Birthkeeper or Doula; What’s the Difference?

Photo from Davis Photography in Iowa
https://www.facebook.com/davisphotographyqc/

What is the difference between a Doula and a Birthkeeper?

Really, there should be no difference but it seems society has made it a huge difference. By definition, a Doula is a woman, typically without formal obstetric training, who is employed to provide guidance and support to a pregnant woman during labor. This is also what Birthkeeper is! To be honest, there is no documented definition of a birthkeeper. A Birthkeeper is what she chooses to be.

Why the Separation?

Doulas often come with a scope they must obey. Most Doula certification organizations will limit women in what they can and cannot do, instilling them with false fear that they are looking legal complications in the eye if they ‘disobey’ as well as the stripping of their certification. For example, carrying/suggesting essential oils, homeopathy, offering suggestion on what you would do, or attending birth without medical providers present. Something that limits what they can and cannot do for a woman in her childbearing years. If we are being quite frank, a doula’s provided ‘scope’ is “a means by which contributes to the violations birthing persons experience and validates the very exact system that oppresses the one birthing”. It limits her ability to serve. (Those are wise words from Allison Tate @BacktoBirth)

There are Doulas who see what society/organizations deem a ‘scope of practice’ for their profession, and they smash that scope. They discard its limiting bounds and serve women to the fullest extent of the law- just like a birthkeeper! Doulas are not one size fits all. Many choose to limit themselves, but there are gems out there, claiming the title Doula, serving at her fullest potential. I call them Diamond Doulas! They are my people!

So, What is a Birthkeeper?

A Birthkeeper holds the sacred wisdom surrounding physiological birth and walks with women in their childbearing years. They are the keepers of sacred space. They are able to serve the woman to her desire and fullest extent of the law. Supplying genuine care and concern with no limit. Birth does not have limitations, neither should a support person (outside of refraining from offering medical assistance). A woman being supported by a Birthkeeper would likely be supported to the fullest extent of the law -where as most Doulas aren’t able to or their certification will be stripped.

A Birthkeeper is not limited by a scope. She serves to the fullest extent of the law (varies by state) and bases her service offerings/limitations on her own personal training. Some may carry more knowledge on the physiological birth process, with different supplies in her birth bag than a mainstream Doula might. Some may be comparable to that of a Monitrice. What she will or will not do is up to the Birthkeeper themselves, they are not limited by definition or scope, they set their own boundaries.

Birthkeepers often support (not supply medical care) those who are dropped by birth professionals. The birth professional may be legally unable to show up and support, but a Birthkeeeper is, there is no license to lose when simply supporting a choice. Sometimes, this is better than the mother attending a facility. This choice is and always should be the mothers, herself. The Birthkeeper can bridge the gap of support. But guess what! Doulas can, and some do this, as well!

If you ask me, titles are trash. I do not like titles, any of them. If I had to pick one, Id choose Birth Attendant or Birthkeeper. Why? Because there is no definition, I make my own. Is there a true difference between a Doula and Birthkeeper? It depends on each individual worker!

Regardless of which you choose to hire, make sure she isn’t limited in serving you! Make sure your views align. Know that no two are alike!


What do you feel the difference is between a Doula or Birthkeeper? Is there a difference? Is it all the same?

We asked the HERBAL students! Here are a few of their responses:

“Doulas are a scope. Birthkeepers are free. Doula is a title, Birthkeeper is an honor. Doulas have to follow rules, Birthkeeper only limits themselves to what they are comfortable with. Doulas are working…. Birthkeepers are the sacred keepers of birth and we are answering our calling.” – Veronica Hart

“There is no simple and succinct answer for me to find but I do have some thoughts. I believe that the definition of each “title” is different depending on the belief system of birth held by the person who uses it. This accounts for the huge variation in definitions. I also think that the definition of each title is forever changing and reflects the complex birth culture (socially and medically) we find ourselves in today. The title “Doula” I believe has seen the most change and now finds itself in a place far removed from where it inherently began. It has fallen prey to a new identity that conforms to social expectations of birth and over medicalisation. A drastic shift from lay role to professional role with scope, constraint and narrowly defined parameters. I see “birthkeeper” as a means by which to reclaim the ownership of birth back from the very constraints its sister title “doula” has fallen to. For me “birthkeeper” is an uprising, a statement to remind us who birth truly belongs to and that ownership has landed in the wrong place. It brings with it, the authentic generational power that the title “doula” has always held but unlike the term “doula” the term “birthkeeper” has yet to experience the same fate. For me the significance does not lie in each term, it lies in the belief system that underpins it. We find ourselves today in a place where “Doula” has been shaped to fit social and medical expectations of birth. It has lost its authenticity, wisdom and person centered power. Step fourth “birthkeeper” ready to reclaim the wisdom and hand the power back to those giving birth” – Allison Tate

“A doula supports birthing people within reason. A Birthkeeper supports birthing people. Period.” – Kristyn M Gerchalk

“Doula uses the word scope. But seriously. A birth keeper serves women to the fullest extent of her ability, comfort level and legalities. A doula stops at some invisible line drawn in the sand. I use them interchangeably on public posts because people are more familiar with the word doula, but it does not resonate with me. Obviously a birth keeper won’t risk arrest… and honors her own biases and what she is comfortable with for her own mental health… but that is the ONLY boundaries for a birth keeper.” – Sierra Jean

“I believe this can differ with each person.. Some doulas are absolutely amazing and will go above and beyond for their client.. some use the word “scope” and act as if their job isn’t to protect their client, when in all actuality that is one of the main things a doula is supposed to do (in my opinion). A birthkeeper is the holy grail. They always go above and beyond, they don’t believe in “scopes”. They know their purpose and don’t question it. Some doulas are just like birthkeepers, the only difference is the label.” Char Sondrol

“A birthkeeper sets their own limitations. A doula has them set for them.” – Amanda Jones

“To me I feel that doula is the perfect word to describe someone who provides more full spectrum services including pre conception, pregnancy and postpartum. Birthkeeper is the perfect term for someone attending a birth who intends to keep birth in its most wild and natural state. I think there are doulas our there who have made ‘doula’ a dirty word but I don’t believe they are doulas at all. Real doulas are mother servants and I think the essence of a doula is someone who respects pregnancy, birth and women in the way they are supposed to. I am a doula and I am proud to be one in the most traditional sense of the word. ‘Scope doulas’ are not doulas at all. They don’t embody the true meaning of the word. I am taking it back.” – Casey Hone

“A doula is a profession, a birthkeeper is a calling; the former pursued with a desire to help people, the latter is part of who they are.” – Kristi Whitten

“There isn’t one significant difference. Both serve women to the fullest extent of the law.
I think the differences would be social differences. The word “doula” has gained terrible traction lately. It’s been “defined” on the internet as someone who follows scope mainly due to certifying organizations like pro doula and DONA.
But just the same, the word “birthkeeper” has also gained terrible traction all the same. It’s been “defined” by the other side of the internet as those who don’t follow the laws of their state at all (not necessarily true at all) and that are argumentative and rude.” – Hope Lauren

“i don’t know that there is a difference basically. i think it all comes back to who is using the words and how they are using them. i use both terms interchangeably, mainly because i feel like doula is a term more widely recognized. but i do think there is a difference in the mainstream doula, and what/who i am.” – Tamara Niedermann

“I don’t see a difference in the two. I feel like they both serve women to their extent and to what they are comfortable with. There are wonderful doulas and there are horrible ones. There are horrible birth keepers and there are horrible ones.” – Cheyenne Richards

“A doula has one single role. A Birthkeeper is like water, taking whatever role is needed.” – Tara Alexandra Ortiz

What are your thoughts?!

Be Mindful when at a Birth

Birth space is such a sacred area to be in. If someone invites you into this space, you should feel honored. There are a few things to keep in mind when being courteous of this space.

One of the first things to keep in mind is that birth is a physiological event (in the case it is left unhindered). There is no emergency, no need for fear, concern, or anxiety. Birth is a naturally occurring bodily function that more often than not, needs zero help. Women have been doing this for centuries!

Second, the energy you hold in her space. If you start to become anxious or frightened, it may be best for you to step out and move away from her. Your energy effects those around you. In the time a mother is laboring, she is very spiritually/energetically open, and receptive to the energy you give off. It is key to have positive energy in the birth space.

Thirdly, time. Just because your birth was 6 hours start to finish does not mean another woman’s will be. Each birth has its own time frame and no two are identical. Do not make her feel rushed or become fearful due to the length of labor. Labor can be only minutes long or it could be days long. Go in with no expectation, and enjoy the unknown journey with her.

Next, is staring. Mind your eyeballs at her labor and birth. Women are not circus acts. A laboring mother is absolutely beautiful and admirable every. single. time. but, staring and watching her will likely only delay things. Women, more often than not, will labor more efficiently not being watched. I personally do not like to stare a laboring mother down. It is not respectful and I know it is not doing her any good. I also believe I will learn much more from her voice/sounds than looking at her face, more often than not. More ears, less eyes.

Lastly, remember that this is HER birth. It doesn’t matter if you laid on your back to birth your children, if she wants to hang off of the door frame and birth her baby, she should. She should not be encouraged to meet someone else’s desires for her birth. The navigation map of labor and birth is generic, no two identical. Let her navigate her own way through, know that she does not need your suggestions. Her body will relay necessary information. Let her make her own choices in her birth, and respect them, even if you might not agree. Her autonomy is important and something to respect.

What are a few things you wished others would have minded at your birth? What advice would you give someone who will be holding sacred space at a birth?

How To: Choose A Back-Up Doula

I always joke that you should be as picky with your Back-Up Doula/Business Partner, as you are about your Life Partner/Spouse and to not be afraid to date, take a break, break-up entirely, or stay together forever… LOL but honestly, that’s pretty valid!

You want to seriously know their values, their experience, their comfort zone, their training and capabilities, availability, financial requirements, childcare situation, what supplies they bring to the table, and more!

Can you genuinely work together without conflict? Would you want this individual at YOUR birth? Would you feel comfortable at theirs?

Taylor’s sweet back-up doula, Hope, when they attended a birth together in 2019

When choosing a back-up doula to take on a client, or clients, of yours, you need to discuss and agree in several areas.

  • Fee that will be provided in the event that one of you back up the other (does it change whether the back up is there 2 hours or 24 hours?)
    Tip: I firmly believe that 30-50% of the birth fee is fair, especially if you provided a few prenatal appointments and intend to follow up postpartum, but also have to consider how the back-up doula has to be on-call and attend the birth, which genuinely is a lot of work. It is much easier if you collect the full payment from the client prior to birth, and pay the back-up doula yourself, so there is no confusion between the client, you and the back-up.
  • What circumstances you can call them in (any and all, preferably, because emergencies get weird)
  • What their availability timeframe will be (36 weeks to 42 weeks, or a slimmer timeframe? Weekends only? Weekdays only?)
  • How quickly can they get to a birth? Where is their home-base (where they live)?
  • What can they bring to a birth? What if they do not have the same tools in their bag that your client prefers?
  • What experience/training do they have? Is it pretty equivalent to yours? If not, how can you ensure they do?
    Tip: I prefer to attend a birth or two with my back-ups before relying on them AS a back-up, so I can see their style, if they are honest about their availability, their energy in a birth space, and more. If it takes them 2 hours to get there when they live 20 minutes away, they seem confused or intimidated in the birth space, this does not necessarily mean that they are completely written off, but it does mean we need to have a new discussion on realistic expectations, needs, and how we can address their energy and how to improve. You have to be able to have open communication.
  • Do they have a friendly face, demeanor, and energy in general? If you were interviewing for a doula for your birth, would you hire them? You definitely do not want your clients feeling disappointed in the services your back-up doula provided because then they will feel disappointed in YOU and your business, and will be less likely to recommend you, and hire you in the future.

A Back-Up Doula is a Must Have

ALWAYS discuss the possibility of a back-up with your clients, even if you see no way that it could happen. Your clients need to have their contact information, business information, and potentially even an option to meet them – just in case! If you got struck by lightning, got into a severe car accident, or had a serious family emergency, you would want the comfort of knowing your back-up doula had everything covered and your clients would not be left feeling alone.

Whomever you hire, remember you are not stuck with them forever if they are absolutely terrible and do not be afraid to break it off if the relationship stinks, because your clients are a priority! Interview and meet with several different people as potential back-up doulas.

Some doula businesses even run on a two-doula method, where two doulas attend prenatal appointments, births, and postpartum together, or they alternate attendance. There are also doula agencies that clients may receive one of several different doulas. If this is something you are interested in, you should definitely explore it for your business, they are cool models of business!

Three of our Doula students supporting each other!

Hospital Birth Makes My Skin Crawl

I love birth but some aspects of birth are very triggering to me, it literally makes my skin crawl.  
 
I support women’s choice to birth wherever they feel most comfortable. The woods? I’m with that. Your house? Call me, I’ll show up! Birthing center? I support it, but you won’t be hiring me. The hospital? I support that choice too! – but I, physically cannot support you there. I have nothing to offer a woman that chooses a medicalized birth. Be it a birthing center, hospital, or any other assisted setting. 

Image from YouTube

If a woman births in these locations, she is literally signing her birth over to the provider’s power and discretion. If the provider feels mom needs an episiotomy, forceps use, a cesarean, etc., she will endure this and it will be legal, even if she is screaming “NO”. She can sue, but from what I see, she will not win. How can I support a woman with zero rights, who legally, cannot support herself? I’d be happy to explain, feel free to ask. 

Image form megancrown.com

The trauma that occurs in these facilities is not worth any set dollar amount for me to endure witnessing. I’m not down with the secondary trauma involved in assisted birth. Some women are strong enough to watch this all play out, and sleep at night – I cannot.  

Here’s something many people do not know; I have never attended in support at a hospital birth. This does not mean I have not seen hospital birth. Don’t get it twisted, sistah. I am triggered in this setting – it is hard for me to watch all that a hospital birth has to offer, play out. Even in social media shared videos or photos – I won’t look, I do not want to see that. In fact, I will not step foot into a facility unless there is a case of an emergency. In this case, I would be the most fierce guard dog for mom. This has not been necessary thus far. I personally will only attend births where the mother is 100% in control of her birth and choices being made.

Image found on google

When I see assisted birth photos or videos, the items listed below are what make me cringe. I literally want to throw up when I see these things. I wasn’t always this way! Only after learning what birth could be for women, do I cringe at the sight of anything less.
 
 
The room itself, the setup, the equipment, the tubes and cords, the bed, the baby table, the hazardous waste bin, and the privacy curtain.  

The needle in mom’s arm, taped to her with cords and tubes. 

The crowd of people in the room, most being random strangers mom has never met before, and the excessive energy that will impact mom. 

The harmful constant fetal monitoring bands on moms’ belly, penetrating baby constantly.  

The unnecessary interventions being performed by the medically mined provider. 

Mom confined on her back, like a helpless victim. 

Mom’s positioning during birth and there immediately after – often, legs spread, up in the air, with a light shining right on the women’s vagina. Very degrading and disempowering. 

The provider pulling baby from the vagina or interfering manually in any unnecessary sense.  

The Placenta being pulled/tugged only an hour or less after birth as if they cannot wait for the woman’s body to release it. 

The bracelets on mom. Plastic rubbing against laboring women’s skin. 

The horrid hospital gowns, making one look like an unwell patient of illness. 

Gloved hands being the hands welcoming baby earth side. 

The immediate wiping off of the baby. 

The separation of mom and baby immediately postpartum.  

The suctioning of baby’s mouth and unnecessary handling of baby. 

The staff uniforms, from the shirt to the shoes. 

The gloves and masks worn by people present, as if it is a toxic event. 

The rough handling of baby after birth. 

The plastic bands placed on the newborn’s arms and legs after arrival. 

The ointment in baby’s eyes, interfering with physiological bonding and wiping out all good flora/bacteria. 

The band aids on baby’s legs from the injections they snuck in almost immediately postpartum. 

The unnecessary and hindering hat placed on the newborn baby. 

The hustle and bustle immediately postpartum 

The PURE lacking of autonomy and biological normality’s in labor, birth, and postpartum.  

I could go on but it is impeding my energy.  

Image from Instagram

Nothing about any of the above or the actions occurring in this setting are physiological. It starts out medicalized from the second mom walks in. Putting plastic bands on her arms, needle in her arm, monitoring bands on her belly, and whatever else they can deem necessary. Almost as if there is some sort of emergency occurring, not a biological function. 

Image from Youtube

I am not comfortable with this, and that’s okay! Many women aren’t comfortable with unassisted birth either, I’m sure. Seeing something I know is often better off untouched, being touched and turned into a medicalized event, brings me so much anxiety. I stay away from settings that can contort my view of birth, give me anxiety, or are likely to leave me with secondary trauma and stress. The medicalized birth setting is not for me, I simply am not best fit to serve in this setting. It literally makes my skin crawl. 

 
*NOTE: This is simply my perspective and feelings surrounding hospital birth. I do not need your agreement or understanding to make them valid. I also know that not all of the list above occurs in all facility birth, no need to point out the obvious. 

Image from Google

Become a Certified Doula in Tampa this September

Who:

Anyone wishing to certify as a doula/birthkeeper and obtain hands-on placenta training. This certified program is best suited to those who are interested in the more holistic route of birth support.

What:

A one-day training program (which includes access to an online course) which will certify you as a birth doula and cover topics like placenta encapsulation, herbs and homeopathy during childbirth, and much more!

When:

September 21, 2019 from 8:00am – 5:00pm

Where:

Hilton Garden Inn Tampa-Wesley Chapel
26640 Silver Maple Pkwy, Wesley Chapel FL, 33544

IMPORTANT! If you would like to participate in the training, you must send our Facebook page or email a request for a Paypal invoice. Please provide your paypal email address in this message. Our Facebook page is Holistically Empowered Rebel Birthkeepers Academy of Learning and our email is herbalbirthkeeping@gmail.com

All HERBAL training payments are sent via invoice. It is required.

What’s In The Doula Bag?!

HERBAL is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

This list can be used for not only birth workers, but birthing peoples may want to gather these items for themselves!

The items I have marked as a rental means they are items doulas should not necessarily be using on a client, as doulas are not medical professionals, but they are items that most clients need/want, therefore it’s a great idea to rent them out during prenatals/births, rather than the clients having to purchase their own!

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You may click any of the supplies you are interested in, to be taken to a link of the product brand that we have used, and recommend!

Aloe Vera Gel (excellent to replace lubricant for a doppler, minor burns, skin healing and more)

Helios Homeopathy (hundreds of remedies, comes with a guide book)

Cramp Bark Tincture (for those brutal postpartum cramps that some mamas get)

Shepherds Purse Tincture (for excessive bleeding post-placental delivery, NO USE BEFORE PLACENTA HAS BEEN DELIVERED IT MAY CAUSE RETAINMENT)

Motherwort Tincture (excessive bleeding prior to and after placental delivery):

Washcloths (Mamas can use for compress, or cool cloths on the back/forehead/chest):

Authentic Rebozo (ALWAYS support businesses that derive from the culture that originally crafted the utilization of the Rebozo)

Baby Blankets

Heating Pad

Snacks (for you and whomever else needs them)

Birth Ball

Blood Pressure Cuff (for rental, no diagnosing allowed on your part as a birth worker)

Doppler & Fetoscope (for rental as well), check on LetGo, OfferUp and Marketplace for barely used ones!

Baby/Fundal Height Measurement Tape (rental)

Baby Scale (rental)

High-dose Vitamin C & Bromelain capsules

Sitz Herbal Blend

Essential Oils.. My favorites are Rose, Orange, Lemon, Myrrh, Frankincense, Patchouli and Sandalwood 

Phone Charger

Contact Solution/Glasses (if you wear them)

Handheld Mirror

Hair Ties 

Ziploc (Gallon Freezer) for Placenta

Honey Sticks

Combs

Non-Latex Gloves 

Cord Ties

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Multiple copies of client’s birth plan

Your ID, especially for hospital births, it will be REQUIRED to enter!

Did I miss something that helped you?? Drop a comment!!

 

Birthing Self Confidence – How your Birth Empowers Life Going Forward

It is beautiful watching women evolve through pregnancy and child birth. It is no secret that birth is transformational, though most have no idea how significant this transformation is. Most have no idea that their birth choices, especially place of birth, can impact their entire life going forward.

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Photo of Kara-Louise Hoppo and baby, freebirthed Jan. 2nd 2019

Some women leave their birth experience feeling traumatized. Many spend their postpartum trying to heal from their experience. Some left with PTSD for the rest of their life. This can impact postpartum, causing many women to become depressed or experience postpartum depression and/or anxiety.

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Photo of Hannah Lee and baby freebirthed on May 24th 2017

After a traumatic birth, many women feel broken, as if their body failed them or is faulty compared to the average woman. When really, it was not her body that failed. Most importantly, a traumatic birth can impact the way mom and baby bond. No good!

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Photo of Anonymous with baby freebirthed on August 1st 2018

Some women, on the other hand plan their birth. They self educate on pregnancy and physiological birth process, get familiar with what to expect in birth, they may or may not hire a provider, only after diligently questioning the provider to get a sense of their view of birth. They choose a location that feels safest to them, and they manifest a positive and healthy birth.

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Photo of myself (Desirae) and my first freebirth baby June 6th 2017

They experience their empowered birth, whatever that is for the woman, a planned cesarean or freebirth and everything in between! They are then left with something a woman cannot gather elsewhere. The empowerment and invincibility a woman carries for the rest of her days, after bringing forth life in empowerment, is irreplaceable.

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Photo of Anonymous and baby freebirthed on May 9th 2019

This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed as a Birthkeeper of unassisted and physiological birth. I see timid, modest, and ambivalent women blossom into unassailable, indomitable, secure, assertive, and self confident women. Women who used to be passive or acquiescent, transform into assertive, tenacious beings. Unafraid to stand ground and speak their own truth!

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Photo of Danielle Snelling and baby on August 11th 2015

I see women who previously did not see their worth go on to gain security in their own self and hold themselves on higher ground. These women transform into invincible powerhouses that will carry on through out the rest of their life. They are empowered – this is what empowerment is!

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Photo of Treva Ansbach and baby freebirthed on December 16th 2018

Birth is such a crucial experience, knowing what to expect and making educated choices for your birth is important! Your confidence and knowledge surrounding birth plays a huge roll on outcome.

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Photo of Jordan Cloyd and baby born April 3rd 2019

You do not want to be in labor, uneducated, just doing as instructed by a medical provider. That is how you end up with a traumatic experience. Be informed, know what to expect, choose your birth location and birth team with vigilance and diligence.

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Photo of Gloria and identical babies, freebirthed on March 9th 2019

What you choose absolutely will impact the rest of your life, set yourself up for success! As Ina May states, “Wherever and however you give birth, your experience will impact your emotions, your mind, your body, and your spirit for the rest of your life.”

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Photo of myself after my second freebirth on June 15th 2019

All women pictured I know personally and found empowerment in their birthing experience. Many of the births I was present for or showed up there after and I can tell you first hand, transformation was apparent, even in the moments immediately postpartum. These women are empowered for life, and you can be too!

Find out how you can empower yourself and other women to achieve this happiness and empowerment by visiting our freebirth course. And if you’d like to help other mothers achieve this empowerment, don’t forget to have a look at our birthkeeper course.
Be the change in birth, help women find this place of bliss and life time fulfillment of empowerment. Supporting women as they go through the journey and transformation of pregnancy and birth!
Join us – you won’t regret it!

How Your Struggles Can Make You A Better Birth Worker

In your life, even after becoming a birth worker, there will be hills, speed bumps, pot holes, and road blocks along the way. While we’re going through it, and it feels like we will never come out of it, or understand why it is happening to us, we can envision what this will do for our future, and as the light at the end of the tunnel starts to become brighter, perhaps we can turn the struggles into our advantages, if we choose to visualize our journey that way.

Allow me to preface by saying I do not ever intend to belittle or invalidate someones current feelings or situation. You have every right to feel those negative feelings and be upset that the world is not spinning in your favor, at this time. Instead, I would like this post to be encouraging and uplifting, rather than be perceived as toxic positivity.

My mindset will be more easily explained by sharing how my own struggles have helped me, personally, improve as a birth worker.

My Story

In 2015, I was intending a home water birth. Instead, my midwife abandoned me, I had a hospital birth that was not even remotely close to my birth plan, and it resulted in a fair amount of trauma. At this time, my career was a police dispatcher and my goals were to go to the police academy and become an officer. My birth plans drastically changing made me realize I needed to serve my community in birth work rather than in uniform. In 2016, I began that journey to be a birth worker.

In 2018, I was a surrogate to twins and it went horribly, but I learned SO MUCH about multiples pregnancy, surrogacy, IVF, and the interventions involved in a multiples birth, as well as primal trauma, and how it feels to be absolutely used. This granted me so much patience, taught me more about informed consent, showed me what a “high-risk pregnancy” looks like from the patient’s perspective, and I was able to carry this knowledge into my birth work to serve such a broader range of clients.

In 2019, I suffered multiple miscarriages, my son was diagnosed with leukemia, and then he was taken away from us because we delayed treatment to seek a second opinion on his chemotherapy protocol. The losses helped me connect further with the bereavement side of my birth work. My son’s diagnosis taught me how to grasp more medical terms, read lab work more effectively, and communicate with doctors in a different way. Having Noah taken away has taught me a lot about how CPS, dependency case law and court, works, which can help a lot of families in the birth world, surprisingly, especially those that choose home births.

Turning Trauma into Healing

That being said, if you feel like something in your life is hindering you, a past trauma, or a struggle you are currently going through, I offer you a challenge that may help.

Take a moment this week to write down your struggles individually, and for each struggle, I challenge you to find how that struggle can bring you a new gift and new experience for your career. If you feel ready, offer that as something you have experience in on your website, it may help a family that has been or is going through something similar, connect with you better. It is way okay to be open about our struggles, previous or current, as they are not just struggles, they are LIFE EXPERIENCES.

A few examples of experiences, which may seem un-favorable and potentially even morbid, to discuss on a professional website might be:

  • Domestic Violence (1/4 women experience this.. if you get more than 4 women to view your website, one of them is likely a fellow victim that appreciates that you understand her prior or current journey)
  • Loss & Fertility Struggles (Loss statistics are at about 1/4.. Infertility is about 1/8.. This applies to so many)
  • Special Needs
  • Single Parenthood
  • Gender Transition
  • Teen Parenthood
  • C-Section History
  • Addiction

What else can you think of, or may want to share from your own personal experience, that could actually do you or others a service in regards to birth work?

I always love to be able to turn something hard, into something positive and something to look forward to and utilize, and I hope to share and help others do the same.

Taylor

 

 

Why I will not Attend a Hospital Birth as a Birthkeeper

One of my largest biases when it comes to birth is location.
I am very biased on where a woman delivers her child – so much so, I refuse to attend births in a facility setting. I have no problem admitting this and speaking on why.

I’m sure many of the main stream birth providers will be angry about this as many are trained to accept and assist all walks of life, and that’s okay!

I personally choose to acknowledge and respect my biases in respect for the women I serve and for myself. Bias is something I previously spoke on if you are interested in learning more about it.

I (Desirae) am personally really not about hospital birth. I’ve had 2 myself and I am aware of what they have to offer. I know that once you get there, you put your birth into someone else’s hands, and with this, I do not agree.
This is not empowering.
This is not biological.
This is a disservice.

Why Do I Stay Away from Hospital Births?

You could have a perfect hospital birth that goes just the way you want! Sure, I’ve seen it! The issue with that is you won’t know for sure until delivery day. Your provider might respect you but then again, they might not. They might feel like an episiotomy is needed (when it is not), and that will be happening no matter what you say because they write it off as “medically necessary.” Say “NO” all you want, it doesn’t always stop them. I’ve seen this happen as well.

You can press charges, but good luck with that…

I’m not about secondary trauma either, I’ll pass. You literally couldn’t pay me to watch a woman endure the abuse that occurs during many hospital births. I will not stand next to a woman while a doctor reaches in to check her cervix when she is begging them to please not. I do not care to experience a woman being told “You must get the epidural or we will simply take you back for a cesarean”.

What a disruption to her birth energy! No thank you. That is NOT what I’m about to wake up for at 2 AM to go witness. I’d rather sleep. “Why is she there in the first place?”, is all that comes to mind.

When a law suit is drawn up over the abusive malpractice, I’d be dragged into it. Again, no thank you. I already know how those outcomes go.

I am not about trying to negotiate with a medically minded provider over their poor choices. It’s a waste of time trying to speak to someone with a “God complex” that feels they are most knowledgeable, I’ve done it. Their main goal (for most) is “keep my license” not, “follow mama’s birth plan”. Birth plans are nothing shy of a request during a hospital birth. Keeping licensure will always trump a mothers desires.

I do not attend births as a means of living. I do this on the side to assist women who feel empowered and trust in their body and baby. I only assist those who see birth for the spiritual and natural process that it is. I’m not about defending a birthing mother who does not trust her body enough to stay home. If she has fear, that means she has more research to do. Research is the answer. Not a hospital birth.

I always mention how insane it is that low risk women flock to hospitals to birth their young. Going to a place of emergency for a natural bodily function? Where’s the sense in that? Should I be showing up at a hospital so I can take a poop? I mean, I might get a hemorrhoid or get a tear in my anus. I should go there just to “be safe”, right?

I have no desire to support someone who doesn’t trust in their body’s ability. If you have fear, you need more knowledge, not more unnecessary assistance.

There are birth attendants and doulas that will attend those medically minded hospital births. There are many women who will attend hospital births and don’t mind watching the activity that occurs there.

I am not one.

I Love Home Birth

There is definitely a provider for everyone and I feel that is glorious! As for me, I support the small crowd of women who are empowered and see home birth as the only logical option.

Sometimes there are complications in the birth process, I get that, but let’s get back to the numbers… less than 5%. I feel hospital births happen out of fear. Fear from the birthing woman or her partner. It could also be because that is what the birthing mama was conditioned to believe was necessary!

Fear has no place in a soon-to-be mama’s heart. If she has fear, that is ok and normal by all means! She just needs more research. Not a hospital birth.

Hospitals have zero place in low risk births. If mama can’t trust herself at home, I can not assist her. & that’s ok! Ask someone else.

*I will also note that in the case of emergency, I would transfer with my clients. I will never put my desires above her emergency needs. I do know when to pull the plug and have zero problem doing so. I would go into that facility and defend her like a guard dog, as if my life depended on it. I’d literally push a medical doctor out of the way and run into the hall demanding a new one if mama and I did not agree with their practice. My passion runs deep. My past experiences would be set aside for her. In a true emergency, a hospital birth is the best bet. It can save lives, I will not deny. I’m simply saying that if a low risk mama doesn’t trust her body and baby enough, or realizing the safest place for a healthy birth is at home, I can not assist her; I am not the best fit.

-Desirae

Birthkeeper/Doula Training in Baltimore, MD

As a growing number of families are actively seeking out doulas to attend their births, a huge opportunity for employment opens up to many. And, while more and more doulas are just beginning their journey on this remarkable career path, they seek mentorship, community, and hands-on training.

On August 3, 2019, only in Baltimore Maryland, HERBAL is offering and exclusive hands-on doula training opportunity! With a unique and personal touch, HERBAL is providing a training unlike any other!

During this training, you will have the opportunity to learn about:

  • The Physiologics of Childbirth – Discuss the varying hormones and natural chemicals in the body, and how they play a role in birth, what disrupts them and how you can orientate your birth or birth support to gear towards the physiological birth process.
  • Herbalism for Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth & Postpartum (Make your own tincture, sitz bath, yoni steam, etc)
  • Nutrition – Discuss how nutrition impacts fertility, pregnancy, birth and postpartum, how you can relay this to your clients and how to help families build meal plans (and learn how to eat healthy yourself!)
  • Placenta 101 (WE DO OUR BEST TO FEATURE REAL PLACENTAS SO YOU CAN EXPLORE THEM – If you would like to donate one or know someone who would, please us our Contact page to discuss how this would work!) Discussing anatomy, physiology, hormones, anecdotal benefits, safety and sanitation, variations, complications, encapsulation, other methods of consumption and non-consumptive methods.
  • Birth Scenarios – Role play different birth settings, practice handling a range of emotions, complaints (non-medical) and discussing options with your clients, with our birth scenarios. Includes bereavement/loss, adoption, surrogacy, planned cesarean, change of birth plan due to emergency, precipitous birth, prolonged labor, hospital interventions that may arise, birth center roles, home birth roles and unassisted birth roles, and how to protect yourself and act professional in every setting.
  • Natural Pain Management Techniques – Learn how to best support yourself or your clients through labor with inexpensive pain relief options, including JUST YOUR HANDS. Discusses an array of rebozo techniques, counter pressure, position practice, reflexology, and more.