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Why have a birth doula? An interview with Rebeca Martin, birth photography & doula services

What impact do you think that having a birth doula had on you as a mother? My labor was really hard, and my doula was the thing that got me through. I tried to escape. I didn't want to do it and the moment it got real, I was like, I'm just going to go over here. And I just didn't... I tried to literally climb out of my body. I didn't want to participate. And so she just helped keep me present enough to get the work done, but not be super traumatized. So I mean, birth can be traumatizing even if it's an ideal birth. And with her, she just kept it present, she let me know that everything was okay, she helped get maneuvers for my body so that my baby could reposition himself. And it was really, really good and then, she gave me the tough love when I really needed it the most, when I was just refusing to cooperate with everyone. And then she just let me know "You're getting in the shower now or". No, she didn't say "Or else you're going to transfer", of course she didn't say that at the time, but that was what was happening. So I did, and then he was born, it's what needed to happen. And so it was really, really valuable. I can't even... She was just the best, I can't even put a price on it. She was so good. Why do you think a new parent would want to have a birth doula at their birth? Someone who is trained in repositioning your body to help the baby reposition inside is really, really valuable because sometimes all you need is to get in a different position. And when you're going from moment to moment, breath to breath, and you're in labor land, it's really hard to think about that stuff. And especially if your partner is so overwhelmed with the experience that they can't... It's almost like they're in labor land as well. And so, to have someone who's emotionally detached enough and has a skillset and awareness enough to be able to understand which position to go to next, is really, really important. And, then it just... Having that second or that third other brain there, allows you to really just get into the zone and not have to think as much. It's like you release, you're allowed, at least for me, I'm allowed to surrender without worrying. And when the worrying is gone, it really makes a big difference in how I’m able to relax and just allow the process to happen. Because it's so hard to explain to someone who hasn't been through labor, what labor is like. And so you might have an idea, but until you get there, you have no clue. And then for each person it's different too, so you actually really don't know what to expect. You don't know if it's going to be something that you don't feel until you're eight centimeters or something that you feel very strongly at one. And so, it can be really helpful to have those extra pair of hands to help give you some comfort while you're going through the whole thing. How would new parents find a birth doula who is a good fit for them? Interviewing, interviewing. You go to the main birth... there are some websites that have a lot of different people listed, birth resources. And you go, and you just... One after the other call and interview, you can meet in person. Whatever resonates with you, really, it's just what feels right for you in that situation. What other reasons would someone use a birth doula? Anxiety. If you have high anxiety, if you feel the need to have to have a lot of control, having that extra person there can help you just relax and just let go, and surrender. Guidance, especially for your partner, if you want your partner to be involved, but they don't know what to do, the doula can really help bring you guys together and can show things that the partner can, you guys make that connection. Because sometimes I've heard, where there's a bit of dissatisfaction because they didn't feel like... the laboring woman didn't feel like she was as supported as she had in her mind during the labor from her partner. And so having that extra help to show the partner what to do can really, really help a lot.

Do you have thoughts on how a birth doula can be supportive of the partner? Instead of doing the movements and the comfort measures that you know in your mind as a doula, instead of doing them yourself, you can show the partner how to do them themselves, to their birthing partner so that they can do it every time and feel like they're making a huge difference. And then also, you can bring them around and be near the face. It just really depends on what the situation calls for, but you can recommend things, especially beforehand, having prenatals helps to talk about that stuff before the birth. But even if you're jumping in right in the moment, it helps to just not have them feel kind of like a deer in the headlights sometimes, it can happen. What do you think the impact is on a partner when there's a doula present? I think it calms them, they don't feel so much like a fish out of water. And they feel it helps to give them things to do, a task, a job, feeling like they're useful, they're helpful. I remember my dad, still today, says that when my mom was in labor, he wanted to be able to help her by giving birth himself so that she didn't have to do it, but there just wasn't many things for him to do. Why would someone want a birth photographer at their birth? For my first birth, I needed it to be very, very private and I didn't want pictures, I didn't want video. I didn't even think of video, but I didn't want pictures and it just had to be very private. So I have a very few, very fuzzy pictures from someone's phone, which I cherish so much. And even with my second, I wanted it to be private, but it was less of a concern, but still no pictures. And the few pictures I have I'm like, oh gosh, I totally could have done so many more. Like I just wish now that my kids are older, I want to show them what it was like for them to be born. And so I wish I had a video and photos. I would love to share with them their birth, and I [inaudible 00:13:28] see my birth if that... well, when my mom was giving birth, oh it would just be so special. And so I really, really like being able to provide that for others because later on just having that, because you can't ever go back and get it. So having that is just so, so special to be able to share it. You don't ever have to share it, but just having the option is really nice. When you are at a birth, are you both the doula and the photographer? Or one or the other? I do both. But during our prenatal appointments we have discussions on which is more important if certain situations arise. Do I put down the camera and give doula support or do I take a step back and pick up the camera? So it just depends on the birthing mom which part takes priority in those situations? How do people find you?

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