Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"Breastfeeding can be a lifeline"

From Donna Ryan's Banned From Baby Showers blog:

"So, yes, birth is so very important, but it is also a few hours of your entire life... If a mom is so upset about the birth, breastfeeding can be a lifeline for her and her baby."

I am extremely thankful that I had the exact birth I wanted. However, no matter how much a person prepares, birth does not always go as planned. I am glad that I saw this today because this may happen to me or may happen to mothers that I hopefully get to attend one day. My birth has given me such a BOOST in motherhood. Honestly, I feel much more pride, fascination, and awe about my birth than I do about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding has been HARD for me, but breastfeeding is so much better for my daughter! That is the source of the wonderful bond she and I share, and I experience so many wonderfully intimate and tender moments with her through breastfeeding.

In short, the birth was for me. Breastfeeding is for her. If I can only have one, I choose breastfeeding.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Penny Simkin's interview with Mother's Advocate blog

I love reading her words! A few of her responses were especially interesting to me.

She was asked how labor support effects birth outcomes. "When she feels well supported, valued, respected, cared for, nurtured, guided — she feels empowered. And after a birth like that, she’ll say, “I did it.” She knows that she has that strength. I would hope for every woman, however she chooses to give birth, that she comes out of it feeling the sense of power, capability — accomplishment."

I know my husband was fantastic support. He was there for me the entire time, and he somehow knew exactly what I needed whether he realized it or not. He gave me strength and confidence by just vocalizing with me during my contractions. What a fantastic idea! I know I would not have this amazing feeling after my birth had my sweet husband not been the best labor companion I could have. I would have liked to have a doula there too, but we could not afford one. I did not know about finding a doula at the time! I think we managed very well without one, but it was CRUCIAL for me to have a labor support person there.

Her parting question was, "Any words of wisdom for the expectant mother?" She replied, "The birth of a baby is a lot more than the birth of a baby. It’s the birth of a mother, father, grandparents, siblings, etc. When a woman approaches birth, I think she probably has very little idea of how important that’s going to be to her, in her development as a human being. But the birth experience brings the woman to some of the deepest, most profound physical sensations and emotions that she’ll ever have. It’s a mix of joy, anticipation, excitement, pain, exposure, vulnerability. And, I think in going through that rite of passage and coming out on the other side, a woman is transformed. She’ll never be the same. And of course, we’re all hoping for every woman that she will have a satisfying, fulfilling birth experience that she can look back on with great joy, but also one that will give her a sense that — well, some women have said, “I can do anything after having a baby.” So that’s what I hope that we can look forward to for many women, and that’s what I see as part of my role is — to be a part in preparing her for that."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Am I offending people?

I had such a wonderful birth that I am still so very excited about it. I did not intend to feel this way during my pregnancy. All I wanted was to have the birth for which I was preparing, and it was so much more life-changing than I expected. I kept telling my husband after the birth, "Man! I wish I would have decided to become a doula rather than a flutist. I wish I would have known I would feel this way ten years ago when I was deciding what to be when I grew up." I thought it was too late to become a doula, but my husband is a wonderful and encouraging dear. He reminded me that it was never too late! In all of my excitement and research, I wonder if I am beginning to offend people. Birth seems to be a very touchy subject at times, and it is not my intent to offend. I am just so excited and love sharing my new discoveries. Especially if they seem-to me-to be inspiring, uplifting or just plain neat!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Misty Eyed

As I continue this journey to try to prayerfully, emotionally and intellectually decide if this is something that I truly want to do, and I found myself becoming misty eyed while continuing to read The Birth Partner. Why do I have such a reaction when I read, learn and ponder the miracle that is birth? I love learning about this!

The quote of the day is, "The doula does not make decisions for the two of you, or project her personal preferences on you, but she helps you get the information you need to make good decisions. Her goal is to help the mother have a satisfying birth as she defines it. (emphasis mine)" (Simkin 9)

I had a friend refer to my birth experience as a "dream birth." Yes it WAS a dream birth! I could not have asked for a better experience. However, I think she may say that because my attitude and perception of my experience allows her to make that assumption. Would she say the same thing if I would have said, "I do NOT want to go through that again. It was terrible and the most painful thing I've ever experienced in my life." Even if events unfolded in the exact same way, I think that my labor would no longer have been considered a "dream labor" if I hated the experience.

I believe the number one reason I want to become a doula is the quote above. I wish every woman could have a satisfying birth! No matter if the birth is unmedicated in the woods somewhere or a planned c-section, I want women to leave birth happy and satisfied with the experience and ready to face the new challenges of motherhood. In my opinion, birth is something like an initiation into motherhood. Birth takes the mother on a "quick" journey of many of the joys and struggles mothers face: anticipation, wonder, joy, amazement, doubt, discomfort, and accomplishment just to name a few! All are experienced in birth!

I never knew how much giving birth would change my life! I never would have guessed I would want to share this with others. I am so thankful that I had such a wonderful journey with my pregnancy and birth, and it fills me with joy to think back on sharing this experience with my darling baby girl! I love birth! I love being a mom! And I hope I can share this with others one day!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Do I really want to do this?

"How a woman gives birth matters-to her baby, her family (including her relationship with her partner), and to her self-confidence and self-esteem as a woman and a mother."

-Penny Simkin in The Birth Partner

I left my birth feeling excited, high, empowered and ready for motherhood. I had such an amazing experience and left WISHING I would have chosen to be a doula as my career of choice. So how does the saying go? It's never too late!

To become DONA Certified, it is suggested that you complete the required reading before pursuing any other steps toward certification to see if this is something you really and truly want to do. I purchased The Birth Partner while I was pregnant for Robbie to look through, and I read it to prepare my mind to cope with labor. I will read this book from cover to cover from the doula's perspective rather than the pregnant woman's perspective at this time. I am excited to record my reflections and discoveries! This will be one crazy journey but one I am eager to experience!