Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why I don't volunteer my doula services to my friends

Have you heard of Donna over at Banned From Baby Showers? She's banned from baby showers? Really?

Well, no, not really banned, but she has stopped attending baby showers. You can read her reasons why here.

I have only been invited to one baby shower since becoming a doula. I didn't go.

I had a good reason for not going, and it's not because I am afraid it would make me cringe to hear  women laughing with each other about inductions, episiotomies and c-sections. I live five hours away from this friend, and I figured the best gift I could give her was to be her doula. Though that turned out to be a huge gift and honor for me probably more than her.

It is no secret that I am working on my doula certification. My friend that I was telling you about just now revealed to me that I have the reputation of being "birth crazy," among some of my friends in my home town. She defended me, although the term they were probably looking for was "birth junkie." Why yes! I have become a birth junkie and I love it. When she explained that they only meant that I really love birth, I took the name "birth crazy" as a huge compliment. Kinda like if someone called me crunchy or a hippie behind my back. I'd love that. It'd be even better if they said it to my face. And I think if they meant it as an insult I'd be in heaven! I'd be so happy to be insulted that way. Seriously.

So I am a birth junkie. Everyone knows it. It is also no secret that I had my first and only baby so far in the hospital with a midwife without drugs. On purpose.

I haven't really had to shout this information from the rooftops, but word travels. I love natural childbirth. I had the most natural childbirth I could have possibly had at that time. Next time, I want to do things a little differently. Our goal is to have our baby at a birth center when we get pregnant with baby number 2. It's no secret that I'd really prefer to have a home birth, but for my husband's sanity, I can handle having a birth center birth. And you know what else? I don't think people who choose to have unassisted births crazy or insane. I think that's wonderful and I could talk to anyone who has had one all day about it. It's not the choice my husband and I would make, but I don't condemn anyone for making that choice. I suppose my birth crazy friends will now call me a birth nut. I love it!

I do have strong opinions about birth. I believe any healthy woman can have her baby naturally. I have opinions about what constitutes a natural birth. I have opinions about inductions, epidurals, c-sections, Pitocin, midwives, OBs, hospitals, breastfeeding, etc. I feel that anyone who truly wants to know my opinion about certain topics will ask me. Or at least read my blog. I do not offer these opinions to my friends because not all of them agree with my opinions. Most of them don't, and I don't want to alienate anyone or cause any awkward or uncomfortable feelings. Birth is so deeply personal and it's hard not to take things personally when speaking about something as sensitive and life-changing as birth. I am a gentle and sensitive soul, so I have never been one to force my opinions on anyone else. However, my passion for birth in the past two years or so has made me bold. And maybe a tad offensive without meaning to be.

I would love to attend any of my friend's births if they want to have me as their doula. I would be honored to be there and I would do my very best to help them achieve the birth that they hope for in whatever capacity they want me to. But my dear friends need to approach me about it. I do not chase after clients, so when it comes to this, if one of my friends wants me to be their doula, they must seek me out just like any other client. They must approach me. So instead of saying, "Congratulations! You know I am here for you if you want or need a doula," after my friends announce their pregnancies, I simply reply, "Congratulations!" And I leave it at that.

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