Is Your Gynecologist a Male?
[This is also an episode of Friday Free Talk on The Tranquility Tribe Podcast on iTunes. Listen here.]In this episode, I dive into the stigma that in order to be a good doula, you must have children yourself. I get down to the nitty gritty and pretty raw.
A question that I sometimes hear is how I could possibly be so knowledgable on pregnancy, birth, and newborns without having my own children. It comes from parents in interviews who have failed to truly understand the support and role of a doula and sometimes it's straight from the mouths of other female birth professionals. Those same practitioners usually place so much weight on their own births and with this, their own birth experiences subtly overflow into their practice. I also realized that male professionals are not subject to this same standard or judgement bar. They are allowed to have never birthed a child, but also be competent to support others in birth.
And cue the wheels in my head...
And cue the wheels in my head...
Every now and then, I will have a client ask about my own birth experience in an interview (often assuming I have children of my own). This is often a pivotal moment in the interview. This often solidifies whether that parent is my ideal client or not. I can usually confidently peg if they are the best fit for the TBH approach or if I should refer them elsewhere because I feel they may be better served by someone other than me. That's right, I often turn down clients who I don't think are the right fit for TBH. Many people don't realize that putting together your birth team should be an intentional process and I only want to be part of the birth teams that are perfectly crafted and well thought out so we set ourselves up to achieve our end goal. This team is here to help you achieve our ideal birth, and if I'm not the right fit for that position, I don't want to rob you of the possibility of the perfect support finding you.
When You Know, You Know
Now that you better understand our method as an approach rather than doula services, you can understand how this might be hard to grasp. However, when the right client hears about our experience, that's game over. They know instantly. These are people who enjoy self-care, understand the importance of mental health, value the journey of pregnancy and recognize it as a time to shift your lifestyle temporarily, and that all of this is founded in mindset and knowing your options.
So, About Your Gynecologist...
When someone brings this fact up that I have not had children, I always ask, "Do you have a male gynecologist?" For those who answer no, I ask them to imagine having one. I ask them how they think he can practice if he doesn't have a vagina... or a uterus, ovaries, cervix, or a menstrual cycle. Right. That seem so silly because some of the best gynecologists out there are male. There are female urologist, too, who are just as capable with the opposite reproductive system.
For those who answer yes, it's pretty self explanatory. You can see it all over their faces when they realize this double standard they have come face to face with. Their gynecologist has a penis so by fault of their previous question, one would conclude that their gynecologist doesn't meet the requirements to practice on their body. Like doctors, (and many other professions) my expertise comes from education and hands-on practice with everyday parents--parents of all walks of life and cultures and of different beliefs. It's great. It is so much fun constantly learning and actually learning things that are practical and useful to other parents. It's also allowed me this space to evolved into the multifaceted practitioner I am today.
Maybe We Aren't The Best Fit.
That's right, I've had to say this to clients before. I'm not sure I am the best fit for your birth experience. Having people in your birth room who don't jive 100% with you can really throw off the energy of the room. If this is you, then you may want to reevaluate hour team. I recognize and respect the fact that I can not be everyone's doula. I don't want to be everyone's doula. Not everyone will be motivated by the TBH approach and not everyone will believe in the benefits and that's okay.
Bottom Line: BE SELFISH.
Putting your birth team together should be selfish and you shouldn't expect anything less than perfect. You will have an idea of your perfect birth experience and I believe there is support out there to help you achieve that. It may not be me and that's okay, too. People need different means of support and I can only do so much. The great news is that you have options (I know, imagine that, right?). There is someone out there that specializes in the specific type of support you want or need. Ask people for resources. We have resources of all kinds. Connect with us and let us know what kind of support you are looking for!
If you believe that in order to be the perfect birth support, your doula needs to have already had kids, then we are not the perfect match. If you believe in self-care, the importance of mental health, want to know your choices and be educated on what's happening to your body during birth, then we might be a great team.
Tranquility by HeHe, A Maternity Concierge, Birthing and Doula Service in Boston, Massachusetts
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