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I have a dream...

On a social media page with fellow doulas, the question was asked "What would be one thing that you wish you could change about birth or postpartum in your area of the world".

Just one thing?  My immediate thought went to providing wireless monitors for all birthing facilities.  Restriction of movement during labor prevents baby's normal progression towards birth and limits comfort measures for the mother as well.

But the question got me thinking about what I really would like to see happen here in Indiana, in Tippecanoe County, Lafayette, and my neighborhood.

The Big picture?

I wish that pregnancy, birth and postpartum was something that was celebrated and supported.  I wish it wasn't treated as an illness that needs to be treated and recovered from as soon as possible.  I wish the family dynamic was respected and supported.  Paid leave allowing for time for bonding, establishment of secure breastfeeding, recovery of birth, adjustment to parenthood; all without stress of wondering how bills will be paid.

Local view?
Expanding the model of midwifery care in the local hospitals and a freestanding birth center.  I would love to see a sustainable model for a pregnancy support center.  Classes of yoga, childbirth education, breastfeeding consultations, postpartum support groups with a certified counselor, a shop to sell truly useful items in parenthood like baby carriers, cloth diapers, and more.  I would love to train other doulas and create a strong collective of doulas making sure there is a doula for every woman who wants one.


My neighborhood?
Create a culture where breastfeeding is normal as long as mom and baby desire to continue.  Support is given not only in the first weeks after birth, but throughout the first year.  Parents are encouraged instead of criticized for their parenting choices.  The question "Is baby sleeping through the night" would never be uttered. 

It starts with us
All of these ideas are big and grand and important... and also daunting.  Some requiring big culture changes and lots of money.  Others are smaller and just require intentional efforts.  Where we will be in 5-10 years will depend greatly on what people place value.  I hope through my work, that I can convince one birth at a time that BIRTH really does matter.

www.gracioushandsdoula.com

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