DONA Trained, Student Midwife, Monitrice
You know that warm feeling you get when something was just absolutely amazing and it cut straight to your innermost wellbeing? And how that feeling resonates within you for some time, not just fading like a basic happy moment? I’ve seen that moment many times on the faces of my clients. This is how I became a Doula, I discovered the bliss and “Afterglow” of supporting mothers. For a word that is typically used to described the glow of post-orgasm, it sums up a good birth experience pretty well. After all, many compare birth to being an orgasmic experience anyway.
I don’t want to go into full birth story mode, but I want to share with you some of the experiences I have had personally that have brought me to the level of compassion, understanding, and comfort that Afterglow brings to the table.
At the tender age of 19, I had my first child. I thought that since birth was natural, there wasn’t anything to prepare for. My body would take labor and own it. Boy, was I ever wrong. I left the birth somewhat content. I had a healthy baby, and It didn’t end in a C-section. What I did have was opposite of a natural birth I anticipated. Unnecessary induction at 40 weeks. I was already at 6cm so I figured why not. Pitocin, Demerol, more Pitocin, Epidural. And along with that came a baby that wouldn’t latch. Nobody understood my disappointment. I set out to improve birth because I knew I could do better than that. For myself, and for others.
Now I was a trained doula, birth really was my oyster now. I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t want, and I found the best midwife my county had to offer to help me achieve that. Again, at 40 weeks I consented to my water being broken. I was at 6cm again, and as you typically hear, I was D-O-N-E. I got my wishes for no Pitocin, so we waited to see what would happen. It was only 4 hours until my little man was born, but I still wasn’t happy with my experience. I knew it could be better. I got my natural birth. I got a successful latch. I also got postpartum depression.
After baby #2, I found myself finally surrounded by the right support. An assortment of activists and the many new circles of friends it brought led me to even more learning. I craved this knowledge 5 years ago. Why didn’t people talk about these things? I found myself in a position of power. I knew my body and what it was capable of. I knew what I wanted. I also had sense enough to know when to say when, but thankfully I didn’t have to. My daughter was born at home, in the presence of a doula and my husband and kids. I ate my placenta. Breastfeeding was a cake walk. This baby, she brought me the Afterglow.
This brings us to birth #4. It was nearly a repeat of #3. He was born in the middle of the night, with no one to witness but an assortment of curious pets. This birth though, as perfect as it was, was really a lesson. This birth showed me that although homebirth was for me, that I still needed support. I still need someone to comfort me.
The value of these stories is not in the outcome, but in the experience gained from them. I have faced many of the challenges that today’s pregnant woman faces. I have been in those shoes. My job- as your doula, is not to enforce my beliefs on you. My job is to help you achieve YOUR goals. I want to see that Afterglow when I leave your side, because that is our mission.
I will support you through your birth.
I will provide you all the evidence based information I have, and let you decide what works best for you and your baby.
I will be your constant support, your source of information, your calm place.
I will be your doula.
You, my friend, will be the mother.