I met another birth doula the other day. In this area of the world, that's quite a surprising event! I thought I was the only practicing doula around these parts...we spent a good couple hours talking about birth, our experiences, our dreams for the future as far as maternity care. She, like me, is frustrated. We live in a small town, and although the medical community pays lip service to natural birth and doulas, we haven't exactly been extended the welcome mat. I have done a total of zero births in our community hospital. The only interest I have had is in the Big City hospital over an hour away. As my colleague says, we "can't give them away".
Here we are, ready, willing, eager. I know firsthand that we offer a service which can make a huge difference in the way a woman births. With a c-section rate of 1 in 3 (US stats, but Canada is near there), you would think that women would jump at the chance of halving their risk of cesarean. You'd think that they would love the idea of being more relaxed during birth, or dealing with the stress and pain better, of lowering their risk of mechanical births (forceps, vaccuum, etc). Breastfeeding rates in this province are the lowest in all of Canada, but this doesn't seem to bother the masses.
Last week, I called the guidance counsellor at the local high school. I explained who I was, what a doula does and asked him to please pass my name along to the pregnant girls at the school. He'd never heard of doulas, but he seemed interested and said that he'd keep me in mind. Obviously, these births will be pro bono - but when you can't give them away, what else can you do?
I need one more birth in order to get my certification. The deadline is May, so the pressure is on. I'm crossing my fingers.