Recently I was in a conversation about doulas and our differences.
The main focus was on how some doulas will not take on clients who make certain decisions. For example, if parents plan to circumcise their sons, or if they plan on using pain medication for labor.
The conversation was civil to the public eye, but when I made this comment, my inbox filled up. The big controversial comment?
"I believe we should have an attitude of "your birth your way", not "your birth my way"".
I pretty much got blasted for that. How can I tolerate all birth styles? How can I condone circumcision? And on and on. I was shocked. Just a little though. I've often teased that I feel like a doula outcast. This confirmed it. It's okay though, I'm not much of a conformist anyways. My socks don't even match. :)
When I look back over the 21 families I worked with in 2011, I feel good about my non-conformist ways. I recall being told many times, (sad actually how often) that I was being chosen as the doula for them because I didn't make them feel like I had my own agenda or that I would frown on their choices. Did I make sure they knew the risks of choosing an epidural? Heck yes!! That's my job! They hired a doula because they want to make INFORMED choices. So, I INFORM them. I don't guilt them. I don't shame them and I don't make them question their ability to make their own choices for their own family.
Am I perfect at that? Sadly, no. I'm sure that I have made a face or raised an eyebrow when I feel a squeeze in my heart that there are choices being made that don't sit right with me. I'm sorry for that. I wasn't hired to agree with everyone, I was hired to inform and support.
I take on couples that plans to circumcise, do I therefore "condone" circumcision? I take on clients that don't plan to circumcise, am I an "intactavist"? You may never know. Will I give them the facts about circumcision and intactness? Yes. Will I give them the risks of doing or not doing it? Yes. Will I tell them what I did or didn't do for my boys? No! Personally, I have no desire to have anyone imagine what my husbands or sons penis' look like. And I cringe every time I see a mom all over facebook talking about her sons private parts. I can't imagine the horror my son would feel if his college buddies came across a posting about his penis on facebook! Really moms/wives? Show some discretion please!
Phew, little off track there.... Back to my point. I have no problem agreeing to disagree with other doulas or parents. I do have a problem with being blasted for my doula philosophies. If you want to refuse a client because they will vaccinate or use an epidural or circumcise, that's your choice. I don't have to agree with you. I do appreciate that if you can't take a client on and fully support her, that you kindly decline serving her. But then don't blast me because I'm willing to offer non-judgmental services to her. So please, no more letters telling me I'm harming children because I support moms in labor who use medication or any of those other hot topics.
I really could keep going, but I'll stop now. I'm sure I've made some peoples blood boil, and I'm sure I've had a few nods of agreement. Either response is fine by me. Just be kind. :-)
Oh, and by the way, I've had conversations similar to that one many times and have been blasted both publicly and privately, so please don't assume I'm talking about you, or that you know who I am talking about. :)
P.S. If you thought this was a doosy, wait until I write about breastfeeding in public!
Hugs to ya ~