I don't even know where I want to begin with this one, so I'm going to just aim and get on with my feelings.
Being in the birth world means I hear lots of reproduction stories, from families who have hired me to provide them with skilled doula support, to friends and family wanting to share, to the woman in the grocery market in Plymouth who noticed my "doula" tee shirt and stops to talk in the orange juice section, sharing deep emotions rooted in a traumatic or jubilant experience. I'm there for it all. I'm all ears. I'm present no matter her story, choices, or outcome.
Women especially want to share their reproduction story with someone. It's ingrained in their soul. I have sat with women who have literally given everything to be with child and may or may not have seen their dream come true, to the women who have had to part with souls before they were born on earth, the women who birthed the exact way they were hoping for, the woman abused unknowingly during birth, the water births, the medicated births, the precipitous births, and the 3 day inductions that ended up cesarean births. I have heard this and everything in between. And, I haven't been a doula for very long. These stories are indelible. They make my heart pound, my eyes well up, and my lips quiver. Reproduction excites me no matter the story. Do I tire of hearing the ups and downs? No. I'm not worried, my heart will just grow as these women find a safe space within it.
Birth fascinates me. It should! Beyond the expected and routine (news flash: birth is hardly ever either of those!), it's the emotions that journey with us long after the physical pain has subsided. Happy, satisfied emotions can accompany an experience even if it veered off the charted course, and dark, shattered emotions can be carried on after an occurrence that was "uneventful" , but the family is left feeling violated and disturbed. We think about our experiences often. We dream of what could've been or live in that space of "it was what it was", or acceptance.
I have women tell me that they were treated like VIPs or got the "rockstar treatment " (and I'm not exactly sure what that means), and others tell me they were virtually ignored as they called out for help, or shushed because they were "too loud". I hear women share stories that they trusted they were in the best of care, and others tell me they were left with many unanswered questions. I want to make it my quest to level the playing field here. To work towards all families feeling like VIPs, or "rock stars", because every family, every baby born to this world deserves the same treatment, care, and support. I live in a dream world, I know. I'm not ashamed to tell you that birth equality is a lifelong mission. Because, I believe I can make a difference. No family should ever have to question why they didn't feel unconditional love, support, and access to unbiased information. I will love on anyone seeking my support equally and fairly, and I hope families will ask the same of their medical providers.
My role in the birth world may metamorphasize over time, and I'm okay with that. I'm in it for life, one way or another. I won't be satisfied until everyone gets the full "reproductive rockstar" treatment.
Lindsay Miller is a registered nurse, certified labor doula and birth educator as well as postpartum doula and lactation educator. She lives in Kingston with her three kiddos and partner. Find her: firstname.lastname@example.org