With so many people I know having babies, my eager-to-help self decided to educate myself on childbirth in an effort to better support others. Since I have had zero previous exposure, I reasoned that my greenness would best allow me to soak everything in, much like a thirsty sponge.
Recently, I completed a birth doula training course. Now for those of you who are not familiar, a doula means "caregiver" in Greek. So the primary job of a doula is to provide support and attendance to expecting moms within the last month or so of her pregnancy and throughout the stages of labor. She has at her deposal the many techniques to assuage discomfort and tension, and the education to bring about options in childbirth, empowering moms to experience the miracle of birth, rather than the pains of labor.
Our DONA-certified educator, Stacey Scarborough, was highly qualified to teach and led by example, with over 20+ years of experience under her belt. She refers to herself as the "perky doula" for her fantastic ability to help lift and move people with her passion, care, kindness, wisdom, and commitment, delivering a positive experience no matter whether she is in the birthing room or the classroom. She gave us her all with more than just her plethora of knowledge, but her deeper expression of serving women through one of the most physically, emotionally, and mentally demanding exertions in their lives.
Throughout the full three days of training, all 18+ of us ladies shared, bonded, listened, practiced, laughed, even cried, but mostly we came together in a sisterhood of sorts, yielding to our heart's desire to empower and serve women. I came to realize that through education and preparation a woman can readily connect to her body's natural ability to give birth. It opened my eyes to what can be the ease and beauty of birth vs. buying into the perceived preconceptions and tumultuous fears present in Western society around this gift of life.
My education reminded me and taught me once a woman connects to her built-in intuition and natural abilities, a baby can be introduced into this world often without further need for intervention beyond the basic preparation to work harmoniously with her body and her baby. This knowledge stemming from the wisdom of the ages, however simple, was profoundly key in delivering a rewarding and completely awe-inspiring birth.
According to Stacey Scarborough, "As a childbirth and lactation educator, I feel that education and support can provide a more empowering birth and breastfeeding experience. Having support before, during and after the birth leads to happier babies and parents, with more positive birth memories as well."
The beauty of this education and what it ultimately provides can best be captured in one word: choices. When women get educated, they can decide what kind of birth they want and how they want to experience it, exercising our most fundamental human desire, our right to choose.
Upon finishing class, I came to realize that having a doula was like having a loving and knowledgeable friend by your side, while not overshadowing the partner nor family, but rather enhancing the entire experience altogether. Now who couldn't use that?!