Is there a place for Doulas in Freebirth?

I think it's worth noting that every time I gave birth, I had the feeling that I'd dodged a bullet.

Victorious? Sure.

High on pure oxytocin-fueled joy and love, and so amazed and delighted at this new perfect being and what my body was just capable of? Absolutely!!

But also...blessed, sweet relief.

Relief that I'd gotten through "the system" relatively unscathed (That's not counting my traumatic 3rd birth..)

Thank Goddess it wasn't worse.

Baby is Earthside, we're both still conscious - phew! Every time, such raw relief.

I'm safe again, for now...until the next time I decide to have a child. {so went the illusion}

Only two of my babies were born in hospitals - and none with a doula by my side. Still, you never know where you'll end up.

Pregnancy is unpredictable, after all.

Scrambling to gain control of my bodily autonomy again, while also trying to protect this new tiny human from whatever the system wanted to impose...it's challenging.

So many no thank you's to the staff, as they wanted to carry out archaic, arbitrary protocol.

It's not their fault. They have boxes to tick, objectives to meet. I get it.

What do you mean, evidence-based? Sigh.

So many nod-and-smile sessions, as we waited to get the hell away from this artificial, poke-and-prod place that's forever seeking out hints of pathology.

Our last baby was born free, at home, with just us, his mama and daddy together, and it was the most peaceful, beautiful, and healing experience.

Beyond words. (Although I did write a lot of them for his birth story~!)

When I decided to become a doula back in 2009, I had an extremely hard time at first....because just setting foot in a hospital for any reason triggered panic and fear in me.

(It didn't occur to me at the time that maybe it wasn't normal to start hyperventilating in the hallway when I went to visit my friend in early labor!)

My last two babies were both born at home...but even 2, 3, 5 years later, it was hard to go into a labor and delivery ward.

The main thing that gave me strength to persevere with my doula career was the thought that maybe, just maybe, my presence as a doula could protect another woman from the hell of birth trauma, from abuse or indifference from her "care providers".

Ambitious and passionate? Yes I was.

Arrogant? Ahh, yep. A bit of that too.

I have come to recognize that a fair amount of traumatized women go into birthwork as an answer to their own trauma, to try and vicariously save other women, which sometimes looks like trying to save them from their own sovereignty, too.

I didn't really understand that part at first.

Birth is complicated, and also simple. It touches both life and death...and it's different for every mother, for every birth.

If you've ever done it, you know - birthwork never leaves you.

It becomes part of your core identity, somehow.

That happens when you're traversing the cosmos and witnessing another's initiation into parenthood; witnessing the rainbow bridge between life and death, Here and There.

The system is so, so broken, and it's hard to bear the hurt of it anymore, as a conscious, feeling individual.

I've observed that the newest wave of trauma around pregnancy and childbirth seems to be a pendulum swing that's seeking to be inclusive - but it's erasing our femininity in the process.

I am a fierce advocate for BOTH.

So I have come to recognize that my place in the birth world is not as a midwife, nor is it alongside most other doulas, who largely work with hospital-based clients and rarely get to attend birth center births or homebirths.

I am a freebirther - and the irony is, most women who feel drawn to freebirth don't want the presence of a doula anymore than they'd want an OB at their house.

My work on RethinkBirth.com will increasingly be focused on the sovereignty and femininity of women who are seeking support on the path of freebirth and unassisted birth.

This includes digital products to support their well-researched decision, and to help them keep a clear mind and heart despite the larger culture's distrust, uncertainty, and fear around the safety of unfettered, holistic, natural birth.

Is there a place for freebirth doulas? Maybe - for those who understand that birth is not a disease, and pregnant women are not helpless vessels.

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