Although I know doulas want to help women, I don't think we should try to make the hospital experience more "comfortable" so women will think their births were OK and will choose hospital birth again in the future. I think they need to see it for what it is, and be forced to confront for themselves whether they really want to participate in this experience again or not, whether what occurs there is really "right" or not. I don't think most of them will do that if we make it "comfortable" for them. I don't think we need to try and be a "stepping stone" - we need to represent a clearly DIFFERENT option, one in which the woman is in complete control. I think when we teach our classes, we need to focus on getting across to them that the "natural birth in the hospital" idea is NOT possible. It's an illusion which the medical establishment promotes to get more women to come in.
There is no such thing as natural birth in the hospital, because natural birth is more than not having drugs. It involves the total environment, and whether or not you are free to pursue whatever your body indicates is "natural" for you, even if that means howling at the top of your lungs. It also involves being in a "safe" environment, which the hospital is not. So in my classes, I make a clear distinction so that they can see that if they are thinking they will try to create a good birth experience in the hospital, it is NOT possible. And even if they leave the hospital THINKING it was good, that this too is an illusion. It is never good when you are dominated and controlled, even if you later come to believe and are brainwashed into believing that your experience was "good" and the domination was part of that good. What I am trying to do in my classes is to reverse the societal brainwashing most women have received, and I can't do that if I let them leave my class believing in any way, shape or form that the hospital environment can provide a positive experience in ANY measure.
As an example, I tell them about my first birth. Even though it was a horrendous experience, when it was over and I was laying in the recovery room, I kept repeating to myself...."It's over, it's over, I'm not pregnant anymore" and I just kept feeling relieved that, no matter what I went through, it was over. I kept having this feeling of gratitude toward the hospital until about 18 months later. At that time I received a book from a friend, and learned for the first time that much of what I went through in my pregnancy was due to a vitamin deficiency that could have been corrected, but that of course the medical establishment doesn't believe this or has no clue that things can be managed this way. I got very angry and finally LOST that gratitude, which is a necessary thing if one is going to progress to becoming empowered. One cannot view the hospital as a positive place. That is what I am trying to create in the women who take my classes. I do not want to perpetuate the institutional myths of our culture, and I want to represent an option women can choose which is diametrically opposed to institutional care. Doulas are part of the institutional care model, whether they like it or not.
Doulas, whether they like it or not, are being USED by the medical establishment. They are being used to keep the laboring woman under control. Even though WE feel we are helping women, the medical establishment uses us to give the woman the ILLUSION that she has some control, to help keep her calmed down so she is no trouble. Believe me, I have attended hospital births in the form of a hospital support person, and unless you are going to get aggressive and get in people's faces, you are just NOT going to be able to accomplish anything, because you are not seen as a professional who knows anything, and you can suggest nicely that the laboring woman wants this or that, and you will be overlooked and told no because you aren't seen as an advocate, you are just seen as someone to pamper the mom so she will be quiet and no trouble. The hospital sees your role as totally different than you do, and they use you in that role.
I refuse to be used by them, so I choose to advocate a radically, totally different option for women.
A woman will not need a doula at all if she learns to care for herself and use ABT (Accu-Balancing Technique) for Pregnancy and Childbirth. She won't need a doctor, for that matter.
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