b is for birth philosophy

As a doula, I get asked lots of questions. From the first time we meet for a consult, through the rest of your pregnancy and even the postpartum days, I am here to answer your questions. One question I sometimes get is about birth philosophies.

A birth philosophy is a set of beliefs (your beliefs) on what labor should consist of. Many things can influence your personal birth philosophy: your culture, how you were raised, what you’ve read, seen on T.V or heard about birth… It’s a culmination of all of the things you’ve learned or speculated about labor that causes you to feel a certain way about the process.

So, what is my birth philosophy?

The short and quick answer is.. I don’t have one. But let me explain.

When I was first looking into what certifying agency I wanted to work with to become a doula, one stood out to me- for several reasons, but one has to do with a phrase that is preached at ProDoula: “non-judgmental support”. This was the exact type of doula I wanted to be.

This phrase is the expectation of ProDoula doulas, and its essential in all areas of pregnancy and labor– including birth philosophies. What this means is that if you want to labor at home, a hospital or at a birthing center- great! I support you in that decision. If you want to labor with no pain medication or medical intervention- I support you. If you want an epidural- I support you! If you want to schedule a c-section- I’ll support you through that too. The important thing is that you feel supported, no matter what your personal decisions and beliefs on labor looks like.

Another reason that it’s easy for me not to have a birth philosophy is because I, myself, have not experienced labor. As a recently married doula, I have not yet been pregnant, and while this was, at one time, something that held me back from becoming a doula, I now realize that it is one of the things that make me a great doula.  

Not ever having experienced pregnancy, labor or birth firsthand, I have the ability to truly stand by my clients’ philosophies without any biases of my own. It gives me the opportunity to just be with my clients in their own decisions in what is right for them and for their families.

While I understand wanting to know if your doula has a birth philosophy, the better question is what is your birth philosophy? Because when you’re my client, my birth philosophy is whatever yours is! And if you don’t have one either, well then that’s just something we have in common!

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© 2020 Erin Brier

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