Monday, September 26, 2011

Becoming a doula and midwife

Over the past couple of years I have been a lot more inspired to participate in the feminist community, both through starting this blog and The Border House, and wanting to volunteer to help women.  5 years ago, I was in a rigorous nursing school program with the intention of becoming a Certified Nurse-Midwife.  I love babies and the idea of helping bring new life into the world and assisting women during one of the most trying times of their lives was so appealing to me.  I ended up leaving nursing school and moving to San Diego to work on video games for a living and gave up those aspirations in exchange for working on my hobby.  I also wasn't thrilled about having to go through all basic nursing training in order to deliver babies. 

Fast forward to now.  I've found out that you can become a Licensed Midwife in California by going to a 3 year program that costs around $10,000.  You can deliver babies and make your life all about supporting women and families.  And I don't have to jump right into it...for $365 I can attend a 3 day seminar in San Francisco that allows me to become a certified doula.  A doula doesn't physically deliver the baby, but assists the mothers by giving them massages, relaxing them, talking to them throughout the birth process, and helping them after their newborn is born with lactation and feeding, caring for their new baby, and balancing their changed lives.  I can be a doula on a volunteer basis for organizations, or I could start my own side business.

The idea of becoming a doula and eventually a midwife is that I feel that I can really change lives and bring a unique perspective.  I know that I would want to specialize in a more radical doula approach, focusing on natural home births and experiences for non-traditional families.  I would love to help gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender families bring their new children into the world without judgement.  I would like to volunteer to offer doula and midwife services to low-income families. I would like to offer full-spectrum care, including providing doula services to women going through abortions and adoption processes.  

Working on video games is incredibly fun and can be rewarding, but at the end of the day it doesn't make me feel satisfied.  For some reason, I've been wanting more.  I want to make a real impact and be important to people on an individual level.  When I was a nursing assistant in a Women's Oncology unit at a hospital, my favorite part of the job was sitting and talking to the patients, getting to know them, and helping them out emotionally.  I was told time and time again that I am reassuring to be around, and that I will make a good nurse.  I don't regret leaving my nursing program, but I do sometimes regret getting out of the business of helping people directly.  That was rewarding and amazing work that made me feel whole.  Exhausted, but whole.

I'm interested in hearing about more feminists who have gotten into birth work.  I know of Radical Doula and she is amazingly inspirational...are there any other great bloggers out there who talk about their experiences?


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