Why I want to become a doula

My pregnancy was totally unplanned.  When I found out I was pregnant, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, I just sat there on the toilet with my pants around my ankles for what seemed like hours, staring at that little plus sign that didn’t even have the decency to wait until I set it down on the counter to show up.  This wasn’t how I imagined I would get pregnant one day.  I felt totally unprepared and out of control.

When I made the decision, a few days later, that I was indeed going to have the baby, I wanted to seize what little bit of control I could.  I immediately started reading on what was going on in my body, in the baby’s body, and what the future held for us both.  I had to know everything.  It became an addiction.

Seven months after having Elijah, nothing has changed.  I still want to learn more about pregnancy, child birth and parenting every day.  Whatever information I encounter I absorb, whether it applies to me or not. I am a member of several pregnancy, child birth and parenting forums where I proceed to disseminate this information in the hopes of helping some woman who isn’t as hopelessly addicted to child bearing knowledge as I am.

I have thought, since having Elijah, about what I could do with this new found passion and knowledge, and the more I try to answer questions and give encouragement, the more it becomes clear.  I should be involved in pregnancy and childbirth as a career, somehow.  Since I don’t see myself becoming a nurse or a doctor, and midwifery probably isn’t in my future either, I did some research on what it takes to become a doula, and decided that very likely was for me.

Really, I felt most inspired by my own doula, and a few encouraging words from her when I wrote to her about my doula ideas was all it took to make me decide for sure that this is what I wanted to do.  I checked out the required reading list for certification and found that I had already read some of the books on the list.  I chose a class to attend (in November) and made an announcement at work.  I’m going to become a doula.

I hope that I can help women have the empowering, awe inspiring birth that my doula helped me to have.  I hope I can satisfy some of my lust for the pregnancy and child birth experience (because I’m just dying to do it all again) by sharing that experience with other women.  I hope I can one day make a descent living at this.  And I hope I will be able to volunteer my services to other single mothers, and maybe empower them a little to not let their situation condemn them and their children.  I hope I can be there for women who need a c section without getting queasy.

Hopefully now my choice doesn’t seem so sudden to everyone.

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About Rockingthehomestead

Badass feminist environmentalist.
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14 Responses to Why I want to become a doula

  1. Congratulations on your decision to become a doula!

    Your story embodies how pregnancy and childbirth education can truly become an addiction.

    My story was much the same as yours. I had the same overwhelming desire to learn as much as I could about pregnancy and birth. Then, once I’d given birth and understood what an empowering, transformative event it was, I wanted to share that knowledge with other women, so they too could face birth without fear as I did.

    It’s like once you realize that birth doesn’t have to be a scary unknown, you want to shout the truth to everyone within range (although that approach seldom, if ever, works;-)

    I’m sure you’ll be a wonderful doula. You’re going to love every minute of it!

  2. Marisa says:

    That is so exciting, thank you for sharing and giving so much to this blog.I enjoy reading it!
    I recently made the decision to be a doula as well. I had a VBAC with the help of my doula and the feeling to become one has always stayed with me.
    I will be attending the training Birthing from Within in Portland in Feb 09. I am wondering who you have chosen to train with?

  3. kim kim says:

    When I read this I am totally baffled because of your other post where you are so gun ho wanting women to give their babies away for adoption. I like the energy you share in this post much much more. Please keep going with this way of thinking, it’s really nice.

  4. jessimonster says:

    Kim, I don’t want women to give their babies up for adoption. I just think that if a woman is pregnant and she doesn’t want to be a mom, she has the option of giving her child up for adoption rather than getting an abortion. If we want her to consider giving the baby up for adoption instead of aborting the baby, then we should make the option of adoption more appealing to women faced with an unwanted pregnancy. Certainly every woman who wants to keep her baby should, and should be provided with resources to raise her baby successfully.

  5. kim kim says:

    It’s never about not wanting to be a mother. The women that give up their children for adoption do so because they want the very best for their children and this is why they don’t have an abortion.

    Abortion and adoption are very separate issues. Encouraging women to endure adoption instead of abortion is totally insane.

    It makes more sense to put the energy into making motherhood easier and more attractive, not making women become birthmothers.

  6. kim kim says:

    Not only that, she is still a mother after the adoption has happened.

    Do you think we stop being mothers?
    You don’t become an ex-mother. So if you want women to endure adoption because you think they don’t want to be mothers then you are not seeing adoption clearly.

  7. jessimonster says:

    The last thing we want to do is take choices away from women. I would never tell a woman what to do when she finds herself pregnant, I only want to make sure that women have as many options as possible, and one of those options should be adoption. Its just an option, no one has to take it if they don’t want. Out of 9 points, 2 were about adoption and 1 was about birth control, the other 6 were about providing resources for single mothers. Obviously, I feel resources for single mothers should be our #1 priority.
    Really, Kim, if I thought single women should always give their kids up for adoption, would I have Elijah right now? Don’t think the idea of adoption didn’t cross my mind either, I even had a conversation with my doctor about it when I was about 24 weeks pregnant. But I made a different choice. My choice was right for me, but it might not be right for everyone. I don’t want to push my choice on someone else. Adoption might be the right choice for someone. I just want that process to be easier and less unpleasant for the women who choose to pursue it. Pro lifers are always saying “if you don’t want your baby, why not put it up for adoption?” without any consideration for how difficult it is to do that. They might as well say, “if your ingrown tonail hurts, why don’t you just cut off your toe?”. If they want more women to pursue adoption, they need to fix the system so women feel better (or at least less bad) about doing it, thats all I’m saying.
    I can only imagine how hard it is to have to give your child up for adoption. I don’t in any way want to belittle the women who have gone through it or the sacrifices they have made to do it. I want prolifers to stop talking about it like its an easy solution to an unplanned pregnancy, and I want them to stop treating the women who choose adoption like they are bad people. I’m sorry that that point didn’t come across in my post, and I’m very, very sorry if I have hurt or offended you. I know this is a very personal subject for you, and I certainly do not want to hurt you.

  8. kim kim says:

    I really don’t think that adoption is an attractive choice so you can better put your energy into making motherhood more attractive.

    Adoption is a terrible thing for both mother and child to experience and should not be offered as a “choice”, we need to phase out adoptions not create more of them.

    You didn’t hurt me, thanks for worrying but I’m not offended, a little exasperated perhaps 🙂 but not offended.

    You seem to think that women relinquish because they don’t want their babies, that’s really a mistake.

    Why don’t you read some of the blogs by relinquishing mothers on my links list?

    I’ve never been treated badly by a pro-lifer, only insulted by the ones who want to push adoption as an alternative to abortion. It was never an alternative to abortion for me. They had legal abortions in 1984 you know. It wasn’t an option for me, i loved my baby.

    You are the one who is asking women to cut off their toes if they have ingrown toenails by being pro adoption, do you not see how you are just like the people you say you are fighting against? I see no difference between you and them.

  9. jessimonster says:

    I don’t want to take any choices away from women. I think its very wrong to talk about taking a choice away from women. I don’t see a difference between wanting to take away the option of abortion and wanting to take away the option of adoption. I have known women who have been glad they had the option of adoption (of course, every one of those women had open adoptions, in which they still had limited contact with the children). They all had different reasons for choosing adoption. One of them, who I worked with in high school, simply did not want children, but she knew a childless couple who did, and she went ahead and brought the pregnancy to term so that they could adopt the baby. Different women have different needs and require different options. What is right for you and me isn’t right for someone else.
    I have also known many people who were adopted as infants, and none of them had any complaints about the situation. I think they would be distressed at the prospect of doing away with adoption. Especially all of those who were adopted out of poverty and war stricken countries. Not to mention all the people who have adopted children, such as my pastor and his wife, who are currently in the process of adopting an infant from Africa, or my boss, who adopted five brothers out of foster care. Why, you’re talking about completely breaking up the Pitt-Jolie family!
    I think the difference between me and the pro lifers is that I’m not going to tell people they shouldn’t get an abortion. Abortion isn’t right for me, but I can’t say if it’s right for someone else. I am pro choice. Emphasis on the word CHOICE. There is a big difference between me and a pro lifer. I think women should make choices, have have as many options to choose from as possible. Pro lifers are going to tell you what you can and can’t do with your pregnancy. You, too, are trying to tell people what they can and can’t do with their pregnancy by saying women shouldn’t choose adoption. I’m just trying to make all the options more accessible. Women should choose what’s right for them. Its not my place to make that choice for someone else.

  10. kim kim says:

    Only in very special circumstances is adoption a good idea. You really don’t know a lot about adoption I can tell by the way you go on about these women who are happy about it and all these adopted people you mention who are thrilled to be rescued from those countries far away.

    There is no difference between you and a pro lifer. You are a bit worse because you are in denial about it. You are just as bad because you don’t want to learn about adoption, you just want to stick with the ideas that you have.

    I don’t have theories about adoption, I’ve lived with it for 24 years.

    You’re right that it’s not your place to make choices for other people so why are you so hell bent on promoting adoption as this great thing when you are clueless?

    If you want to put all this energy into making adoption more attractive to women why don’t you put that same energy into making parenting easier for women?

  11. jessimonster says:

    So you agree that there are some situations in which adoption is appropriate for the women and children involved. You say that situation is rare, and in the interst of ending this debate, I’m willing to conceed to that. But I don’t care if it only happens once every hundred years, I think that adoption needs to remain an option for women so that when it does need to happen it can happen smoothly and with no additional hardship to all parties involved during what is already a difficult situation. I trust women to be able to decide for themselves when adoption is the best option for them, just as I trust women to decide for themselves when abortion is the best option for them, and when parenting is the best option for them. We cannot expect the government or society to make that choice for them.
    I’m not talking about putting money or reforms into the adoption system (though it might need it, I don’t know, I’m not educated on the subject). What I am talking about is changing our societal perspective of the women who choose adoption. There is no limit to the amount of love, acceptance and support we can give to women who face the difficult choices that come with an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, to say that we should focus all of our love, acceptance and support into one area and not another is plain cold hearted.
    You accuse me of saying adoption is better than abortion, but I never said that. Adoption is the appropriate choice for some women, for others, abortion is the appropriate choice, for others, parenting is the appropriate choice. When women face an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy, these are the only three options they have. Personally, I think if we are going to choose one place to direct the most energy and resources, it should be towards prevention of unwanted pregnancy, and then all the arguments about what choices women “should” make would be pointless and unnecessary.

  12. kim kim says:

    You’re not interested in adoption reform you just want to have people “think” about it as a more attractive choice?

    We haven’t even covered how adoption makes children feel but that’s for another time I suppose.

    Do you really want to be proposing adoption as a choice when you don’t know very much about it? how do you propose giving away your child to be made more attractive to women?

    Have you come up with what to tell the children who are given away? Perhaps they can be grateful to be alive in the first place since they were given away as an alternative to abortion??

    Changing how people see mothers like me is a waste of time, it’s not going to make me feel less grief, it’s not going to give me back my daughter not to mention my future grandchildren.

    After all, not even you is listening to me so how do you propose to change the way society views us?

    Please excuse me but I think you are not very bright.

  13. Pingback: A word on adoption « All Natural, Single Mothering 101

  14. Your story is so beautiful and so like mine! My first wasn’t planned either. Kyle and I had just started dating and well, look at that! The turning point, I think, for me was when I started cramping and spotting a week after I found out. When I thought I was going to lose her, that was when I knew I wanted her! Now I can’t imagine my life without her. She’s almost 3 now and so amazing!

    I’m totally addicted to birth too. Kyle tells me, “What were you about before you were about birth?” 🙂 I want to be pregnant my whole life, but since I don’t think I can responsibly *do* that I’m becoming a doula so I can live vicariously through other people.

    Happy doula-ing!

    -Amy

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