"Doulas are the Good Gravy & I Wish They Were Free!! by Serena Oliveira (doula)"

Posted On: 2016-12-07 22:38:05 UTC

Money and doulas. Wouldn't it be nice if money, AND doulas grew on trees!?
This would definitely stir things up! We live in a world where investing and livelihood are, as Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics describes as "two sides of the same coin". Money has both the power of holding us back, and resourcing us to do what we want...going on that dream trip, or hiring that "expensive" local doula.

Here in Canada, we have a free health care system and extended care benefits. We are used to having the services of midwives, doctors, for free, and with the right insurance coverage, chiropractors massage therapists and physiotherapists are free. Their services may as well grow on trees! Oy, I hope I don't start another rumour about Canadians, or our northern trees...

Doulas on the hand, are not publicly funded care professionals, and they usually range in price from $500-$1000 for their services.

I was already trained as a doula before I became pregnant for my first son. Ironically enough, if a friend of a friend didn't offer to be my doula a-la-gratuit- for free- pro bono, I probably wouldn't of sought one out...even though I was a doula myself, AND "knew", how beneficial they are!

Simply, I coudn't justify the cost. I could be my own doula right?!

In 2015, the average Canadian couple spent $30,000 to tie the knot. Yup! 30g's of cheddar is the typical price for a wedding in this country. We love to gather and celebrate the bond of love, and that's awesome! That investment benefits a lot of people. Interestingly enough, when it comes to having babies, and knowing the benefits of doulas, many people hesitate to hire one. What prevents us from rearranging our average annual household budget to include the gifts that a doula provides to families? Economic specialists know alot about assets, values and net worth. I want to explore and open the discussion around emotional economy, families, and self care.

A couple of years ago, a friend told me about the Gross National Happiness objective in Bhutan. It replaces our national incentive of GDP as a beacon of economic thriving. What if we talked about nurturing the Gross Domestic Happiness for families in the average household? If we did, than the investment of a doula could directly influence the long term outcome.

What really held me back personally in hiring a doula was my financial situation, and anxiety around money, and to a great extent, my ability to receive and ask for help. I was a strong, independent, and frugal 23 year old who loved her autonomy. I was trying to live as simply as possible, on a rural gulf island, and I had never been a mom before.

Nothing could totally prepare me for becoming a parent, but I felt confident and sure in knowing what I wanted. I was living away from family, but I was determined that I didn't "need help".

In combination, I was a million kilometres away from acknowledging that I was slightly afraid of becoming a mom. I was figuring out how to make the best choices for myself and baby. Sometimes we learn best by experiencing the facts first hand.

It was 2007, and at that point in my life, I had yet to make the important, personal distinctions between "help" and "support", and how to receive it from both myself AND others in the broader community. Incorporating this into my doula career, I now embrace the differences between help and support in childbirth, as well as during the days and weeks of preparing for, as well as recovering from giving birth. Learning about self worth, and the worth of doulas has been a great learning process for me!

Initially, Jody, my "friend of a friend doula", offered to come with me to a prenatal appointment with my paediatric cardiologist & obstetrician in Victoria. This was my first lesson in discovering first hand how helpful it is to have a doula decipher all of the emotions and information gathered upon such a visit.

Even though I had previously surrounded myself with other birth professionals, working with my own personal doula helped me truly appreciate the invaluable role that they play in our communities. Studies have proven time since the early 90's, how continuous labour support with a doula, exponentially improves birth outcomes and personal experiences.

As I was pushing my son into the world, Jody supported me to acknowledge that I was actually tense in my fear. "What are you afraid off?" She asked. She didn't do anything "for" me, but she gave the space that I needed to explore what was holding me back. I learned the direct emotional and physical connection between my body and heart. I could share with her what was holding me back from totally surrendering to my body. This simple acknowledgment and freeing up of my embodied fear, allowed for the lip on my cervix to melt away...
That moment of support was priceless, and I needed it. I cannot put a monetary value on that.

Jody was so committed to offering her loving support, knowing after attending nearly a a dozen births, and going to nursing school, that being beside someone as they give birth is the perfect place for someone like her. Being a doula is her golden egg, and I hope she knows it! As doulas, we invest our passion into our livelihoods everyday.

Being invisible during the right moments, while lighting a candle, while dimming the lights, and while squeezing hips is important! Wiping a mom's brow with a cool or warm cloth (whatever feels nicest in the moment), working with and empowering her partner, (all-of-the-above!) contributes directly to the wealth of confidence in a labouring mother. Having someone hold your baby as you have a shower for the first time in your post birth body, being witnessed and loved by someone "who knows", this is the cadence of the magic doula dance. All the while, we juggle our investments and livelihoods as we help and support healthy, thriving communities.

Now is the time for the world to hear our music! To value what doulas give to our growing communities, and see that we are a part of the professional care options in your neighbourhood! Sometimes, with life's big changes, we have to invest in our own care, because it's worth every.single.penny.

Looking to learn more? Give yourself or a loved one the gift of a doula! Let's connect and talk about my services and fees. I offer free initial Doula consultations for individuals and couples in the Comox Valley and surrounding areas!

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