Doulas advocate for their clients without speaking for them. Often this takes some serious doula-ninja skills.
Why don’t we speak on behalf of our clients? Wouldn’t it help them have a better birth?
NO!! It’s disempowering.
A big problem with the medical model is that everyone thinks they know better than the labouring woman or new parents. Too many people essentially speak for them without even asking their opinion, without even knowing them.
The new parents who navigate a detour, speak for themselves, and get what they want; will be fueled to take on the challenges of parenting.
The other ones who aren’t able to get what they want but ask questions and understand their options, then make a choice, will also come out stronger than if someone else decides and speaks for them.
Rather than be another person speaking for our client, we must encourage them to speak for themselves.
We can ask questions, nudge them, remind them they have options, or in some circumstances take a harder edge such as kicking someone under the bed. OK I’ve only done that once, and it was worth it!! 😂
The partner found their voice and then so did the labouring woman, who successfully avoided that unnecessary episiotomy.
Had I said “No!”, nothing would have changed, the woman would have been cut, and both new parents would probably have beat themselves up for not saying anything.
Instead, they laugh about that moment and are so proud to have averted the episiotomy together.
It can be challenging for us care-givers to not shout, “That’s not what they want!!!!”
Doulas find more savvy ways of advocating for our clients. We must balance our clients’ wishes, the current set of circumstances, various personalities in the room, the overall vibe of the facility, our scope-of-practice, and our integrity.
It’s one of the hardest things about supporting clients through birth and postpartum.
But it sure feels good to be the person who helped them find their voice.