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My Birth Attending Season Ends

… unless you’re a Jug, in which case I will attend YOUR birth, of course. And if you’re a repeat client who has a homebirth, I’ll be there.

But as for the rest of the world, I’m probably not going to be at your birth. I’m not going to be your doula. I’m not going to teach you childbirth.

I will continue to teach you about car seats and child passenger safety.

I’ve become unnecessary. Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m totally okay with it. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a doula in Charlotte — or someone who isn’t a certified doula but who would make a great one, or wants to become one — and I think there are enough good childbirth educators, not to mention the free classes taught at the birth center. There are wonderful women here in Charlotte who want to help other women have a positive birth experience, natural or not. I’m lucky to know a lot of these women and I can recommend them.

Most women who want a doula — and those need a doula, in my opinion — are having hospital births. And Charlotte just isn’t the place to have an unmedicated hospital birth. The system is too powerful here, and I’m weary of railing against it. And although it’s not my fight — it’s the laboring mama’s, ultimately — I still have a difficult time staying neutral and not letting the natural-birth detractors (aka, most of the obstetricians in Charlotte, as well as the labor/delivery nurses) get me down.

There are still plenty of women in Charlotte who are fighting the system.

Currently, I’m putting my energy into support for North Carolina to legalize Certified Professional Midwives. The birth center in Fort Mill, on the border, is practically bursting with clients and I’m absolutely thrilled for them. The fact that 75% of the birth center’s clients are North Carolina residents proves that women want better than what they’re being offered by local hospitals.

I’m sure that some of those birth center clients would like a homebirth, but they can’t afford it — insurance won’t cover midwives who aren’t legally recognized — or they don’t want to do something that could get them into trouble with CPS if they end up transferring to the hospital. Not to mention, many local pediatricians are not keen on homebirthed babies, and there’s only one supportive doctor, and she’s way far north of town.

I don’t feel sad to give up the doula/CBE aspect of my life. I basically stopped being a doula when I got pregnant with Porcelain, and since she was born — at home, of course — I’ve been consumed with my new life as a mom of five, in a family of seven humans and one dog. The only time I miss it is when I think about how “rusty” my birth knowledge is getting.

“It was a supercalafrajilisticexpyalodocious birth!!!”

“Wait… what’s that again????”

But it’s okay that I don’t know, or don’t remember, because there are plenty of women who do. And I wouldn’t leave this party if I didn’t think there were other partygoers just as entertaining as me.


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