Many partners feel uncertain about how to help, feeling that if they can’t take the pain away, there’s nothing they can do to help. So doulas can help give direction as to HOW to emotionally support the person in labor, since labor itself is often intensely emotionally trying.
There is no easy birth. A planned VBAC- with babies that come early and can’t tolerate labor; a VBAC with doubts and doubts and doubts; a planned C-section hoping to feel heard, respected and understood. As a doula, I’m helping people through the mental struggles of birth- the pain, the decisions, the doubts, the guilt people put on themselves. When I can do well, I help people feel positive about their birth.
Making change at the level needed to affect the unconscionable health disparities experienced by women of color is a truly significant challenge. If one is not reading about and hearing this information or interacting in a direct way on a regular basis, it can be put out of mind. That doesn’t mean people stopped dying, it just means we stopped noticing. Be willing to keep learning about and talking about uncomfortable topics.
The early months of having a new baby (or babies) at home are often isolating and monotonous, yet family, friends and others around the new parents expect them to exude only joy and happiness about having a new baby. Groups for new parents can help normalize this juxtaposition of feelings and experiences and create a community around this new role.