Choices in Childbirth Workshop with Ancient Song Doulas
Choices in Childbirth ran its popular “How to Have a Great Hospital Birth” workshop at Ancient Song Doula Services in Brooklyn this week. Newly trained doulas were invited to listen to a panel of moms, midwives and doulas on how birth workers can support an empowered, enjoyable experience. Annette Perel, a doula for 13 years herself, expertly facilitated the night and helped to connect themes and answer concerns including:
- How can we elevate the mothers’ voices when nurses/care providers are changing all the time?
- As a young doula with no kids, how can I gain respect and authority as a doula?
- How can we work better with the clients’ family members who aren’t familiar with doulas?
- How can I support clients prenatally, and during birth, to help prevent unnecessary cesareans?
- How can we get clients to call us earlier?
Two new moms of four- and five-month-old babies shared their birth stories first. Andrea, the first speaker, had been told by her doctor to come to the hospital the morning after her due date. She was in touch with her doula right away, who joined her at the hospital later that day, along with Andrea’s own mother. She had a number of medical interventions and with great support, got through hours of the labor without pain medication. She is proud of the decisions she made in terms of coping techniques and wouldn’t change anything. After getting cleaned up, her daughter was placed skin-to-skin, breastfed right away, and remained with Andrea throughout the entire hospital stay. They are still breastfeeding.
Annette, the second speaker, faced a few complications at the end of her pregnancy. Having a doula helped Annette and her husband make sense of what was happening and what decisions she would likely face around induction, medications, and possibly cesarean birth. Throughout the last month of pregnancy and throughout the labor, she felt one step ahead of the game with the information she had learned. At the hospital, Annette had a long but steady labor and coped with the intensity through a variety of comfort measures. She gave birth vaginally and although her daughter had to spend some time in the NICU right away, her doula again supported her with information and breastfeeding.
The panel was joined by doula Morgane Richardson of the NYC Doula Collective, and Jo Zasloff, CNM of Central Park Midwifery. Morgane has worked as a doula for over 4 years and offered so much insight from her work with over 80 families, in dozens of different hospital settings. She offered ways in which doulas could work effectively alongside a variety of care providers, and grow their practice regardless of age, appearance, or whether or not they had children themselves. Jo, who also trained as a doula before embarking on the path to midwifery, has worked in many settings and loves to have doulas attend a prenatal meeting with their clients. She has a deep respect for their services in the birthing center or labor & delivery room and also had a number of ideas for how to elevate their role in hospitals that may be a little resistant to doulas.
The feedback from the night was wonderful, and we are so excited to support the expansion of the doula community in NYC.