Resting in the hospital bed. September 4th, 2013.
I have been researching childbirth in America for two years now. I studied this issue on my own, and I was inspired to be a birth doula while I was working as a captioning assistant. I would caption phone calls for the deaf and hard of hearing, and between client calls I read books and wrote in my journal. I’m happy to say that I am finally pursuing my options in becoming a doula!
I must mention that before I started studying childbirth, I was terrified of it. I have always known that I wanted children, but the idea of giving birth frightened me so much that I contemplated not having children at all. I started reading books and watching documentaries that promoted unmedicated birth, and birth outside the hospital, and I immediately became calmer because those resources did not regard childbirth as a scary, unnatural, medical process.
When I became pregnant with Audrey, I made the decision to deliver her medication-free. If you read my earlier blog post, you’ll learn that my plans were changed, but in the end I was surprisingly satisfied with my decision to have an epidural. For me, and for many women I know, the idea of having an unmedicated childbirth was the goal, but it didn't work out that way. After reflecting on my experience I now realize what factors contributed to that outcome. My birth experience reaffirmed what I value the most and what I want to advocate for.
Me (Sam) and my henna baby belly!
As women, we need to educate ourselves and stand strong in the decisions we make about our bodies and health. If we want something, we need to be assertive. Major financial burden and unnecessary interventions can be reduced if we stay informed, challenge when we’re wronged, and leave our comfort zone when issues arise. Our bodies were made to give birth, but sometimes emergency situations do arise, and therefore hospitals and modern medicine play an important part. However, we can combat the way our society views birth by becoming informed and taking ownership of our unique spiritual experience.
One of the best things we can do is educate ourselves and take ownership of our labor and birth. We need to communicate with each other about the birthing process, and motherhood, as women used to do. We should compare and share resources while refraining from taking advice at face-value. We must continue trusting our instincts--we have them for a reason! When we are unsure about something, we should question our health care professionals, and we should be comfortable enough with our doctor or midwife to express our deepest concerns.
Many times in our country, and in others, women are taken advantage of during childbirth. This is a huge women’s rights issue, and is often overlooked. I am not a midwife or medical professional, yet, but I am a mom who took ownership of my pregnancy and childbirth, which is a process I believe to be a natural part of life.
Where Do I Go From Here?
Audrey, December 21st, 2013
After a few years of reflection, I found that women’s rights, birth, and natural motherhood interest me more than anything else. I started acting upon this by doing more research and searching for a reputable doula training program. I even spoke to a career coach, and I made a timeline of the goals I have. When I became pregnant with Audrey, I decided to spend those months enjoying my pregnancy and continue reflecting. I think that was a great decision, and I’m ready to move forward now.
Audrey is a few months old, and we have a daily routine and established breastfeeding. I have the energy to start my training program and take the next steps to fulfill my career and personal goals. I’m thankful to be in the position I am in right now, and I’m glad that my experiences and formal education have helped me get to this point. I have all the tools I need to be successful. I have a loving family, work ethic, determination, and faith in women’s abilities to give birth.