Throughout the annals of time, women in labor have been supported by other women. In recent years, the word, doula, has been used to describe that woman. Doula comes from the Latin meaning woman's servant. I also reference the Arabic word, Abdullah, which means "servant of." While a labor doula is not medically trained, she is fluent in natural comfort measures to help ease the discomfort of labor like massage, visualization, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, movement and many other techniques. She can provide information on the benefits, risks, and alternatives of hospital interventions to assist families in the decision making process. She does this all while providing continuous emotional and physical support to not only the laboring woman, but her family as well. A doula in on call 24 hours a day from 38 weeks gestation until labor begins. Doulas remain with their clients for the duration of the labor, the birth, and at least one hour postpartum. If it's 24 hours or 4 hours, doulas don't leave! Doulas do not replace dads, grandmas, or aunties, but work with them as a team to provide the best support possible.
What got you started to become a Doula?
I was blessed to have a doula at the birth of my twins seven years ago. The hospital where I gave birth offered its patients a doula free of charge through a grant based program. I really wanted a natural birth and while my husband was wonderful, I was struggling! I requested a doula and shortly after a perfect stranger arrived to help me. My doula, Cynthia, helped me through labor positions, massaged my feet and back, breathed with me through contractions, and even took pictures after the babies arrived. Needless to say, she didn't leave a stranger; she left as a dear friend! I have never forgotten that experience and after a difficult pregnancy was so thankful to say I had a wonderful birth. Cynthia and the knowledge I acquired during that pregnancy ignited a desire in me to help other women in labor. That desire has grown in a burning passion and manifested itself into my business, A Mother's Worth Birth Services.
How long have you been one?
I have been working as a doula for 7 years now. I started supporting women after my first birth experience and haven't looked back. I have a young family and for the many years I devoted my time to teaching childbirth education and providing breastfeeding support. Now that the children are a little older, I'm focusing more on the doula side of my business.
How common is it to use a Doula and/or a midwife in the birthing process?
In the White/Caucasian community, doulas have become very commonplace. Many women seek them out, are willing to pay, and are benefiting from their services. Even if they don't already know the term "doula" once it's explained, they recognize the benefits. And as mothers grow dissatisfied with obstetricians and the medical model of maternity care, many are turning to midwives, stand alone birth centers, and home births. In the Black community and others of Color, not so much! The same goes for attending independent childbirth birth education classes. I find myself having to not only brand my business in the birth world, but having to explain why it's important to even take a class or "hire" someone to attend a birth. I see a great sense of apathy as it concerns birth in our community. This is very disheartening considering that the Black community is at the top of every negative statistics concerning childbirth. Those statistics include infant mortality (death), maternal mortality (death), premature birth (babies born to soon), low and very low birth weight (under 5 lbs). It is my sincere belief that Allah (God) answers our prayers and cries for help through the womb. When we do not honor and reverence the birth process, we are denying ourselves freedom, justice, and equality.
Is there such thing as a black Doula? (explain)
Well, yes and no. I'll explain. As a doula, I can and will support any woman in labor. I do not market myself as a Black doula. Birth is as universal as a baby's first cry. The process is the same for all women, and in my heart I believe that every woman deserves the high quality care and attention provided by a doula. The difference lies in the way we are handled by medical professionals. When I became a mother, I was 24 years old, married, held a bachelor's degree, had a professional job, and took over 20 hours in childbirth education classes, but was treated by some nurses like the most ignorant person on Earth. No one understands racism until you've felt it. So in that regard, when it comes to advocating for the rights of laboring women and understanding the cultural nuisances we face, I believe we do have to make a distinction.
Why should people have home births and/or use that profession over utilizing the experts of the Doctor profession?
Currently in the
One is the cost factor. Unless a family chooses to birth unassisted that is with no medical professional present, they will hire a midwife to attend their birth and provide prenatal and postpartum care. The fee that the midwife will charge is usually not covered by insurance thus must be paid out of pocket by the family. Although most midwives do offer payment plans, this is a major barrier for most people. In doula work, I run into the same issue. Folks just can't understand why it cost so much. I find it interesting that most them spent more on their wedding cakes than I charge and I would venture to say the total costs of the wedding was more than the midwives' fees. It's simply an investment. An investment in a memory that you will recall vividly for the rest of your life is the birth of your child.
The second reason I will offer is that many worry that something will go wrong. WHO, the World Health Organization, has reported that 90% of all births will be normal, uncomplicated births. WHO has also stated that there is no evidence to support that for women who are considered low risk, home birth is no less safe than birthing in a hospital. I believe when we begin to have confidence in the birth process again, we will understand that the fear of home birth is unfounded. We have become so reliant on technology, we have forgotten that the act of birth was created and ordained by Almighty God, Allah. We just have to believe.
You have explained the business from the eyes of others. Well tell us about your business?
A Mother’s Worth Birth Services was created to educate, support, and encourage mothers in a fresh, engaging way. Its mission is to lower the infant mortality rate, decrease the rate of-premature birth, and increase the number of breastfeeding mothers through childbirth education classes, doula services, Dancing for Birth (TM) classes and breastfeeding support.
A Childbirth Education Course Worthy of You
You and your support people will enjoy an interactive, creative educational experience while creating birth art, completing journal assignments, and exploring the mind-body connection of birth. In a series of classes, participants will learn about the anatomy and hormones at work, the stages of labor, natural comfort measures, hospital interventions, and newborn care including breastfeeding.
Valuing the Mother Doula Services
By hiring a doula (pronounced doo-la), you will receive continuous physical and emotional support as you birth your new little blessing. As your doula, I will use my professional training in natural comfort measures to ease your discomfort, remember all the labor details you forgot, and be your friend as you bring forth new life. Doulas don’t replace Dads, so I will be committed to helping you and your family for the duration of your labor.
Dancing For Birth (TM) Classes
Dance your way to an easier, more enjoyable birth experience by combining African rumble, Latin sizzle, Caribbean spice, and the sensuality of belly dance. Learn to love your pregnant figure while you adulate to the rhythm of beat with other moms-to-be. This low impact workout is infused with childbirth tips to boost your confidence and knowledge. Dancing for Birth is a fun, fabulous way to prepare for the birth of your child.
Lastly, understanding the responsibility and importance of birthing children is paramount to changing the world as we know it. My focus is prenatal education and helping mothers to create a peaceful, holistically positive birth experience. We hope to serve all mothers and help them understand their limitless value.
What advice do you have for new mothers and mothers that have given themselves to the hospital for child birth?
I say this to all of your readers, be they Muslim, Christian, Black, White, Latino, Asian, etc, if you are even thinking about becoming pregnant, go to store.finalcall.com and order a copy of How to Give Birth to a God by The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. It a lecture series based on the Teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad that will change your outlook on birth the moment you begin to listen and forever more. It is that powerful.
After you do that you will have the confidence to believe in yourself and that your body was made to give birth to your baby. Step out on the water, have faith, and know that you can do it.
Then choose your care provider very wisely. Make sure he or she shares your philosophy toward birth and will respect your requests when the big day comes.
Next, take an independent childbirth education class. The goal of many hospital based classes is to indoctrinate you into hospital policy. They are there to simply make you a good patient. If a natural birth is your goal, choose an independent class.
Next, hire a doula! Medical studies have shown that a doula's presence increases positive feelings and perceptions of one's birth experience, reduces the need for medical interventions, reduces mother's requests for pain medications and epidurals, and tends to result in shorter labors with fewer complications.
What last thing would you want the world to know about you?
Birth is my passion. It is my calling. The upliftment of the importance of the birth process and the celebration of motherhood is my purpose. It feels so good to know that.
How can readers reach you?
Your fabulous readers may reach me via telephone at 602-429-9501 or via email at email@example.com, on Facebook as A Mother's Worth, or through my blog, A Mother's Worth Birth Services http://amothersworthbirthservices.blogspot.com/.