This is National Empowered Birth Week. Particularly today, on Labor Day (get it? labor day?), birth professionals are focusing on medical interventions in childbirth.
Medical interventions in childbirth can save lives. They can save the mother, they can save the child, they can save both.
But, sometimes, medical interventions are used, only because doulas are not used. Only because that intervention may be the go-to for the doctor. Only because it may seem easier for the nurse to suggest an intervention than to explain (at length) what other, non-medical options the mother may have. Only because the mother wasn’t exposed to learning these options prior to birth. Only because the mother never knew the extent of her responsibility, or her privilege, to participate in her labor – because nobody ever told her.
Today, as you drive past your local hospital, you may see people standing, maybe wearing blue (or the logo below), wanting to show that an empowered birth is a birth in which a mother knows all of her options – including having a doula – and including having the privilege to participate in her labor.
Having a professional doula involved in your birth choices or during your birth helps facilitate dialogue with medical providers, helps to discern what medical options are recommended for life saving care and which are suggested simply as the regular go-to of the provider.
Having a professional doula also helps to prepare you for those medical interventions that indeed are necessary, by providing comfort as you experience any of their side effects: chills, nausea, immobility. By coming alongside you to remind you that these strange sensations are normal parts of your unique labor, they speak comfort and validation to the mother: you are safe – you are not alone.
The hospital that my local birth professionals are standing by today, sparking the curiosity of passersby, provoking the general public to understand the value of doulas and paving the way to equipping more mothers to embrace the privilege to participate in their labors…
…is the same hospital that told me that my miscarried baby was “debris”. The same place where I was told to “expect a period”. Where I was told not to worry about it, because I “probably already flushed ‘it’”.
An empowered miscarriage – an empowered birth of my miscarried baby – an empowered birth of my first trimester baby – I was not welcomed to have. I was not invited to have. I was not expected to have.
I gave birth to my miscarried baby at home. An “unassisted birth,” there were no medical attendants present. This is not the best or safest birth method for every mother experiencing a miscarriage, and I certainly do not convey the message that this is the only way to give birth to a miscarried baby.
Even the most highly medicalized birth of a baby – in any trimester – is still birth, and there is still room to speak love, assurance, and respect to that mother, letting her know that she is safe, that she is not alone.
I could have needed more medical intervention. I understood entirely that a D&C might have been needed, and my desire was very much to know how to turn a “remove dead tissue procedure” into “the medically assisted birth of my beloved, miscarried baby.”
This is what our doulas (and our printable birth plans) are all about – providing support to families experiencing birth in any trimester. If you give birth to a miscarried, stillborn, or subsequent baby, doulas from every US state and all over the world are ready to provide support to you.
What’s more, we also provide a training. Are you interested in learning how to come alongside mothers giving birth in any trimester? Consider taking our SBD doula training.
Stillbirthday – a place to equip you and support you in having an empowered miscarriage. An empowered birth – in any trimester.