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what is a birthkeeper? how doulas end up as peacemakers
What is a birthkeeper? A birthkeeper is someone who is reclaiming birth from the medical industrial complex.
Birthkeepers may or may not be doulas or midwives, and may or may not be officially credentialed.
However, birthkeepers are women (yes, women) who recognize that the current system is deeply damaging.
Instead of continuing to work within (and unwittingly prop up) the system, while witnessing the re-traumatization of mothers - birthkeepers are calling bullshit and teaching women how to take back their power.
A doula working within scope is always walking a thin line between what her clients need and want, and what she knows the medical system expects from her (i.e. cooperation and compliance, to stay out of their way).
Doulas are often relegated to the role of peacemaker.
For a long time, I’ve reckoned with the peacemaker version of mySelf…the ‘me’ I conjured up in order to survive in a world where I was just too much.
After my epic freebirth in 2011, my 5th baby - I knew, bone-deep, that trusting birth, trusting women, and trusting the mother-baby connection that spans across time is REAL.
The Truth about birth is that it's inherently safe, in all its primal, raw, rule-defying wildness.
And yet…as I moved from fierce freebirthing mother into the role of a mama who needed to make a living, I realized that a lot of traditional doulas regarded me as a strange anomaly.
I spoke about freebirth, about the cascade of interventions, about changing our beliefs, about intuition, empowerment, and the spiritual side of birth that’s so palpable it’s hard to ignore--
…but it seems to be ‘more professional’ (easier?) to not talk about any of those things.
My bone-knowing wisdom that is carried forward on the red thread that connects all mothers to their Goddess-knowledge, their sacred intuition...
…all that feels awfully out of place in a stark hospital room where the mother is expected to ask permission to eat a meal or use the restroom.
It's worth noting that when I first began attending births in hospital as a doula, it took some time for me to contend with my own PTSD from birth trauma.
Logically, I knew that I was safe, and not even the one checking into labor and delivery - but that didn't stop the bile rising in my throat as I walked down the starkly-lit hallways.
I learned to detach myself from the outcome of my clients' births, because after all, a "good birth" is a highly subjective concept…but I wonder whether this also made me numb and disconnected in ways that' weren’t helpful…?
In the classes I taught for the doula collective I worked with, my dear fellow birth professionals gently-but-clearly explained to me that if I wanted to teach with them, I’d need to teach a lot more about what to expect at the hospital.
My own classes were created to empower women with the clarity of choice and voice…
They were taught women’s-circle style, no men or partners allowed - and they provided a unique space of vulnerability where women could explore their feminine nature, question the origins of their beliefs, and dig deep into their fears about birth, motherhood, breastfeeding, and more.
None of that seemed to fit within the confines of doula world.
Not much room for renegades like me.
So I learned to change how I spoke about birth, in order to be less ’shocking’ to the majority.
That led me to become a very busy birth doula in 2014-2016....and it also lead to major BURNOUT. I didn't know who I was or what I even wanted to do in the birth world for some time.
Now - it's 2021, and anything that's not in alignment with your core truth as a human has got to go!
The false narratives are crumbling all around...and for me, that has to do with affirming the kind of birth advocate I truly am.
IT’S TIME TO TAKE BACK MY POWER
TO SPEAK MY TRUTH LOUD
SO THAT OTHERS MAY AWAKEN - AND BECOME SOVEREIGN
I lost my way as a birthkeeper because I was busy being a peacemaker.
Now, I recognize that I may never fit in among birth professionals who choose to birth and work within the system.
I’m ready to own my truth as a FREEBIRTH ADVOCATE.
I’m also a beacon of hope for those who may find themselves birthing within the system against their better judgment.
Not everyone feels ready to choose the path of sovereign birthing - but for those that ARE - I’m here as your guide to labor land and through the sacred portals of time.
This is your Goddess initiation to the mysteries of mothering - are you ready?
Courses | Services | Consults: RethinkBirth.com
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