Sunday, 16 September 2012

As a Doula...

Last week I received confirmation that I had passed my Anatomy and Physiology Diploma with an A Grade :)

This means my place at Manchester University to study Midwifery has been confirmed - my dreams are coming true.

I've already started looking at one of my other courses - Holistic Pain Management.

I thirst for knowledge, and I want to help people, help women, help mothers. The Anatomy and Physiology course secured my Midwifery place and Holistic Pain Management will allow me to help mothers through their labour who desire alternatives to conventional drugs. It will help me as a Doula when that's the only optional available to me. Doulas do not provide medical advice or drugs. We provide emotional, physical and practical support. My knowledge of alternative pain relief will help me do that.

If I manage to complete this course before University, I also hope to start my Stress Management course. Modern day life has become so intense. People do not realise the effect of our body's hormone response - the "fight or flight" response of cortisol when there's no real threat. In Paleo times our body responded to the need to flee from a saber-tooth tiger - stimulating the release of glucose into your blood to fuel your muscles for running. Now, although your boss may be scary, it's unlikely you need to physically run from him/her, but your body still has the same response, and the cascade of hormone responses to long-term stress can be harmful. Especially to a mother-to-be.

I have a thirst to learn, and I'm hoping this extra knowledge will enable me to stand out to clients and potential employers. But this isn't just about me. I want to be able to provide women with the care they deserve. Pregnancy is an amazing journey of growing, loving, learning and whilst I believe it is a woman's responsibility to learn about her body, but I also think that information should be easily accessible, and unbiased.

There's no need for women to be pushed to have pain relief just because it's 'normal'. There's no need to scare a woman into having a hospital birth just because the home birth she desires is a minority decision. There's no need to tell a woman she must be induced at 41 weeks because you believe she's overdue when you haven't paid attention to her as an individual, HER body, HER cycles, what's normal and right for HER. Lift your head from the books and look at the woman standing in front of you.

Equally, I will never push a woman to go through labour with no pain relief when it all gets too much for her. I will never encourage her to give birth in a place that doesn't feel safe and comfortable to her, and I will NEVER try and tell HER body when it's time for her to give birth...

"I am a Doula because I want to empower women to believe in themselves and their innate strength as women and as mothers. NOT so I can advocate natural childbirth. But believe me, if that's what she wants, I WILL be there for her."

My job as a Doula is to be there, for YOU. Support you, encourage you, help you find the information you need to enable you to make decisions about YOUR care and YOUR body.

It's my job, and it's my passion.

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