Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Story of Ellie's Birth

In honor of World Doula Week, March 22-28, 2013, I am posting as many birth stories as I have submitted! I want to share stories of women who had doula support for their birth and how they feel they benefited from the experience.

If you would like to share your story, please submit it by email. Include anything you wish to, but particularly how and why you chose to have a doula at your birth, what she did, and how you feel it made your birth experience a positive one.

Now, please welcome my dear and long time friend Sarah.

Just a little less than thirteen years ago, I was a teen pregnancy statistic. I was nineteen years old, pregnant, unwed, and clueless. And, needless to say, scared! I was pretty much a kid myself. All I really knew was that I loved my baby before I ever saw her face, and I didn't want to let her down. I wanted to be a good mom. So, I got connected to a fantastic support group called Crisis Pregnancy Outreach. They are a non-profit organization that helps out girls who are pregnant and don't know what to do. They set me up with my first doctors appointment, helped me out with maternity clothes, and I had access to counseling and breastfeeding support. They also run an open adoption service, which is amazing. One of the coolest things they offered was a doula for Ellie's birth. I had never even heard of a doula!
Now, everyone who knows me knows that I am a book nerd. If I can educate myself about something, I will find every resource I can and just dig in. With the support of my doctor and my doula, I researched and wrote a birth plan. I was empowered to decide to do things differently than most birth experiences go.
When I started having contractions, I called my doula before I called my doctor. With her encouragement, I decided to stay home for awhile, and labor in the comfort of my own, well, my shower actually. The next morning, she met me at the hospital with a giant exercise ball and a lot of patience. She was my advocate with the hospital staff. When things started to stall, she made sure I was free to walk the halls. She made sure the people I wanted to be in the room were there. She encouraged me, and told me I was strong. That night, after making it through a natural birth and holding my beautiful daughter, I believed that I was, indeed, strong.
At nineteen years old, facing single-motherhood, there were a million reasons to believe that I was too weak, too young to get through a natural birth, let alone being a decent parent. My doula treated me with respect, demanded respect on my behalf, and taught me to respect my own instincts. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything.
This week was Ellie's twelfth birthday, and my thirty-second. After all these years, I still second-guess whether or not I'm cut out to be a mom. I would guess that most moms do. I am still able to go back to my birth experience as a touchstone of strength, though. I was able to begin my life as a mom empowered, educated, and supported. It's made all the difference.

Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your story. You ARE strong. You are beautiful, and you ARE a wonderful mother!

For more information about World Doula Week, please see their website here.

For more information about Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, please see their website here.

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