Saturday, January 14, 2017

A New Journey for 2017

I am not a New Years Resolution kind of person.
I know...probably a good thing since it's halfway thru January, right?

To me, there isn't much more to that whole scenario than flipping a calendar page. If you can resolve to begin :insert choice here: as the new year starts, you can resolve to begin it anytime. The calendar doesn't make it or break it.

That said, over the past many months I have been looking ahead to some things around here. I have dreams I'd like to pursue. Truly my entire adult life has been mom and wife. That is a huge calling and I wouldn't trade it for a thing. Still, the Proverbs 31 wife had other things in her life as well. Not things that were oppositional to her first calling of wife and motherhood, but things that connected her to her community, and in many ways, more deeply with her family.

She had vision and when pursued, that vision worked with her Godly calling and not against it.

God doesn't expect a woman to sit idly by as a wife and mother alone. No, I haven't changed my long-held beliefs that a career is now somehow right for wives/mothers. I fully believe a mother belongs at home tending to the needs of her household and her family. Everything else takes a spot much farther down the list of priorities. 

Our family dynamics have changed some as the children have grown older. I still have 4 at home full-time schooling. One will be finishing her school adventures back north with her sister, no doubt planning to pick up with the veterinary skills her sister has. This past year I have dug deeper into my herbal studies and felt I wanted to do more. I was looking at a few directions when something came to my attention. The minute it was in my head, I knew what I wanted to pursue.

Doula is a Greek word meaning woman's servant. This may play out in several ways, but one traditional form has always been as a mother's pregnancy and child-birth mentor. A doula is often a trained, experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and practical support, encouragement, information and resources to the pregnant mother, the laboring mother, even the postpartum mother, as well as her family. She is not there to share medical advice, but can direct you to the resources and information you need to be able to make the most informed choices for yourself and your family's needs during pregnancy and in the weeks immediately following birth. Studies have shown that when a doula attends birth, labors are often shorter and have fewer complications or interventions, babies are healthier and they breastfeed more eaily.

I have always had a passion for pregnancy and child-birth. I mean, hello...10 pregnancies here :-)  I have had great birth experiences, I have had upsetting birth experiences. I have had natural births, caesarean sections, medicated births. I have nit-picked my doctors to no end, and had many a labor & delivery nurse bite their tongue when dealing with my non-compliant self. I have interviewed OBs and dismissed those I could not find common ground with a birth plan we could both agree on.

I am not certain what services my local area have, but I know we have lower income, often left-behind mothers, even teen mothers, who go thru their pregnancy without any real information because they have no idea what to ask, what they should do or how to go about doing it, what their rights as women even are.  Some, a great many I'd venture, have virtually no real support during pregnancy, let alone their labor or even postpartum time. Sure, they may have an aunt or mother who has had a baby or two, but often their experience was the one really explaied to them what to expect and how to deal with everything that comes with pregnancy, delivery, and a new baby in the family.

I believe I can do that.

I believe it needs to be done.  The medical community all too often leaves out information and education. Lack of time, a perceived lack of interest perhaps, lacking system protocols...any number of reasons. Do you know why you should boil the water for infant formula? Women are told just buy "nursery water" and use it. The formula powder is what requires the boiling water, not so much to sterilize your bottles but to sterilize your actual formula.

Don't even get me started on the need for breastfeeding support and the need for hospitals to stop overstepping boundaries by offering newborns pacifiers and bottles rather than helping to ensure the mother has every opportunity to breastfeed, with babies rooming-in, nursing support and teaching for the new mom.

And when the new mom goes home with her baby...what then? A postpartum doula is available in those first weeks, or even longer, to offer support and encouragement to the mother, to the family.  Simple things like helping with infant care while mom recovers from the birth experience and regains her own strength, sharing in light household tasks to allow mom and family time to create bonds with their new addition, information and resource sharing so they know where to find the services they may need in this season of their lives. Perhaps just sharing a visit and conversation.

You know there's a need. We've all been there at one time or another.

I have already started the process to get my qualifications and certifications in place as a labor and a postpartum doula, as well as lactation consultant and child birth educator. I would love to continue it even farther and get qualified as a midwife assistant as well. Perhaps one day. For now, I will start making a difference in just this one, small way.


Linda Marie said...

Ah, perhaps you should meet Mrs Shafer in Lobelville, she is CoraLei's Midwife and she has two girls who accompany here to assist ! I think she would be a great person for you to know. She and Becky and another girl have assisted in delivering Logan and John ! I know Becky is on facebook, I will have to ask Wes what her last name is. I will see what connections I can find for Mrs Shafer. I think it sounds like a good plan !!!
Blessings upon your endeavors this new year !!!
Linda Marie Finn

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Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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