You Say ‘Doula’, I Say Kinfolk

She’s here! She’s here!  

My raison d’etre, the apple of my eye, love of my life and the very best thing that has ever happened to me is finally in my arms. I’m a mommy! My daughter was born on Oct. 17, after two grueling hours of induced labor. I don’t care what Hubby says: when I saw them lift that baby girl out of me, the room went totally silent. Perhaps it took just minutes for the the swarm of medical professionals to clean her up and check her out, but time must have stopped until I heard her first few cries. She didn’t belt out one scream after another, but she cried just enough to let me know that she had arrived. It was an incredible feeling to hear the baby’s voice and know that she had finally, finally arrived.  

As to what Hubby and I did when we brought our precious cargo home — we fell into the arms of my aunt, who volunteered to be in the delivery room, which she was. She stayed a week after the baby’s birth to cook, babysit, advise and encourage us during our first week as parents. It was great! She is an amazing cook and possesses all sorts of practical knowledge that one accumulates giving birth to and raising six children. 

Hubby’s mother also signed up for one week of time with the new baby. If you add her experience as a mom, you get women who have raised 10 kids. So I spent a lot of time listening to their stories and picking up little hints from them on burping, fussiness and dressing the baby for colder weather.

This assistance put me at ease. And it got me to thinking: how do modern people manage with new babies when they are far away from experienced relatives? At some point during my pregnancy, I looked into doula services. Doulas, in theory, are great. They are there to help you out in whatever way you need, whether it means coaching and comforting you in the delivery room or adjust to the new home life with baby. They can coach you on breast feeding or help you manage the baby’s fussy times. They can be an extra help as you recover from either a C-section or natural delivery, as was the case with me. 

By ‘natural’ I mean a regular birth, not labor without pain killers. C’mon now, there was no need to be a hero!

I think doulas are one of the trappings of modern yuppie life, which ironically, involves doing a lot of things the old fashioned way, before everyday life involved eating foods and wearing clothes shipped in from mass-produced facilities around the world. Employing a doula seems to go right along with shopping at an organic foods market, driving hybrid cars and trying very hard to live a life of which a conservationist or environmentalist would approve. It’s ironic that we’ve adopted old fashioned and traditional practices in order to live a more enlightened, progressive life. 

Thank goodness for older, experienced aunts and mothers in law. If Hubby and I were typical yuppies, we might have to consider a doula. As it stands now, however, we’ve done just fine with the elder women folk in our families. 

It’s interesting that in mid-September, when I left the office for my extended maternity leave, the financial markets collapsed. After having seen one high fallutin’ CEO after another disgraced in all of this, I think some of these people ought to be forced into doula training schools and assigned to working mothers who are on leave from their full-time jobs and demanding careers. And they should be required to advocate for a minimum of six months paid maternity leave for their charges. I’ve got dibs on Henry Paulson. He looks like he could pick up on managing a baby without too many problems. Plus, he looks like a brawler, so if anyone tried to get too close to us without washing their hands he could double as my bodyguard!

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5 Responses to “You Say ‘Doula’, I Say Kinfolk”

  1. Congratulations on your new beautiful baby daughter!!! It was such a pleasant surprise to check into your blog and see this message today!! : ) I’m glad that you had a safe and successful delivery! You are truly blessed to have family members around to help you with your new baby.

  2. Yea Baby Latte! Yea Latte Cafe for bravery & stamina! Yea Papa Latte! Yea Auntie & Mom-in-Law for experience & aide!

    Fallen CEOs as doulas. I like that! Where do I cast my vote?

    CONGRATULATIONS

  3. Thanks for the sentiments, everyone. Baby is sleeping on my lap as I type this. She’s a precious treasure, and I guard her jealously!

    I’ll try to post my thoughts about Obama’s History Making, Soul-Stirring, Awesome, Wonderful, Inspiring Achievement as soon as I can pry myself away from Baby for a moment or so.

  4. “By ‘natural’ I mean a regular birth, not labor without pain killers. C’mon now, there was no need to be a hero!”

    You mean a vaginal birth. Sorry, it’s not natural if you have interventions, including pain killers.

  5. “By ‘natural’ I mean a regular birth, not labor without pain killers. C’mon now, there was no need to be a hero!”
    You mean a vaginal birth. Sorry, it’s not natural if you have interventions, including pain killers.

    You know, I thought about that term ‘natural’ almost during the entire pregnancy. What’s strictly natural and what is not? If by natural, you mean that the mother has no interventions at all, then the meaning of the word ‘natural’ is a bit too narrow and strict for me.

    For instance, in all my reading, I came across an article about controlling labor pain using acupuncture and similar methods. One woman described using a TENS machine during her labor. She described it as: “a pain relief device that shoots tiny electric currents between two pads attached to a small, battery-operated machine.”

    It didn’t sound like a pain killer in the strictest sense of the word. But electric currents delivered with an electric device? That sounded like a pain relief method delivered with a man-made device and rooted in solid science.

    Considering that mankind has been intervening in labor discomfort since day ONE, I don’t think one can draw a rigid line between what’s natural and what’s not. Any method of dealing with pain, controlling pain, reducing pain or alleviating it — even with ancient, non-Western techniques, counts as intervention. It’s the right thing to do for the woman, considering that all of her systems are working so hard to push a person out into the world!

    Maybe the confusion came in because I didn’t say ‘vaginal’. Caribbean people often say ‘natural’ to refer to a vaginal delivery and excluding a Caesarian. Otherwise, the word ‘vaginal’ is too clinical and intrusive for me.

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