Expecting Kindness is the curriculum that I wrote as a contribution to improving the dialogue between expecting families and their care providers. The 8 week course that I have developed in conjunction with the workbook is an in depth exploration of the birth process, addresses common concerns, normal variations in childbirth, storytelling, activities to build skills and trust in the labor process, in the mothers' and babys' bodies, and in the partners support. We talk about all manner of physical, emotional and mental support techniques to prepare a birth partner to really be an important member of the birth team, and an invaluable presence to a laboring woman. It is a very fun course, families have overwhelming left feeling more relaxed, confident, empowered, centered, and ready for their birth. Following the births, families have also overwhelmingly reported having used a great deal of the skills and tools taught in class and felt prepared for the physical and emotional challenges of labor as well as being able to make challenging choices for the well being of mom or baby when it became necessary.
I remember reading once that any woman over the age of 12 can attend a woman in labor. The role is highly maternal and I completely understand why someone said it. I also believe that just attending is not always enough. A couple hundred years ago, women would be surrounded by the women in her community during her labor. Usually the primary attendants would be women who had given birth and women who had attended many others, but I'm sure the circle of women was larger than that. They would all have borne witness to normal/physiologic labor, labor without intervention. Today, many of the women who have gone before us, our mothers, maybe even grandmothers are often great distances away from us and have experienced and witnessed a far more medicalized version of the birth process. The world has changed. Now, professional doulas serve women because we are experienced in modern birth practices, outside of the hospital, and within. We go through trainings, we read, we attend, and read some more. We learn from classes, midwives, nurses, doctors, and from the women we support. Our job is not to make choices for you, but to educate you, hopefully inspire you, inform you about choices and options you may have, listen to you and try to calm your worries and fears, empower you to become the mother you want to be, and to support your partner in being what he/she needs to be, wants to be in your support. We are charged with assisting you with your physical, emotional, and mental comfort and well being throughout your pregnancy, labor, and beyond. If you are in the greater Seattle are and wish to talk more about what I can offer, I invite you to contact me.