I was recently at a party when a lady came up to me and introduced herself. We started talking, and the inevitable subject of “what do you” came up. I love to talk about my job, so I was happy to say, I’m a doula! I was prepared for the usual “you do-what?”, and my elevator speech to follow, but surprisingly, she said she knew what a birth doula was. I was still smiling, ready to talk more about my business when her next question threw me off. “How many of your clients are successful?” My smile faltered a bit, and I replied “Successful? What do you mean?”
Her: You know, how many succeed at their birth?”
Me: (Thoroughly puzzled now) Define what you mean by success at their birth.
Her: You know, all natural
Me: What’s your definition of all natural?
Her: No pain medications, no interventions. Just, nice and natural. Successful.
Me: (Trying not to give her the side eye at this point) I think we may have a very different view of what’s successful.
I went on to explain that all of my clients are successful. None of them “birth better” than others. For some, a successful birth may be in the water, surrounded by candles, classical music, with an essential oil diffuser lightly scenting the air in the background. For others, it may be arriving at the hospital in active labor, ready for an epidural. For someone else, it may be having skin to skin time in the operating room after their planned cesarean birth. As I doula, I support all of these births. And I think they are all a success.
If you birth plan took a roller coaster dive, and you had every intervention in the book, after enduring hours and hours of labor, you are a success.
If you planned a water birth, and your labor went so fast you never even got the birth pool up, you are a success.
If you planned out your VBAC, tried everything in the book and had a repeat cesarean birth, you are a success.
If you get an epidural when you are 2 centimeters dilated, watch TV and laugh with your partner during labor, you are a success.
If you bounce on your birth ball, dance and sway and don’t use medication, you are a success.
Don’t let anyone make you feel as though you are “less than” or “unsuccessful” because of your birth.
However a person births their babies, they are a success.