As many of you know, I am a birth doula. I was so excited during my training and couldn’t wait to help women birth their babies. However, from the first birth on I have become steadily disheartened. I haven’t been able to quite put my finger on it, but the birth world has been draining me and left me feeling depressed and powerless. Not feelings I enjoy, as you can imagine.
Last night, I finally realized what the problem is: everyone- be it professionals or mothers- has a completely different opinion when it comes to all things surrounding the birth experience. There is hardly any common ground and each new person you work with challenges your own knowledge and beliefs.
It was when I was discussing a topic on one of the Facebook pages I frequent that I understood that the extremes in the birthing world are just too extreme for me. You can find everything- from the women who believe that a woman’s body always knows how to birth and therefore needs absolutely no assistance, to the doctors who think that natural childbirth is overrated and would prefer to just surgically extract babies on a routinely basis.
I just can’t do this all the time. I cannot constantly be surrounded by so many passionate voices that completely disagree with each other, are unwilling to find a common denominator, and disrespect each other entirely. It is wearing me out and making me unhappy.
It’s midwives vs. OB/GYNs. It’s CNMs (Certified Nurse Midwives) vs. CPMs (Certified Professional Midwives) It’s medical vs. holistic. It’s doulas vs. doulas- ABC doula won’t attend anything other than a home birth while XYZ doula will only attend hospital birth, etc.
I feel like I’m stuck in a constant tug-of-war, in which I am being pulled back and forth. Because as a doula, all you do is support the mother and smile and nod. You have no say in anything and your opinion isn’t part of your job.
The problem is that I have an opinion. And I have a big problem keeping my mouth shut. I also have a big problem not having any authority, just being part of the ride without being able to alter the direction. I believe as a doula, I have a very important role in supporting the mother and I can make a huge difference in her labor. However, on a larger scale, I am not doing much to change the big picture. I’m the smallest fish in the vast see of births.
I may just have to retire from the birthing world all together. There just is no common ground that I can believe in. I have strong faith in the holistic side of the birthing community, but I also believe in the necessity for occasional medical interventions. Once again, I find myself between chairs and I just can’t find a good one to sit in. It looks like the world of birthing is not meant for me.