Consider, for a moment, our birthing history as human beings, during a more collectivistic time when mommas and aunties and grandmothers, as well as grandfathers and uncles, shared the wisdom of birth and welcoming new life through the powerful circuitry of lineage and community. Now look to our current more individualistic and often medicalized landscape wherein the immediate family unit is prized as the core of everything that is love and devotion. Neither of these realities are more right or true than the other nor do they have to be as divergent as we like to think of them, but, instead, they CAN complement one another in ways that serve the exquisitely human experience that is birth and the time surrounding. The Doula serves to help families find and engage the elements of the ancient communal support, as well as the modern birthing realities, that will best empower them preterm through postpartum.
One variable that, most certainly, transends the time line of human history and is deeply embedded in human nature, is judgement, which can often be a precursor to shame and blame. Shame and blame are pervasive and poisonous particularly during such tender and vulnerable times as birth. It takes active work to counteract the effects of such emotional and physical attack. The doula is your champion for the version of empowerment wherein you can effectively combat the shame cycle that soaks the birth experience for so many mothers and partners alike.
The doula reminds you of your essential worth as a momma and family, absent context, credentials, family associations, and the layers of daily human life and society that tend to inform our ‘value.’ In the core of us is worth, the kind of worth that brings us back to one another and our essential humanity, the kind of worth reflected in our simple daily participation in life and more specifically birth, that that makes us worthy of continued support throughout the birthing experience and beyond.
The doula doesn’t, for an iota of an instant, question your worth as mother, as woman, as father, as family. She is there to hold that knowing for you when you’re completely focused on knowing it for your new son or daughter.
The doula isn’t the whole village, but she, instead, fills a particular role so that everyone else in the village can focus on embracing you and your sweet, new village member.