Monday, October 29, 2012

Radical Doulas

One of "my" doulas was at a clinic the other day and she met a resident who apparently had worked with me in a hospital birthing room some months ago. The resident made two comments about me: "Rivka doesn't like me because I'm a man". And "she concentrates on the woman - we are just there as technicians to catch the baby".

Funny, I like men generally. I wonder if he could think a little deeper about why I may have given him the cold shoulder. Was he treating my client with disrespect? Was he reading the situation closely? Did he have the woman's best interests at heart? Was he acting according to protocol, to science, or to "ghost protocols" (those ones that get left over at hospitals because they are too hard to change)? Was he working from his heart? Did he ask my client to lie down when she was pushing perfectly well in a squat? Was he scared?

And "she concentrates on  the woman". Well, hello, that is what a doula is supposed to do. We are not there to make friends with the medical staff. I have very cordial relations with many of the nurses and physicians I work with. But I do not go into a hospital to make friends. I go into a hospital to provide my client with a safe place to give birth. That means that I make every effort to create a peaceful environment in which the woman can let go and do her work of birthing. I don't have to joke and laugh with residents. I can quietly whisper to the woman so that she is feeling good. I'm not interested in staring at her vulva as it opens. I've seen it lots of times, it is doing perfectly well, and there is no medical need for me to do so.

If a woman is undergoing an intervention that I do not approve of, then I will definitely put my back to the staff and direct all my love and attention to the woman. Women DO undergo unnecessary interventions in the hospital, far too often. I am not talking about women who go into the hospital with a clear plan to be induced, have an epidural, and be happy. I am talking about the HUGE number of women who actually believe they can give birth naturally in the hospital environment.

These women are often treated badly by under-experienced residents.  If a woman has a small leak of amniotic fluid, that's no reason to admit her to the hospital two weeks before her EDD and then break her waters twelve hours later to stimulate labor. If a woman is happily pushing in a supported squat, there is no reason why she should lie down just because the doctor hasn't caught a baby that way. If I see a resident reaching for the amnihook, with his hand in a woman's body, I will say something. That something might be said in a gentle voice, but it probably won't be friendly. And the woman on the bed will appreciate my interference. I am not against a justified AROM. But you never insert something in a woman's vagina without telling her what you're planning on doing.
Do you?

Radical doulas, we need to stand up and speak out. Women are being treated badly in our hospitals and I am ready to take a stand.

I am taking notes of occasions where my clients have been abused during labor and childbirth. Please start to take notes too and we will start to create a manifesto.

Power to the birthing woman!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Montreal Birth Companions Radical Doulas



I am writing today mainly to praise and glorify! The radical, wonderful volunteer doulas who work alongside me in Montreal Birth Companions.

This month we are working with about ten women, from varied places across the globe, from China, Quebec, the Ukraine, the middle east and the Caribbean. I have each of these ladies assigned to two doulas, that's twenty doulas and many, many woman hours, and all of those hours are taken away from time spent at jobs, with family, or at other activities.

Some of the volunteers are doulas who are taking my doula course, but others are fully qualified doulas who still commit time to volunteering for this worthy cause.

MBC volunteers, you are amazing radical doulas. I love you all.


Montreal Birth Companions Radical Doulas



I am writing today mainly to praise and glorify! The radical, wonderful volunteer doulas who work alongside me in Montreal Birth Companions.

This month we are working with about ten women, from varied places across the globe, from China, Quebec, the Ukraine, the middle east and the Caribbean. I have each of these ladies assigned to two doulas, that's twenty doulas and many, many woman hours, and all of those hours are taken away from time spent at jobs, with family, or at other activities.

Some of the volunteers are doulas who are taking my doula course, but others are fully qualified doulas who still commit time to volunteering for this worthy cause.

MBC volunteers, you are amazing radical doulas. I love you all.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Birth and Beyond 2012

Birth and Beyond 2012 Having my AM coffee
Wow!!!! What a ride, these past few months!!

I had such a lovely train ride to London, Ontario. I like riding the slow train, and the Ontario coutryside is beautiful, and I enjoyed hearing the announcements in good English and lousy French (petty but true).
But I only took the train because I was scared to fly - so much unexpected stuff had happened in my life - in Italy the car was totalled, no details available, involved a 20 year old offspring (mine). But we were in Bali at the time so we got that text you never want to get:  "covered with blood car totalled please call".

Then my father died.

And its kind of like when a baby is planning on being born. You know its going to happen, and you have an approximate date, but you don't know exactly when, and when it does its a shock.





So I had a crazy solo trip from up on top of my mountain, which is a place of peace and air and refuge.









Down the mountain in the ramshackle little Fiat. Train to Florence, then Rome, on the plane. Sitting next to a lovely young couple who had just spent their week vacation in Rome - they were in love! And it's good they were sitting next to a birth attendant, because I don't think any old middle-aged woman would have been so comfortable with their seriously heavy petting!

I spent time with my family, trying to figure out how to properly say goodbye to an atheist scientist. We did a good job, and we all felt very lonely by the end....then it was the Jewish high holidays, they are called high because they are the most important festivals of the year, a time of introspection, taking stock, making peace with one another. I got back to my house in Montreal and discovered that my former partner is ill. Then a lovely volunteer I worked with in Bali passed away unexpectedly...

It was in the middle of the holidays that I had a wonderful opportunity to speak at the Birth and Beyond Conference. The conference was great - it was the first annual and for a new project it was very well attended. I am really looking forward to next year! We had the opportunity to listen to, and interact with, many wonderful people in the birth world including James McKenna, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Jodi Hall, and many others. The intimacy of the conference was lovely - everyone mingled and branched out. There was a wonderful art exhibition as well, and a drumming circle...please register for next year so that I can meet up with you all!

Upon my return, my husband's heart decided to act up. Not for lack of love. He is still in love, and gets love in return from me and my five sons. He is very active, eats well, is young (five years younger than me, anyway!). But his genes didn't tell him that he had some issues, and boom!

We are ok now, and thinking about some changes in our lives...

I posted a status update on my birthday this year - August 21, my father died on the 19th. I asked you all to give your loved ones some loving. Do it now.

Birth and Beyond 2012

Birth and Beyond 2012 Having my AM coffee
Wow!!!! What a ride, these past few months!!

I had such a lovely train ride to London, Ontario. I like riding the slow train, and the Ontario coutryside is beautiful, and I enjoyed hearing the announcements in good English and lousy French (petty but true).
But I only took the train because I was scared to fly - so much unexpected stuff had happened in my life - in Italy the car was totalled, no details available, involved a 20 year old offspring (mine). But we were in Bali at the time so we got that text you never want to get:  "covered with blood car totalled please call".

Then my father died.

And its kind of like when a baby is planning on being born. You know its going to happen, and you have an approximate date, but you don't know exactly when, and when it does its a shock.





So I had a crazy solo trip from up on top of my mountain, which is a place of peace and air and refuge.









Down the mountain in the ramshackle little Fiat. Train to Florence, then Rome, on the plane. Sitting next to a lovely young couple who had just spent their week vacation in Rome - they were in love! And it's good they were sitting next to a birth attendant, because I don't think any old middle-aged woman would have been so comfortable with their seriously heavy petting!

I spent time with my family, trying to figure out how to properly say goodbye to an atheist scientist. We did a good job, and we all felt very lonely by the end....then it was the Jewish high holidays, they are called high because they are the most important festivals of the year, a time of introspection, taking stock, making peace with one another. I got back to my house in Montreal and discovered that my former partner is ill. Then a lovely volunteer I worked with in Bali passed away unexpectedly...

It was in the middle of the holidays that I had a wonderful opportunity to speak at the Birth and Beyond Conference. The conference was great - it was the first annual and for a new project it was very well attended. I am really looking forward to next year! We had the opportunity to listen to, and interact with, many wonderful people in the birth world including James McKenna, Robbie Davis-Floyd, Jodi Hall, and many others. The intimacy of the conference was lovely - everyone mingled and branched out. There was a wonderful art exhibition as well, and a drumming circle...please register for next year so that I can meet up with you all!

Upon my return, my husband's heart decided to act up. Not for lack of love. He is still in love, and gets love in return from me and my five sons. He is very active, eats well, is young (five years younger than me, anyway!). But his genes didn't tell him that he had some issues, and boom!

We are ok now, and thinking about some changes in our lives...

I posted a status update on my birthday this year - August 21, my father died on the 19th. I asked you all to give your loved ones some loving. Do it now.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fall 2012

Autumn Leaves



So much has happened since the summer months - its hard to imagine that it's only been four months since I was preparing for my trip to Bali.
Yayasan Bumi Sehat is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Please have a look at their website, and make a donation if you can. I will be holding a fundraiser here in Montreal in the near future, and I plan to blog more about my experiences there over the next few months. In short, Bali is a wonderful place, and the Bumi Sehat clinic is next to its heart.
After my too-short stay in Bali, we traveled up to our hideaway in Italy, where we are slowly fixing up a pile of rocks we call our sometimes home. Our place on the mountain  started as a family project, on an isolated track off the beaten path in the mountains of Italy. Families grow and change, but the building, clearing, hiking and mushrooming stays the same. This past summer, we had a lot of work to do to repair the damage done by 2011's harsh winter. We finally got it all fixed up and we settled in to relax a little...
Back in Canada, several family events led me to realize that we are being invited, when we come into this reality, to take part in a magical mystery tour. The most important thing is to be kind to the ones around you. Show the people you love that you love them, each and every day. Don't take anything for granted. Thank you, I love you, and I'm sorry are important  phrases. Don't forget to use them.
More exciting news for the fall: Levels One and Two of the Birth Companions Doula Course are starting this weekend at Studio Vie. Visit my site and have a look at what's offered.
I am taking on more doula clients for the fall, as well as guiding women through the maze of birthing choices here in the city. I am always struggling to keep our wonderful volunteer organization afloat - if you are feeling generous and want to contribute to this very worthy cause, please visit Montreal Birth Companions.
Advice for 2012?
Be gentle with others. That includes birthing women and newborns.
Love each other.



Fall 2012

Autumn Leaves



So much has happened since the summer months - its hard to imagine that it's only been four months since I was preparing for my trip to Bali.
Yayasan Bumi Sehat is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Please have a look at their website, and make a donation if you can. I will be holding a fundraiser here in Montreal in the near future, and I plan to blog more about my experiences there over the next few months. In short, Bali is a wonderful place, and the Bumi Sehat clinic is next to its heart.
After my too-short stay in Bali, we traveled up to our hideaway in Italy, where we are slowly fixing up a pile of rocks we call our sometimes home. Our place on the mountain  started as a family project, on an isolated track off the beaten path in the mountains of Italy. Families grow and change, but the building, clearing, hiking and mushrooming stays the same. This past summer, we had a lot of work to do to repair the damage done by 2011's harsh winter. We finally got it all fixed up and we settled in to relax a little...
Back in Canada, several family events led me to realize that we are being invited, when we come into this reality, to take part in a magical mystery tour. The most important thing is to be kind to the ones around you. Show the people you love that you love them, each and every day. Don't take anything for granted. Thank you, I love you, and I'm sorry are important  phrases. Don't forget to use them.
More exciting news for the fall: Levels One and Two of the Birth Companions Doula Course are starting this weekend at Studio Vie. Visit my site and have a look at what's offered.
I am taking on more doula clients for the fall, as well as guiding women through the maze of birthing choices here in the city. I am always struggling to keep our wonderful volunteer organization afloat - if you are feeling generous and want to contribute to this very worthy cause, please visit Montreal Birth Companions.
Advice for 2012?
Be gentle with others. That includes birthing women and newborns.
Love each other.