This guest post is by Lauren Patterson, a member of Richmond Doulas and a ToLabor birth doula.
Lauren generously shared her birth story with Richmond Doulas here.
When I found out I was pregnant, it was not by surprise. That’s what conceiving via intrauterine insemination (IUI) will get you—thinking about nothing but getting pregnant every minute of the day from the moment you decided you were ‘ready’ to have a baby 2 years ago (those of who have been through infertility can understand this new kind of crazy).
What was a little bit of a surprise; however, was that once I was given the clear from our fertility doctor to move on to normal prenatal care, the choice of provider was up to me. Wait, you mean there are choices? My go-to plan was to find an Obstetrician (OB) who my friends and family recommended. But then I learned of a friend’s experience with a Midwife group, and that’s when everything changed.
I started learning the differences in OB vs. Midwifery care. Here’s a snapshot of what went on in my brain:
‘My pregnancy is low risk, but you’re telling me that OBs are trained heavily in interventions that are needed to treat complications of pregnancy and serious medical conditions?!’ *Don’t get me wrong; I am so thankful that we have modern medicine and obstetrics, which is responsible for drastically improving women’s health outcomes and saving lives.
‘The countries who rank highest for infant and maternal health rely much more strongly on the midwifery care model and use obstetricians only for high-risk pregnancies?!’
‘There are magical creatures called Midwives that practice from the philosophy that pregnancy, labor and birth are natural and normal processes?!’ (not at all like conceiving on a table in stirrups, btw)
You can see where this is going…midwifery care was definitely the right choice for me (unless I needed OB care, which is why I chose to give birth in a hospital).
From that point on, the transition to birth junkie was fairly natural but TOTALLY INTENSE. The more I learned about birth, hormones, the choices I was entitled to make about my body and my baby and my medical care (the list goes on), the more I realized that THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT STUFF!
And as I was sharing my new passion with the people around me, very few seemed to get it (the people who mattered got on board when they realized there was no putting out this fire). People had a range of responses to my birth talk, but the six words that changed everything came from a fellow pregnant coworker, ‘The less I know, the better.’
All at once, I was confused and angry, but mostly, I was sad. I was sad that many of the women I had talked to about all of this told me of their horrible birth stories—how they were uninformed, in excruciating pain and scared. I was sad that our culture tells us that birthing our babies is a terrifying experience. I was sad that so many women don’t feel good about their birth stories and that they don’t feel like active participants in how they birth their babies.
I knew that I wanted to be someone who could help educate the people in my life about the importance of knowing. I knew that I needed to continue to learn everything I could about evidence-based care and the fundamental human rights we have as birthing people. I knew that I was meant to find a way to support pregnant people and their families through the processes of pregnancy, labor and birth. And I knew that no matter how we plan to birth our babies, whether it is through planned cesarean, with an epidural or with no pain management at all, we all deserve to feel respected and loved.
The rest is history.
Lauren Patterson is a professional Birth Doula, currently certifying through toLabor. After the birth of her daughter, she felt an intense internal pull towards doing birth work. She is captivated by this profession and has a strong belief that prenatal education and a supportive birth team are the building blocks to a positive birth experience. Lauren is committed to providing care that is unique to her clients and the way that they wish to birth, whatever way that may be. She believes the importance of a family's birth experience is monumental and lasts a lifetime. For more information or to contact Lauren, visit www.lpdoula.com