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Musings About Forging My Own Path in Birth Work

Sometimes on the road to finding our truth, we lose people who were more comfortable with who we were when we were still seeking. When we are lost, we’re too caught up in simply finding our way to shake things up or forge a different path.

I believe that my perspectives on birth, life, freedom, and choice are more widely-held than perhaps it feels to me in this moment. However, in speaking authentically and offering myself in a genuine way, I have lost support from some in my community who I’d believed were open to differing viewpoints and the wider array of options they provide to those we serve. They represented themselves as having a desire for collaboration and cooperation to change a system that overall does a large disservice to women seeking both respect for and support of their honest, autonomous choices in birth.

Initially, I allowed myself to feel hurt by this, but I after some reflection I recognize that my approach and my stance is not for everyone. Choosing to disengage from a system, whether is be medical or governmental, that is entirely without integrity or regard for the very people it has claimed to serve is a scary concept for many. What I care about at the end of the day is being honest and authentic with myself and the women I am fortunate enough to support.

In many ways, one doula or birth companion or birth attendant looks very much like any other and a mother who chooses to hire one will most certainly get wonderful support. But our responsibility to ourselves and our clients is to do the deeper work and uncover what it is that constitutes the heart of this calling for us, that defines us in this work that touches women and babies in their most vulnerable, transformative moments. What comes up may not fit in the mainstream and embodying that path may make people uncomfortable. And that’s okay, because that discomfort also reveals those who welcome change and diversity, and those who prefer that things remain largely the same. I am not for those people and, it turns out, they are not for me. We are both, however, the right choice for someone, and that is what is most important. Choice.

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