A little more than ten years ago I birthed a son and became a mother. In the eight years that followed, I would birth six children. No twins. Six births- all unique, individual, and beautiful in their experiences. Yes, my sanity is intact. Yes, we do know what causes it (that's such a lame inquiry, by the way, and totally unoriginal). And no, it's not a competition- although what fun that would be!
Name it and it has probably been a component of one of my labors/births:
My labors have been induced, augmented, and have begun spontaneously.
I have labored with and without pitocin.
I have both received and declined an epidural.
I have been group B strep positive as well as negative.
I have labored both with an IV and without an IV.
One of my children was birthed with the assistance of a vacuum.
I endured a third degree episiotomy (thanks to said vacuum).
I have birthed without so much as a single tear.
My fourth birth was 3 hours.
My sixth birth was 27 hours.
At my first birth, I approved all newborn procedures. At my sixth, I declined nearly every one.
You get it, right?
As a doula, my job and greatest desire is to support your wishes for your birth. My birth experiences were just that- mine. Each one played a role in making me the woman that I am today. My wishes for my first birth looked much different than the wishes that I had for my sixth birth. What I believe makes a birth beautiful will likely look much different than the women and families that I serve.
I often tell expectant families that my births have made me a better doula. Despite one's best laid plans, labor can often take an unexpected turn. When an intervention becomes necessary or perhaps a mama makes an informed choice that is different than how she may have originally hoped events would have transpired, it is valuable for me, as her source of support, information, and advocacy, to come from a place where I can truly say, "I understand." Is a place of empathy necessary for a doula to serve a family well? Of course not. Many wonderful doulas are not yet mothers themselves. I speak merely of my own gratitude towards the experiences that have made me the doula that I am today.
The Birth Haven doulas, as a whole, are no different. As our website states:
"We support any and every type of birth: unmedicated, medicated, planned Cesarean section, twins, home, and hospital. No matter what you choose, The Birth Haven will fully support your decisions, your preferences, and your birth."
Mandy King is a wife to David and mother to six amazing children. She adores working as a birth and postpartum doula. You can often find her browsing the aisles of Trader Joe's or loving on her family. To find out more about Mandy click here.