The journey towards becoming a childbirth educator hasn’t necessarily been a straight path. Today I want to dive a little deeper into that journey for you.
I am an RN and was trained medically in 2011. I worked at numerous hospitals, mostly in cardiac/ICU type care. While I enjoyed my job I began to realize that the reason I went into medicine was to work with people. In the hospital you don’t really get to know people, you care for them a day or two and then they are gone. After I had my first (I’ll share that birth story soon); I had a doula during his birth. I realized, this is what I want to do. I’ve always been incredibly interested and love birth and the whole process. This would allow me to stay engaged in the birth world while developing relationships with families and clients through the birthing process. I quickly got my DONA certification and was off supporting families through many different kinds of births. Cesarean birth, VBAC, Natural Birth, Epidural Birth, Birth with family, Birth with no family, homebirth, Birth Center- all different kinds.
Every birth I witnessed was a powerful story and further confirmed that THIS is what I was meant to do. I still cry at every birth, and I still weep at birth videos I show in class. To be invited into that space with a family is one of the most honoring requests there is. To be trusted, to support, and encourage through the process is an absolute honor. I feel like I should be the ones thanking the families for allowing me in, instead they thanked me for my support. What an honor, truly.
Throughout this journey of being a doula I realized that I was spending a lot of my time teaching. While I do love teaching, it is hard to put the necessary time into one or two prenatal appointments (at 36 or 37 weeks) to cover all of the topics that are important for birth. Many of my clients desired a natural birth, and in the hospital especially, that requires a lot of planning and preparation. I didn’t realize how much so, until I found myself in certain situation that in my opinion, could have been avoided. I felt like I had somehow failed on my end when things didn’t go “as planned.” Let’s face it, birth doesn’t go as planned a lot of the time, and that’s ok. We need to prepare for what to do when it doesn’t. However, what about the things we can prevent by putting in place some quality mechanisms to assure certain “avoidable” things don’t happen. This is where my passion for education began. My mission became: Equip families to make informed decisions, no matter when or how they choose to birth.
I started thinking about what it would be like to get to know families when they weren’t so far along in their pregnancy, when they could make big decisions sooner. Decisions like; should I switch care providers, should I hire a doula, does my provider’s induction calendar match my birth desires, etc. By having more time to dive deep into these questions we can build a strong base, a great foundation, to work towards those birth goals. We can even spend time talking about what happens if the birth doesn’t go as planned. This preparation is key. People feel more positively about experiences when they were in control of the situation. Taking the time for mom and dad to both be on the same page is vital. No matter what type of birth is being planned, every birth deserves planning.
Birth is one of the most monumental events in our life. We will never forget a birth (no matter how it goes), birth affects our emotional health, bonding with our children, postpartum mood disorders, and so much more. Being able to use informed decisions to guide our birthing journey puts the power back in our hands, instead of having it taken away from us.
You can have an amazing birth, no matter what your birth goals are. They require preparation. Are you prepared? Sign up for Birth Boot Camp to get ready!