Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An Elegant Soiree

I just enjoyed a lovely meeting with the MotherWit crew and our clients. We got to provide information for couples wondering about doula support. We connected with pregnant clients who wanted to meet our backups, and to meet up with other parents-to-be. A couple of postpartum couples and their babies came too, so the pregnant couples had the opportunity to hear about how great it was for the new parents to have a doula present for their births. The dads seemed to be especially touched by our care. It made me really happy to know they felt nurtured throughout labour as well.

It makes me feel content to see a community being built. Feeling isolated when so many incredible transitions occur throughout the childbearing year is something I want to help new moms and dads avoid. Nobody should fall through the cracks with their need to share and learn unmet.

As an experienced doula, I charge on the higher end of the scale. Some of the less experienced though wonderful doulas who work with me charge less. I want us to remember, though, the women who may not have access to doula care at all. Even though it is widely known doulas help reduce the rate of interventions, thus lessening the burden on our overwhelmed healthcare system, it is a service that is a luxury to most.

We asked tonight, in the spirit of the holiday, for donations to help fund doula care for women without the means to afford it. Think about the women who come from a background of terrible abuse, and need the safety of protection. Think about victims of rape coming from war torn countries. Think about refugees, with nobody they know to help them in a culture that is unfamiliar. Think about incarcerated women, or women who have been widowed or abandonned with no financial means. Compassionate care is crucial for these women as they journey into motherhood, and it should not be a luxury only for those who can afford it. We were blessed to receive generous monetary donations, and gifts of newborn diapers, and will pass them on to Montreal Birth Companions, who provide doula care for these women of need. Every pregnant woman needs support, every baby needs a mother who is treated with respect and given physical and emotional nourishment. Doulas are in the best position to provide this support when there is no family or other resources available. If you've been thinking about helping out someone less fortunate than you this holiday season, make a donation to a volunteer doula service organization in your area.

It truly does take a villiage to raise a child. Building community, finding support, supporting others...this is the best way to get your needs met as a parent, and to provide a strong foundation for your family. A mom with her 7 week old baby asked me if it was okay if she breastfed in front of the group, and of course I told her not only was it okay, it was important! As she happily breastfeeds her child, she sets that tone for others to do to the same. The more people do that, the more healing this brings to our culture of what Ina May Gaskin brilliantly calls Nipplephobia. Your community gives you strength.

So I leave you with some thoughts about reaching out this holiday, asking for or providing some help for your neighbour or a friend. Don't worry if you've lived next to them for years and have not spoken much. Even a simple gesture can be very meaningful. My beautiful midwife for my third child had words of wisdom I have always remembered. She said, "be generous with each other...open your hearts." Words to live by.