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I need some BTDT encouragement!

455 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  septmommy
My midwife just accepted me as a student and I will be starting the National College of Midwifery in June. I am so excited! I have had 2 amazing homebirths, but have never attended the birth of someone else. My preceptor encouraged me to offer free labor support services as a way to gain experience and it looks like I've actually got some interested mamas. I knew I'd be elated if that happened, but I didn't know I'd also be terrified! I have complete faith in birth and am as educated about birth as a non-birth professional can be. I have no fear about witnessing birth, I just feel like a bit of an imposter. Before signing on to attend these births I believed I was qualified just by being a woman with such trust in other women and in birth. Now though I'm freaking out because I haven't been "trained" in support positions, advocating, or where my role begins and ends. I haven't portrayed myself to these women as anything other than I am so I feel okay about that. Please help remind me that I can do this and if you have any advice to offer please feel free.
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supporting a woman in labor is more about being a calming presence than it is about positions and techniques! Just be yourself, think about the things that you liked when you were in labor and be very intuitive to the laboring woman.

Most women like touch and they will tell you if they don't want it! Rubbing the back is good, but be firm, remember that she is feeling very strong contractions so light touch will be too much like a tickle.

Remind her to change positions if she gets stuck in one place.
Remind her to drink water and pee often.
Remind her that it is hard work to birth her baby and she is doing it wonderfully!
Remind her every contraction is bringing the baby closer.
Remind her to keep her jaw loose and her voice deep.
Remind her partner to rub her back or support her in a squat, etc.

Or don't remind her of anything if it doesn't feel right to do so. Follow her lead.

Just be there for her and you will do fine!
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You and I are in a similar situation. Although i did take a doula training, it was about four years ago (after which i got pregnant before i managed to begin attending births). I'm not sure how much I retained at this point. I have an apprenticeship on the horizon, and am currently on call for my first doula client. While it IS a bit nerve-wracking to think about all the things I don't know, I have to keep in mind that i do know how to be nurturing and supportive in any was necessary (being a mama is an education for lots of different things!). i guess we have to just do it, and stop doubting ourselves, YK?

I guess this is more of a BTDTN (been there, doing that now) reply. I'm such a dork.
I would just keep in mind that just being there for support, being "present", will make a huge difference- even if thats "all" you do. Follow your intuition, do what feels right in the moment. If you stay present and focus on being open for what needs to happen the energy will work through you.
Thanks so much. Each one of your posts was very helpful & very encouraging!
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