One of the roles of a doula is education.
Most people would have you believe that any bit of knowledge is power. This is true to an extent.
The problem we face is that knowledge needs to be in context, sometimes it needs to be explained relative to one persons particular situation, and not just be fear based.
‘What is the best hospital to have a VBAC?’
is a perfect example.
There is no definitive answer that is correct (for every single birthing woman, at every birth).
So many people will put their opinion in the hat as to the best place to give birth,
XYZ X Hospital is the best for VBAC
Dr Oz is the best/only good VBAC Doctor in Perth
But is that really the best venue, and the best caregiver for every single birthing mother? It cannot be. Birth is not a mathematical equation.
Caregiver A + Caregiver B + Venue C does not equal Better Birth.
How often are women told horrible stories about their local hospital…
I gave birth at XYZ Hospital last year and it was awful I was in terrible pain and….
Dr Oz was terrible…etc etc etc
which does only one thing - it puts fear and doubt in their mind and for many women their local hospital is their only option. So instead of empowering our fellow Mothers we are making them scared of giving birth.
Some women have unresolved trauma from their birth, and instead of seeking help for the issue, they spend their time on social media ‘warning’ others to stay away from that caregiver or that hospital.
The truth is that for a woman to have a physiological birth - she needs to feel safe. She needs to feel trust in her support team. She needs to understand the physiology of birth and what is ‘normal’. She needs coping skills and a toolkit or framework for sound decision-making.
Because in birth we can rarely plan the actual outcome.
We know that certain things such as midwifery-led care (CMP and MGP!) and the presence of a doula (why hello there!) increase birth satisfaction rates.
But the reality is that worry, stress and fear create adrenaline and that adrenaline inhibits oxytocin release (oxytocin is one of the key hormones of physiological birth).
So the next time you want to offer ‘a little piece of advice’ to an expectant mother on social media - I’d love you to think twice and ask yourself:
Is it true?
Can you absolutely know that it is true?
Is it true every time and for every single person?
If not then maybe reframe your response to find out what they are looking for, before you mentally rehearse your answer.
The old adage applies here too:
If you don’t have anything nice to say - don’t say it at all :)
If you would like to know more about how a doula can help you work through your birth choices and increase your birth satisfaction, you can book a free chat with me here>