I have 3 adorable little ones (I’m only a little biased). While I was pregnant with our first, my husband and I took birthing education classes at UMass. I was so determined to have an all-natural birth that when we discussed c-sections in class I completely zoned out. Little did I know at the time that she was in a breech presentation and that I would need a c-section. Although breech deliveries are safer than a c-section if you have a doctor or midwife that is trained in breech deliveries, our office did not have anyone that was. So, we proceeded with the section and I wished I was more prepared for everything. Plus, given that the other two kids followed so closely behind (the gap between the first 2 is 13 months, and the second 2 is 14 months) we ended up with repeat sections. Knowing what I know now, I would have fought more for a VBAC and I definitely would have hired a doula to help in us getting the birth we so desired!
This is one reason why I chose to partner with Rebecca Urban of Urban Arrivals – a doula with offices in Lancaster, MA and Cambridge, MA. I want to be sure the mothers I work with (and all mothers!) know that they can have an advocate that cares about them and their care and can help them have the birth they envision, if it’s possible. I was able to met up with Rebecca at a local favorite coffee shop (Coffeelands) and loved how personable and easy she was to talk to. Read on to learn more about her!
What can you tell me about yourself?
I’ve been married for 13 years and I have 5 children ages 10 and under (currently pregnant with #6!) I became a childbirth educator teaching The Bradley Method after the birth of my first child and I’ve been teaching classes continuously ever since.
What made you want to become a doula?
I became a doula after I had been teaching childbirth classes for a few years. I really bonded with my students over the course of our 12 week classes together, and I was bothered by the lack of continuity of care they were experiencing in the hospitals. A common issue was that they’d really bond with their doctor or midwife over the course of 9 months, only to be met by strangers (i.e. a different doctor or midwife, nurses they’d never met before, etc) while in labor. This really bothered me, and I first became a doula in hopes of helping to correct this problem of continuity of care for birthing families in the United States. I thought that at least I could be someone they could depend on while in labor; someone whom they knew would show up for them and know their history, fears, and hopes for their birth.
What’s your experience? Do you have any specialties?
Since I became a doula I’ve now attended over 200 births in a variety of settings – hospitals, birthing centers, and planned home births with midwives. I’m not sure I have any particular “specialties” per se, except for the experience that comes from having had 5 babies myself and having attended as many births as I have…at this point, walking into a hospital and building rapport with the staff has become very natural to me, and assisting a laboring woman has become intuitive.
Why do most people want to hire a doula?
There are so many reasons to hire a doula! And thankfully, we have the evidence to prove what we’ve always known to be true – that the presence of a doula in a labor reduces labor pain, lessens the chance of moms requesting pain medication, lessens the chance of cesarean section, and increases a mother’s satisfaction with her birth experience. Those are all great reasons to hire a doula. I think another one though that’s becoming more common, one which I mentioned earlier, is the lack of continuity of care in the United States maternity care system. Moms want to know that someone they’ve met before is going to show up for them in labor and advocate for them and support them – and really, is that too much to ask?
What do you see as the biggest benefit of having a doula at your delivery?
All of the reasons I mentioned above, but most especially, an increased satisfaction with their birth experience. You can only give birth to the same baby once, and it’s something a mom will remember for the rest of her life, so it’s important to do everything in one’s power to make it a positively memorable and empowering experience.
What about women like me that have had c-sections: how could a doula be beneficial to us?
It’s amazing to me that many people don’t know there are so many choices available to moms who need or whom are planning cesarean births! It is still the birth of one’s baby, and it is still an experience the mom will remember for the rest of her life – knowing her options and being able to prepare ahead of time can make the experience much more positive.
Why are you excited to partner with Knit Together Photography?
One of the reasons I’m passionate about birth is because it’s an experience a mom will remember forever…and I like to help make the memory of her birth positive for her. As a photographer, you do similar work – capturing moments of joy that families can look back on and cherish.