#18 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 02:42 AM
 
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I'd love to hear more about this. I was pretty certain that, in my area atleast, CNM's had no choice but to work under an OB, but this is one area where I would LOVE to be proven wrong.
Definitely depends on where you live.

Also, my MW (after two UCs, which is why I'm on this board) is a CNM, and she just had a UC a few months ago.

Ulrike, mom to:
Roman (3/98), Evalina (3/00), Nadia (3/03), and Kira (11/07)
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#19 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 03:01 AM
 
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I am a doula because I UC'ed and want to support a woman in labour and birthing the way that she wants to birth. But I am hands off (thats' why I UC'ed) and as a result, I couldn't see myself taking an "active role" in a birth like that of a CNM or laymw.
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#20 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 05:35 AM
 
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I have thought about this and DH is encouraging me to try.I want to to do it for the mamas who have no one but the Dr for support.I was considered high risk even though my problem was under control and never came close to a problem.I was risked out of having a MW for support and a nifty support group for mamas due at the same time as me.It was not fair.I was left with an OB who had no time for me or my questions let alone tea and sympathy.Nothing was explained to me, I was just told alot of your baby could die.
My fears are that I wouldn't get the control I feel I would need.In WA the only homebirthing MW in the area had to turn me down because her back up OB told her no. In San Diego my doula(who was as good as she could be) couldn't tell me stay away from an induction outright.
I dunno.

joy.gifme, herding 5 critters a cat and a dog. DS 11/01, DS 10/04, DD 2/06, DS 5/07 and DD 9/10

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#21 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 11:19 AM
 
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You definitely walk a line when you are in this professionally rather than just as a voice of advocacy. I've been at births where choices were made that I literally had to recover from the emotional trauma days later. I remember being on the phone with a fellow doula bawling about how it brought back horrid memories of my first birth. Yet, I had to let Mama make her own choices. They are, after all, hers to make. Just as I would not want someone telling me I "can't" have a UC or I am stupid for choosing it, so I cannot do that to a woman making choices I think are dangerous or stupid.

To be a MW or a doula, you need to have the emotional wherewithall to see this kind of stuff happen and be able to process it without making you too jaded. I need to decompress for awhile after that birth, and I questioned whether or not I could still do my job. I decided I could, and I learned a lot from that birth. I think it's important for birth professionals working against the mainstream to have a support system.
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#22 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 12:09 PM
 
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I admire the UCers that have gotten into various aspects of birth to help other mamas, and I would seriously consider attending (show up at) the birth of a close friend, if asked; but I have too much emotional baggage left over from my overmanaged, attended births, and if I was in that environment again I would definitely find myself running away to bawl. That wouldn't work out too well.
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#23 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by NatureMama3 View Post
I do believe in UC and I believe it is best, but I also know that like with homeschooling/unschooling, it is not always possible. Since that is the case, I would like there to be compassionate, skilled women as midwives who trust birth.
Love that! Same reason I believe we (dh and I) need to be involved in helping make public schools better......though we unschool. It is all about advocating for children, babies, mothers, and fathers.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#24 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it's a great idea. But you need to get past this line of thinking first.

I'm comfortable with the idea of having an unassisted birth. But I've also recently come into a place in my own psyche where I'm recognizing that interdependence is as valuable, if not moreso, than independence. I think the ability to do things alone is great, but I also believe that doesn't mean you have to do it alone. Humans are social animals and there is a lot of value in community. To me, this includes the birth process. Women deserve to have someone around massaging their back or holding their belly through contractions if they desire. Women deserve to be taken care of (again if they desire). That is why I would hire a doula, if ever.
I'm an extremely independent type - I have a very hard time asking anyone for help. The knowledge that it's okay to ask for help sometimes has been extremely empowering for me.
I'm not sure what's going to happen at my next birth. I love having a midwife because I love the aftercare - someone to have tea with, a nonjudgemental ear to listen to my hopes and fears in the days and weeks after the birth. But I've moved since my last one, and I may end up hiring a doula or two instead - just in case I need someone to massage my back (although I have a feeling that I'll probably be solo with this one) or bring me water or . . . I don't know what I'm going to do afterwards.
Truly wonderful points. Thank you.

I actually had 13 people at my homebirth I am a community kind of gal. I personally would never want to have a solo UC. I like being cared for. I liked having food made for me, laundry done, clean up magically happen, tea made for me, a warm bath for me when I was ready, my back rubbed.

I guess was trying to talk more about medical "need" them person need.

I believe it is TOTALLY possible to homebirth/UC in a room full of people. It just may not be for everyone. I loved it!

But either way, I need to make sure that I am not holding on to labels that may hinder my ability to doula/midwife someone. Thank you for pointing that out. Really made me think.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#25 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I also love the idea of offering Prenatal or Postnatal care to UCers who want it. That's hard to come by!

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#26 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 01:28 PM
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I like being cared for. I liked having food made for me, laundry done, clean up magically happen, tea made for me, a warm bath for me when I was ready, my back rubbed.

this is what my husband is for!

he does these things for me now. i don't think i'll do a solo (just me) UC, because i want my husband there and he wants to be there. he's just amazing.

we had the coolest conversation yesterday about some things that have been brought up on the boards and got my brain thinking, and he knows me of course. . .

and we talked about how UC isn't a "standard" for us. it feels right and it's what we want "most" of the types/styles of birth out there, but we also recognize that it's ok to have something different if that's what we want.

my personality type is a "fear type" (using the enneagram system), and so he said (and it was so sweet) that if i become afraid, that it's ok for us to seek whatever support will help me/us with that fear. . .and that it's ok for me to be afraid too.

and i thought that was just the sweetest thing, becuase it was really supportive and loving. he said that he's not going to 'hold me to any standard' and i asserted that i wasn't looking at UC as a standard. . .and that we'd be happy with a midwife or whatever we felt we needed.

so that was really cool.

but seriously, my husband does all of those things for me. i think it's because he's "the best."
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#27 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it's important for birth professionals working against the mainstream to have a support system.
Really great point.

I have had such a mix of births myself. 2 HIGHLY medical births with OB (pit, waters broke, induced cause I was 5 days over, epidural, cut with #1 and tear....stitches did not take and had to be redone at 10 weeks pp Almost died with both due to preclamsia with #1 and overdosed with epidural with #2) Hospital midwife birth. NO interventions. Freedom to birth however I wanted. Plagued with fear though still Life changing birth for me. Still seeking more control over the process (mostly post birth like bathing baby, not doing all that testing, etc) Next birth at home Had a traditional midwife present (dh more comfortable that way) She asked if a doula could attend for her certification. I said yes and had like 11 others there. It wsa one of the most beautiful experiences of my life! :

I do not know if these experiences will make it hard or easier for me to deal with hospital births. I remember what I felt like in the cold room looking at my OB like he was God and KNOWING he was making decisions that were in my best interest.

Man....I have learned SOOOOOOO much! Praise God!

I just want to help other women in a non-judgemental, loving way to make THEIR OWN decisions.

I wish I would have known someone who would have done that for me with #1 and #2.

For #3 I met a midwife who nearly slapped me when I said I would do an epi if needed. SHe said, "Are you kidding me????? You almost died! Twice! You would willingly do that again???"

I never saw her again as she retired from the practice that week. Little does she know, she changed my life. : I needed someone to challenge my beliefs and make ME answer to myself. It is in great part because of her I came to MDC and researched waterbirth and natural birth. Angelo and Mylee were able to experience peaceful births as a result.

Sorry.....I am blabbing Lots on my heart right now.

Mama to 9 so far:Mother of Joey (20), Dominick (13), Abigail (11), Angelo (8), Mylee (6), Delainey (3), Colton (2) and Baby 8 and Baby 9 coming sometime in July 2013.   If evolution were true, mothers would have three arms!

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#28 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 01:33 PM
 
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I am a doula. I planned to UC with DS (ended up induced with pre-e) and I plan to UC this baby. Some people NEED the hospital. I think a lot of UCers forget that. In my case, I needed the hospital. And had I had a doula, my expirence would've been much different than it was. This time I have someone on stand-by (not an actual doula, but my best friend who is like my clone except she's VERY outspoken while I tend to be non-confrontational) in case I end up in the hospital again. I know she'll make sure that they don't do ANYTHING I haven't asked them to do. That gives me a peace that I needed last time. And that's why I became a doula. To give peace to those who either need the hospital for medical reasons or (like my best friend) just don't feel safe elsewhere. Just because they don't make the same decisions we have doesn't mean they don't need support.

Momma to DS1 4/5/06 nursed with IGT to self-weaning at 27 months, DS2 1/20/09 still nursing, DS3 due late November - planning to tandem with IGT and SNS
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#29 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 01:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
I like being cared for. I liked having food made for me, laundry done, clean up magically happen, tea made for me, a warm bath for me when I was ready, my back rubbed.

this is what my husband is for!
That's great!

My husband also does a lot - we're about 50/50 overall, but he gets overwhelmed at times too. When we have a baby, I don't want 100% of the stuff to suddenly be piled on him - if he really enjoyed it, that would be great, but we have 2 other children who have needs as well and so does my dh. I really like to be able to just cuddle in with the family . . . I don't want him to have to worry about that stuff either.
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#30 of 95 Old 10-25-2007, 01:35 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AngelBee View Post
I just want to help other women in a non-judgemental, loving way to make THEIR OWN decisions.
Excellent!! Perfect frame of mind!

btw, CAPPA is against UC
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