Not “your mamma”

So the interesting thing about language is we often fall into the vernacular of our communities, intending to be understood, to show we belong and communicate in a way our community understands.

This is why I totally understand how doulas use some phrases without thinking.

Because if we take the time to think about it, some of the language that has developed among doulas is problematic.

I’m talking about doulas referring to clients as “my mamma”, or “my woman” or any of these variations. “I have a woman in labour… My woman is at x hospital… I have a labourer …”

Women don’t belong to us. We can’t claim them.

As doulas working in an industry that strips women physically and metaphorically of their autonomy, we must be vigilant about the language we use. When a large part of our work is creating scaffolding around women, supporting them to maintain autonomy and agency, it makes no sense that we use language that is patriarchal and paternalistic in nature.

Women’s bodies have been claimed over time by fathers, husbands, churches, governments and doctors. Let’s not add ourselves to this list.

Please be mindful of how you discuss women in your care. If you are debriefing or talking about clients and trying to maintain anonymity (so not calling them by name) try out a few phrases that you might use instead.


 

Are you a doula interested in exploring the intricacies of the maternity system? Do you find yourself examining women’s care, the maternity system and (often lacking) maternity choices?

‘Women, the system and the illusion of choice’ is available exclusively to doulas undertaking We Birth’s Mentorship Pilot Program, in addition to 1 to 1 mentorship and an absolute cornucopia of advanced doula education.

Enrollments close August 20. For Australian doulas only.

 

 

 

The conversations we need to be having more often.

words: Jen Hazi

The problem I find most about being somewhat introverted is that I can’t abide small talk. I am sure this is what suits me well to the world of birthing and women’s spaces. I tend to dive in and talk with people about the more intimate experiences in their life.

So spending a morning with independent midwife Sheryl Sidery and Women’s Mysteries Teacher Jane Hardwicke Collings (in truth these descriptions barely touch the surface of who these mighty women are and all that they do), discussing birth, our maternity system, women’s choices and power struggles was my idea of a perfect day.

Of course, these conversations are important and best shared around. Fortunately, Jacki and I were prepared and managed to film some important and powerful dialogue that we can’t wait to share in our upcoming course: Women, the system and choice the illusion of choice.

If you are not yet on our email list now is the time to add your details and be the first to know when this is course is available.

In the meanwhile, we have put together the sneakiest of peeks for you to get a glance at what we are creating.  drop by HERE

If I read one more post about a mum breaking down I’ll cry.

originally posted on midwif this


I am a member of a lot of mum’s groups on Facebook. Some offer information, some support others a sense of community. And sadly, almost every day a mum, somewhere is posting, pleading for help/support/acknowledgement as she struggles, feeling overwhelmed and drowning in motherhood.

WTAF!!

Every day.

There tend to be 3 main camps of response.

Place some measure of separation between you and your baby. This plays out in numerous ways but what they all boil down to is this: the idea that a mother and her child as a dyad, is essentially a broken and imperfect organism.

Do nothing: Of course, this isn’t what is said. Instead what is offered is well-meaning commiseration, empathetic and caring replies. Usually, this camp tries to give a reasoned response why what is happening is biologically or developmentally normal. To their credit, a lot of this is usually true. And I have definitely spent my share of hours being the miserable know-it-all sadly “helping” another mum by explaining that unfortunately the exhaustion she is experiencing is normal, and yes she is isolated and overwhelmed, however, her baby is healthy, growing well and acting exactly as a baby of that age should.

Practical help. This is above all the best but unfortunately the least common, and most difficult to sustain. I have seen women drive hundreds of kilometres to help another mum they have only ever met on line, meal trans organised, breast milk drives, expressed, stored, rounded up and transported to women for any number of medical and social needs. Funds raised for hospital trips, lactation consultants, specialist appointments. I have seen women open their homes and hearts and they opt in to co-parent and cooperate to help other mums wherever they are.

So why am I confounded?

I am blown away that we, as women, mothers and maternity workers are not more enraged. That we have quietly and without too much fuss accepted that motherhood is clearly not valued.


I am blown away that we, as women, mothers and maternity workers are not more enraged


In Australia over 300,000 babies are born each year. That is a lot of mums and babies. Women as consumers are an incredible force. So why aren’t we demanding more?

Why is it a mum needs to crowdsource the fees to pay a lactation consultant?

Why is it that lactation consultants are not able to access Medicare rebates?

Why are there so few mental health services for women and babies? There are 12 private beds for women with private insurance in NSW that allow their baby to stay. Publicly there are 2 that I know of. (feel free to comment if you know more). These beds are usually for women experiencing severe depression and psychosis.

And for women who are struggling with the transition to motherhood, depressed, anxious and somehow managing to keep afloat. What help is there for them?

Forget about financial support.

18 weeks paid parental leave. But to be eligible for this there are working requirements. So get back to work quickly if you plan on having another child soon. But your income is mostly spent on daycare costs. So good luck feeling like it is worth your time.

ppl-actu-ged

And what is with this propaganda saying paid government leave and paid maternity leave from an employer is too damn much? Greedy women. If a woman is fortunate to work for someone who actually values paid maternity leave this plus government support is somehow taking advantage of a (shitty and broken) system. Who cares if it enables her a few more months to focus on her baby?

And can we talk about the gas lighting that is going on when we tell women that breastfeeding is optimal, for at least 6 months exclusively, but only affords them to take off about 4 months from work? So now she can feel inadequate when she is separated from her baby and predictably encounters breastfeeding issues (which again, a visit from a lactation consultant might help but who is paying for that?).

And partners get a whole 2 weeks paid leave (at minimal wage).

There are so many broken parts to our public health system, These examples are just a taste. It all starts around birth where women are overstuffed into large maternity hospitals and spat out into the world to navigate the world of GP’s, child and family health clinics, and if they can afford it, paediatricians.


“I have a sneaking suspicion we are not supposed to acknowledge that this is a fundamental shift in identity. That we are supposed to take a few months off to ‘recover’ and before we are ready, hide any sign of stretch marks with an expensive cream and get back to business as usual.”


But where is all the support, and information about you know, becoming a mother? (I have a sneaking suspicion we are not supposed to acknowledge that this is a fundamental shift in identity. That we are supposed to take a few months off to ‘recover’ and before we are ready, hide any sign of stretch marks with an expensive cream and get back to business as usual.)

If a mum is lucky she will receive a couple of home visits from her midwife in the first week. I promise you it is not enough. it is not nearly enough. And having spent time on the other side I promise your midwife wants to spend more time with you too. We know you deserve more and are so sorry this is all we can give you.

SO WHY ARE WE ALL SITTING BACK AND ACCEPTING THIS?

breastfeeding-2428378_640
Why is it a mum needs to crowdsource the fees to pay a lactation consultant?

THIS IS NOT ENOUGH.

Because motherhood is valuable.

Because a mum and her baby are supposed to be together. (as in it is biologically normal -not that there should be any societal pressure that a woman MUST be inseparable from her baby)

And babies are hard work. It can be tricky to adjust to life for them and us, They don’t sleep like adults (and this is normal and healthy).

And community support is commendable and beautiful but limited.

And we, women and mothers, are a powerful cohort of consumers that really need to speak up and say we have had enough of this absolute mockery of a maternity system. 


words: Jennifer Hazi 

We Birth are making a film and we want you!

UPDATE: We have received a few requests to extend the time for submissions so if you are still keen to be a part of this project please be in contact with us. we are hoping to have them in by the beginning of August. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the thought of filming flick us an email and we can chat with you and help you through it.

 

Hi, Beautiful community of doulas and birth workers.

To all the amazing, heartfelt, caring and passionate people working in the space with women and families as they welcome a new life into the world.

Are you keen to share your passion and experience with a wide community of women and families?

Do you seek connection and community with fellow doulas, where you can share your enthusiasm and goals and business dreams and be supported and support each other?

If so, please keep reading.

We are putting the call out to Doulas in the We Birth community to submit a short video introducing yourself and sharing your top tips or information for women and families.

We will edit the films into 2 different films.

  1. A film about doulas FOR doulas. Giving you an opportunity to get to know each other and support other doulas with your experience. NEW doulas, please don’t be discouraged. we want to hear from you too! Tell us about your transition, your learning, your passions. We are all coming from unique places with value to share.
  2. A film for women and families. This film will be a compilation of the best advice that Doulas in our community have to offer. You can use this video freely with clients, and be a part of the opportunity to build your own brand awareness and generate growth. This film is free for participants to use, and sell. (Yes, it is your property too!). The only restriction with sales is: A. To sell at a standard RRP and B. 50% of the sales go directly to the charity of our choice (more about this later).

Are you still unsure about the benefits?

  • Your couples and the public, in general, will learn just how valuable you are.
  • Grow your status as a doula!
  • Greater awareness creates greater business for you!
  • Be aligned with a community of passionate, forward-thinking doulas.
  • Support organisations on the front line, caring for birthing women and new families.

Get creative if you want and present yourself in wild and wacky ways!

The film is starring YOU and YOUR top tips, so share it and have some fun.

The film will be your property to share to generate huge business growth potential!

It will be such fun getting to know each other in the making of the movies and once complete We Birth will have an event where we screen the movies and have some fun.

Open to doulas and birth workers anywhere.

What do you need to do to join in?
Sign up to our email list and join our Facebook group then simply follow the next steps, including filming yourself being careful to meet each of the criteria.

  1. (optional) Send us an email letting us know what special skill/ tip for women you will be sharing on film. Obviously, we can’t have 30 doulas all sharing the hip squeeze, so if you have a fantastic idea jump in and reserve your spot!
  2. Record your responses to each of the following topics. It is important you leave a 10-second gap between responses to help us with editing. Be mindful of time limits. We may have to trim clips and if over the time limit, they may not be eligible.
  3. Send your film to us at webithdoulas@gmail.com. Large files can be sent via drop box, or as a google file. Contact us if you have any concerns. Also send us your name, business name, contact details and logo etc for us to display in the film.
  4. Tell your doula friends to join in too. Feel free to team up and submit together if you wish.
  5. Submissions close mid August. First come first serve. We will post a list of topics on our blog as they are submitted, so if you are keen to share a particular skill, technique or idea get in and submit your idea. You can check in and see what other doulas are sharing before you commit to filming. We reserve the right to close submissions early if the response is overwhelming.

 

Topics.

  1. Introduce yourself and if appropriate your business name. Try to keep this succinct, however, include the information about yourself/your business that women and families will need to find you. (max 30 seconds)
  2. Tell us about your passions. Professional and private. We want to know YOU (max 2 minutes).
  3. Things you are NOT about. (max 2 minutes)
  4. Your hopes and dreams for your business. Try to sum this up in 2 or three sentences. (max 1 minute)
  5. Your top tips for women and families. These are to be presented in 3 categories: Antenatal, labour & birth and Postpartum. You can be as creative as you like in this area, try and keep it relevant to your business. We are looking for up to about 5 minutes of content for each person. You might use this time to demonstrate one skill, discuss a remedy or read a hypnobirthing script! Perhaps you might offer tips and tricks for 2 or even 3 different categories. Get creative! If submitting clips to be categorised, please leave a gap of at least 10 seconds to help with editing. (4-6 minutes max)

We are really looking forward to receiving your entries.