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Sunday, 9 June 2013

Tips for Doulas Working Overseas

Are you a doula who is considering working overseas ?

Here are some things I have found to be very helpful:

1. Dress like they do.  When you are entering a culture that is not your own, it is helpful to at least try to fit in.  You are weird enough without wearing tight jeans where the women wear only skirts. In a birth setting, you don't want to be making people uncomfortable. 

I wear the traditional dress of the women here when I go to the hospital.  The women and midwives appreciate that and tell me so.  Of course, once a woman hits 6-7 centimeters I don't think she would care if I was wearing only a that point is all about getting through and holding that baby!

2.  As much as possible, speak the language.  Learn whatever you can, and interview native speakers on how they say birth related things  I am fluent in the language here, and I cannot imagine having to be labor support without being able to speak!  I know it would be possible, but hard.  I need to be able to encourage, explain what is happening and just say whatever needs said. 

3.  Be willing to swallow your own culture and "birth agenda."  Your own culture regarding childbirth and what that should look like is not the only right way.  Be a learner, be there to serve.

Dad's may not want to be there...and the reason may run deeper than "just change the hospital policy." There can be taboos that come from fear of spirits and of a woman's blood.

4. Love, Love, Love, the women you are with and make her birth experience the best it can possibly be.

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