A Mothers perspective by Roxanne
Before I ever became pregnant, we had always wanted children. I love to read and began reading out of interest some beautiful books on pregnancy and birth, especially Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper. Sometimes I'd look at pregnant women and feel so envious, wanting it to be me. Yet I never seemed to get around to actually planning for a child. Nature decided otherwise. I found myself pregnant at just 4 weeks. The symptoms were too obvious too ignore even at such an early stage, so I did the test. We were over the moon.
The stories I had read about labour and birth being a very wonderful experience, instinctive and natural, I wanted this experience. I was against the medicalisation of childbirth and longer for a natural, empowering experience. I wanted also for my husband, Tom to enjoy the experience of witnessing his child come into the world. I wanted for him to witness the wonder and euphoria of his baby being born without him being trapped by guilt that his beloved wife was suffering and in terrible pain. I wanted him to be able to relax and feel able to be involved as much or as little as he felt comfortable with.
I wanted a natural delivery, no mind altering drugs, no interference, no telling me what to do. I wanted to let Mother Nature show and guide me. But could I do it alone? Could I feel confident that I was capable of doing something so incredible especially when I had never done it before? The questions and doubts needed addressing. I knew what I wanted, I just needed to feel I could really achieve it. I continued my reading, educating myself as much as possible. That's when I began reading about Doulas.
Doulas are women who have been there, given birth at least once, they are ready to provide emotional support to a woman in labour. The idea of having a stranger with you in delivery? What was your closest friend to you before you ever met them? Before you met and got talking and got to know each other? Did you know them? Did they know you? Did you know each other's preferences and deepest secrets before you had ever even met? Why did you become friends in the first place? Common interest? Ability to share emotional aspects? Ability to actually get along together and feel comfortable in each others company? You can expect no less from a Doula. Although a Doula is not a friend, they offer companionship, compatibility, impartialness, commonality and support.
This was what I felt I needed to get through this first time experience of labour and birth. I wanted someone who could be impartial, keep their head if things were crazy and help me keep mine too. Someone who would listen to me when I felt I needed to talk and respect my wishes without question or judgement. I wanted someone who would help me assert my wishes when necessary. I did not honestly feel that it was fair to lay such a demanding job on my husband and expect him to be able to keep his head, perform all of the above and also feel that he could relax and enjoy the experience himself. So a Doula was my option.
When searching, I was contacted by a very experienced Doula. She had many years experience. So much in fact, that her introduction to me was to tell me all about herself with hardly pausing for breath. I could hardly get a word in edgeways. When I did, she hardly listened. Well, I sacked that off, knowing immediately that I could never get on with such a person. Then I got another call. She told me her name was Selina and we chatted. She told me she loved horses (we have 3 arabians) and she breeds Bengal cats (we breed Ragdolls). We chatted easily about so many things. Each time I needed to talk, Selina instantly stopped speaking and listened intently. She appeared very intuitive. I knew we would get along.
Before I ever went into labour, Selina visited us at home and answered any questions that we could ask. Tom had the opportunity to get a load of questions off his mind. I noticed he became more relaxed and confident about the birth. We all felt at ease in each others company. By the time my baby was due, I felt safe and confident around Selina and could openly discuss anything with her. She always respected my feelings. When my labour began, I was a huge relief to have Selina as the extra support . I had a natural delivery, despite earlier pre-eclampsia fears and threats of induction, and in spite of raised blood pressure. I had a drug free labour and birth and had no interventions. I completely enjoyed the power, wonder and euphoria of giving birth to my son and doubt that I could have enjoyed to the same extent without the support and encouragement of Tom and Selina.