Monday, October 19, 2009

Docs Banning Doulas & Birth Plans... What's Next?

When I saw this I just hated to see that this is happening. This arrived on my Facebook page the same day as a notice about a woman who received a letter from her OB giving her HIS birth plan for HER birth. It was very similar in tone. When I first became a doula fifteen years ago, it was sometimes awkward to try and do your job around the OBs and hospital staff. Doulas were a new concept then for most hospitals, and none of us really knew where we stood.

As the years have gone by, doulas made their own niche, serving women who needed extra support. I never did understand the whole advocacy thing... if we spoke up, we ran the risk of being kicked out and then our client would be without the support they paid for.

I am no longer a doula. As much as I loved helping families welcome their new babies, it wasn't feasible to be gone at any hour on short notice with my own growing family. Once I had my homebirths, the hospital environment was very difficult for me to endure. I know that women in the hospitals need the help of doulas more than ever... and I admire those women who can see women being forced into the situations the sign above insinuates and still do their best for their clients. It takes a lot of grit and determination.

Birth plans have always been ignored... if you had an OB who not only read your birth plan but tried to abide by it... you are one lucky woman! While we all diligently wrote out our birth plans, fully believing they would be honored, one by one we have all become cynical as our plans were derailed, one by one.

We have fought long and hard to bring the ability for women to choose their birth experience and to bring their babies gently into the world if they so choose. Now the docs are fighting back by banning things like opting not to have an episiotomy or to have another support person in the room. Some hospitals are taking the chance with the CDC's recommendation of as few people as possible in the maternity ward during this H1N1 flu panic to ban doulas as well.

We need to step up and keep fighting. They are eroding our choices. No VBACs, no doulas, no birth plans. I say we keep fighting to have the births we want without interference. Why should we care about their time schedule? Babies come when they are ready and take as long as they need during labor. We owe it to ourselves, our babies and our daughters who will be birthing some day to make birth all it can be... as Harriette Hartigan so elegantly put it, "Birth is as Safe as Life Gets."


Sheridan said...

Wow, that is really disturbing. I certainly wouldn't have my baby with that group!

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Toni said...

Thank you, Lucy! Glad to have you come by!

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