Monday, December 5, 2011

Special Needs Births

When I say "special needs", I'm not talking about a physical or mental disability.  It is a disability of trust.

Dads can feel that they'll be too queasy to make it through a birth process.  I've been hired many times because the dad felt he would faint and wanted his wife to still have support.  But dads are amazing support, and they step up to the challenge of labor and the fear of fainting disappears with the excitement of the birth!

A larger category of special needs families are the couple who had a traumatic first birth.  Over the years I've worked with many families with this background. Perhaps they went into their first birth experience, feeling ready, but then quickly felt all control/decisions were taken out of their hands and the result felt traumatic for them. Some of them ended up with many interventions, some ended up in surgery.  Some moms felt no one paid any attention to them or their needs and the dads felt useless. The couple felt helpless, and ultimately were in love with their baby but unhappy with the birth.

When the second baby was on its' way, they looked for help, a doula.  I think one of  the greatest benefits of a doula is a confidence in birth. We've seen birth hundreds of times work out beautifully.  They provide a support to  the couple that their voice matters.  So as they approach this next experience, they have a lot of  fear that the birth will be the same - but it never is the same!  This is a different baby, a different time of their lives, a different approach to the process.  Ultimately whether the birth results in interventions or even back to surgery, the couple feels they made good choices, that they participated in the process, that the feeling of the experience was different, better.

So if you are looking at a birth and feel you have special needs in the trust area - consider a doula.  Birth is such an amazing journey - my hope is that you have a great birth memory.