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Pregnant women’s experiences and needs for emotional support, physical well-being, access to healthcare and other community-based services are significantly different from women who are not pregnant. For pregnant women also dealing with past or current domestic violence and currently residing in a domestic violence shelter or safe house, the multitude of experiences and needs may be even greater. The National Resource Center on Domestic Violence has created Technical Assistance Guidance to address the intersection of these issues and will be hosting a webinar to explore this topic further. See below to register today!
NEW! Technical Assistance Guidance
Birth Doulas and Shelter Advocates: Creating Partnerships and Building Capacity by Fern Gilkerson and Kenya Fairley for the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence (April 2014)
The goal of this Technical Assistance Guidance is to provide information for both victim advocates working in shelter and birth doulas on the impact of trauma in pregnancy and childbirth, and to outline how a partnership between these two communities may be of benefit to pregnant survivors of domestic violence.
Trauma-Informed Birth Support for Survivors of Abuse
Monday, April 21st from 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM EST
Domestic violence victim advocates must provide advocacy and counseling that considers survivors’ pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum needs. A birth doula,or childbirth companion, tends to be an untapped resource in the community for survivors of abuse residing in safe shelter. Domestic violence shelters that partner with doulas can offer specialized program services to enhance support and safety options for pregnant women. Participate in this webinar session to learn more about the impact of experiencing domestic violence trauma, past or present, on pregnant women and their childbirth experience. This webinar is for domestic violence victim advocates, shelter advocates, doulas, and other birth professionals.
Register at http://bwjp.ilinc.com/register/rkxymsy.
Talking Circles and Missing the Point - Birth Anarchy
The battle looks different in every region. The ideal system does, too. What doesn’t change is the need for the pregnant person’s autonomy to be front and center.
We actually do try to stick to our patient’s birth plan as much as possible. It’s their birth experience, we are just there to help them along the way, but there are certain things that our hospital policy won’t allow or situations arise that force us to alter their birth plan.
This is understandable, but there are some OBs and nurses who’ll never even look at a patients birth plan. That five page birth plan isn’t a plan, it’s a reassurance to the mother. She feels 100% better going into her birth knowing what will happen in almost all situations. Birth plans aren’t for doctors, they’re for mothers. They can be useful is a situation arises that the mother is not comfortable with, but other than that, they’re not meant to boss anyone around or really even what the mother expects to happen. They’re kind of like a pre-birth journal, a way to help a mother explore her preconceived notions about birth and to clear her head, ask questions she never though to ask, and make her confront the nastier side of birth she’d rather ignore like c-sections and such. Basically, the five page birth plans are a security blanket, not a guidebook. Doctors and nurses shouldn’t assume that the mother is a pain in the ass just because she has a big birth plan, she may have had previous birth trauma, past sexual abuse, a mental disorder like OCD. Basically, you don’t know why she wrote that plan so ignoring a mothers birth plan or brushing it off could cause her to go into a tail spin that ends up with her on the operating table for ‘failure to progress’. But anyways, I know not all doctors and nurses are callous about birth plans, but when there are doctors like these out there, can you really blame us? :(
Today, I blogged about doulas who work in all kinds of reproductive experiences. If you want to learn more about doulas and labor support, here are some blogs and people to follow:
Be sure to search for doula services and organizations in your area! There are too many to list here, so some of these are examples of local groups.
@BADPtweets (Bay Area Doula Project)
I’ve blogged about doulas before, so my #doula tag is full of more information posted before today!
I’m a trained doula, but not yet certified (although I’m in the process). I think this sometimes causes some confusion for people who aren’t familiar with the doula training and certification processes, so I’m going to lay it all out here. This information applies to birth doulas, but similar circumstances are true for postpartum doulas and other non-medical birth professionals, as well.
Doulas aren’t regulated by any government or organization, so it’s important to know what the different labels mean.
In Indigenous communities, the name doula is often replaced with another term. At the American Indian Family Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, the women chose to be called “Turtle Women” because the “turtle symbolizes creation.” The project stresses that Turtle Women receive “DONA training for doulas, but they also have the knowledge that comes from being American Indian.”
Likewise, in a First Nations community in British Columbia, the women participating in a Doulas of North America (DONA) certified training workshop preferred to be called “aunties” instead of doulas. Carol Lynch, a certified doula, was given the name “Toonova’hehe,” meaning “Holding Women” in her Northern Cheyenne language class when she described her profession.
In Kanesatake, Québec, a well-respected grandmother of the community was trained as a doula and a lactation consultant. Her title was “Ka’nistenhsera Teiakontihsnie,”(KT), meaning “she who helps the mother.”
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