I had the absolute privilege of helping the most amazing couple welcome their sweet baby girl last week. As their Doula, I was honored to advocate for their privacy and informed consent, to massage mom through her contractions, to advocate against unnecessary medication, and to help in whatever other ways were needed. It’s a different experience for Western expats giving birth in a developing country, but this momma rocked it; rolled with punches, overcame unmet expectations, birthed her baby in just a few short hours and was back at home by evening. And dad, he was such an encouragement to his wife throughout.
More than what is done to her or every detail of birth, a laboring mother will remember how she was treated, and a Doula or other support person can guard her experience.
After assisting at this birth, the hospital has invited me to come and share with the Obstetrics staff how to better care for their patients because “local women do not have much privacy or help.” And it’s true, in most local hospitals the women labor alone in a community laboring room, are alone during delivery (whether vaginal or by cesarean), and recover in a room with all the other moms and babies while staff and fathers and other visitors walk in and out. Even in the better hospital’s, privacy is scarce, mom and dad are separated, procedures are performed without consent or understanding, and the recovery room is likely a shared space.
The goal is that every laboring mother would feel dignified and cared for and that each woman and newborn would be acknowledged as special and unique.