This blog came to me today because I was playing a lot of catch up on appointments, texts, emails, prenatals and just general things I do in my doula practice. In short, I was feeling slightly overwhelmed because it’s a busy practice (that I love) to stay on top of on easy weeks but this week is following back to back births on Thursday and Friday of last week. It’s also sandwiched in between many posts in the ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) group that I am Chapter Leader for, our 6 month financial report for said ICAN group, and preparing to leave my family, clients, and farm next week when I attend the CAPPA (Childbirth And Postpartum Professional Association) conference in Arizona next week.
That’s a lot to stay on top of. Yet I am taking a moment to blog because this is important. My clients are important. YOU, expectant mama, are important.
As a doula I have attended 23 births so far this year. It’s been the busiest six months I’ve had as a doula. I’m approaching 300 births attended. Not only am I gone at births that last usually at least one day and sometimes more but there are prenatals, classes, questions, reassurance, and postpartum visits involved. That means for 23 births there have been approximately 92 in person visits, give or take a few depending on the client’s wishes and when I was hired. Then there are the texts, emails, and phone calls, going over birth plans. As you can imagine there are plenty of times when I am asked the same question or read very similar birth plans. There are times a medical issue arises and information must be given and reassurance offered. Still, I am not a midwife or an OB/GYN who sees far more expectant mothers than me. This is why I am a doula — to offer that personal touch. To be the person you can text if think you are losing your mucous plug. To be the person you can call and cry to if you’re being transferred from a low risk setting to a high risk setting. To be the person you can email your birth plan to 5 times just to tweak it just the way you want it. To be the person who has no agenda for you other than your satisfaction with your pregnancy and birth experience. To be the person to let you know you are special and this pregnancy, this birth, this baby are just as important as all the others that birth workers and providers are involved with.
Even when I am feeling overwhelmed and stretched thin I want you to know you are important to me. You matter. You’re special. Birth workers have to remember this. Birth workers must find ways to recharge (hello, conference coming up!) so as to avoid burnout and feel that every client is the same. Because you aren’t. Birth workers preach all the time that every labor is different and so are your needs, your wishes, and your circumstances.
So I thank you when you are understanding when another client is in labor and we have to reschedule a prenatal. I appreciate it when you bear with me if it takes a few weeks for us to have the lunch that I hope makes you feel comfortable to have me at your birth. I value your feedback if you need more attention. Labors, childbirth, and babies don’t care what is on my planner for the day and I know you understand. I feel it. I want you to feel my deep concerns that you feel special and valued, because you are. When we finally have that lunch or prenatal or postpartum visit it makes my day.
Kimberly Sebeck, Knoxville Doula
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