My very first doula training was waaaay back before most people knew about doulas. The preconceived idea that doulas were only for unmedicated, home births was still the norm. (And there was a reason that idea existed! That group of birthers was the target market for most of the doulas I knew.)
I remember, distinctly, walking into the Vanderbilt classroom (I had to drive to Nashville as there were no local trainings here.) and instantly feeling out of place.
That feeling of being “out of place” continued throughout the entire training.
At one point, we were asked to sculpt our “perfect birth” out of clay. I held the clay in my hands and tried to keep tears from flowing freely down my face.
Important rewind here- I took my first doula training in the middle of our infertility and loss journey. Not only did my previous c/s birth and hospital VBAC look like what those around me were sculpting, but I was also unsure if we would ever even have another live birth.
So while I was sculpting some fictitious future birth, I was questioning my entire decision to enter into this career. Internally struggling with shame. Ashamed of my previous birth choices, ashamed of my infertility. Unable to separate myself, my dreams for our family, and my career, from the clay in my hands.
That activity with the clay? I think the intent was ok. I think the original hope was that we would sculpt our own desires and that those would all look different.
It was very clear during my time there, though, that unmedicated births= good and medicated births = bad. While that training gave me a jumping point in my career, (and I’m forever grateful) what it lacked was an area for grey. An area for real life.
That grey is important.
It’s where medically necessary inductions live. It’s where elective cesarean births live. It’s where PPROM lives. It’s where epidurals and nitrous lives.
And it’s also where home births live. And where unmedicated births live.
It’s where client choice lives.
That space is where we approach each birth and each client as the unique situation/family they are.
I think we’ve come a long way as doulas overall in supporting all births. But, at Rocket City Doulas, we pride ourselves in supporting clients in whatever THEY want. We don’t sculpt the clay for you. We hand you the clay, talk through what you want to do with the clay, and support you as you walk through your birth own experience.
We support you and your choices.
Have you ever felt out of place with your plans for birth or parenting? Share with us in the comments!