It’s been awhile! The blog has been collecting dust for far too long not because I haven’t been working away on things but because I have. This year has presented its own challenges from the changes COVID has inflicted on all of us, to the increase in visibility of the senseless acts of police brutality forcing a more inclusive national conversation with the Black Lives Matter movement, and the whip lash actions the federal administration has made towards the rights of the folks who identify as LGBQT plus. As much as these are heart breaking places to work from I feel hopeful that we will be able to drive the conversation and include more folks in it than ever before.
2020 has been a year of non-stop learning. Before COVID 19 I was working with more doula and midwifery clients in the first half of the year then I often do over the course of a year! When the COVID19 restrictions were put into place it forced me to rethink the way I offer those services. I have always worked in person with families and prided myself on that deep work we did in preparation and then in the hours leading up to birth as well as during the birth and postpartum period. When the state wide mandate was issued not allowing me as a doula into our local hospital unless I was chosen over the partner of the person giving birth, I had to look at adapting. I moved to virtual doula support and poured myself into spending time with families in preparation for birth. We met virtually twice as much as we did with in person preparation. During the labor families could utilize my support while they were at home for either in person services which included my clinical midwifery skills should they chose or virtual support. Once they went to the hospital I was available virtually until discharge and through the first 6 weeks postpartum. I didn’t know what to think about this new format but did the best I could and really worked to meet each family’s needs. The feedback I received was heartwarming. Spending the time to get to know people, supporting them in their journey, and helping them acclimate to life with a new baby proved to be valuable and worked well for these families birthing in this new, hopefully temporary, normal. Midwifery care enjoyed its moment in the sun too. For the first time I can remember conversations were being had from families all the way up to large hospitals looking at the safety of birthing at home. I had conversations locally and at the state level to navigate how best to help families access home birth services. Nurse midwives were advocating to their administration to offer their services at home, families were talking to their care providers about switching to home birth, and families made hard decisions both financially and in a paradigm shifting way to consider birthing at home. In an ideal world these conversations wouldn’t have to be had in the face of fear from a global pandemic. I feel hopeful the conversation is being had and homebirth is being seen as a viable and safe option for low risk families who choose to birth at home.
I have always known but have recently been reaffirmed to listen to families and honor their unique situation and desires, and to provide support. Today’s insight came from a podcast I listened to by Reshma Saujani, founder of Girls Who Code. She’s written a book called Brave, not perfect. She encourages us to “move away from the pull of perfectionism, which will only make you more anxious, and towards a life that is bolder, braver, and ultimately happier.” I feel these words are on point for the families I work with and for me. There are so many trappings that we need to unpack when we prepare to become parents and as we move through life. There are trappings when I think about the way I have been a birth worker for 12 years. This blog is a tiny step to walk with bravery beside the families I work with and provide a voice for these families in the greater conversation of equality.