DOULERY: (noun) a doula’s work.
I can invent a word! Midwifery is just as weird a word and everyone is ok with it. Anyway….
Today’s post brought to you by the letter ‘P’. There are a lot of key elements of birth that start with the letter ‘P’, so let’s explore some!
No good can come out of listening to your grandmother’s story of birth in warn torn Poland, or a waitress who had to have a Cesarean because her baby was in distress after 46 hours of labour, or a stranger on the bus telling you how much she tore. Good grief, be quiet world! People are all too willing to share their horrible experiences without thinking that maybe you might already have some anxiety about this process. Surround yourself with positive stories (or no stories at all!) and visualize what you want your experience to be. It’s your process and your baby’s, nobody else’s, and every birth is different. I think the stories and images on Apple Blossom Families’ site are amazing and beautiful and empowering.
Things can get hectic when birth is imminent, especially in a hospital setting. There is a lot going on in mom’s body as well as in her surroundings with people rushing around getting things ready, care providers checking in, family members coming and going. It’s important to make your birth as peaceful as you need. I say “need” because peace is a relative term — some moms want to have distraction at certain points, while others want privacy, silence, and darkness. But one thing is for sure, when mom is feeling peaceful, labour will likely progress nice and smooth because her process is not being interrupted unnecessarily.
Accordingly to a website called www.google.com, “profound” means 1. (of a state, quality, or emotion) very great or intense, or 2. (of a person or statement) having or showing great knowledge or insight. Birth is both!
Of course we all know that it’s very intense, but it also demonstrates the great knowledge and wisdom of the female body. It is doing things that it has perhaps never done before — stretching, opening, shifting — all the while knowing exactly what hormones should release when to open the bones of the pelvis, soften the cervix, communicate with baby who is getting into position, produce milk, and so on. Amazing. And once baby is born and the hard physical work of labour has ended, of course there is the profoundness of meeting the new human you made!
Birth is birth is birth. Whether it takes place at home, in a hospital, or in the back of a cab. I’ve read too many stories about mothers who have been shamed or are disappointed that they had a planned Ceasarean, or their birth plan changed last minute. We can’t plan or predict everything. Sometimes we gotta do what we gotta do in order to protect mom and baby, and sometimes that means going for the epidural to be more comfortable. The main thing is that all moms should feel proud that they birthed their child the way they wanted to, proud of their wise bodies, and partner’s should be proud of all mom did to bring that baby into the world. Be proud of yo’ birth!
Just because the baby is out doesn’t mean that we are done taking care of mom. Au contraire! Moms may be superwomen, that’s for sure, but we cannot forget that they need support just as much postpartum, if not more, than when they were pregnant. In addition to having to care for a tiny human being, there’s figuring out breastfeeding, healing from birth, sleep deprivation, and hormonal adjustments on top of all the other everyday life things. We as a community need to make sure that new parents have enough support by providing nutritious meals, helping around the house, and offering rides to doctor’s appointments — not just a flouncy baby shower. New moms also need to know that there is a lot of assistance available to them: breastfeeding clinics and lactation consultants, pelvic floor physiotherapy for healing muscles, counselling for any postpartum depression, and of course, postpartum doulas.
Of course there are like a bazillion other words that start with the letter P involved in pregnancy and birth, but I like these key words the best. They are all good reminders of where the focus should be placed. Make us feel all zen — Oooommmmmm….