All three of my children were delivered by midwives in hospitals. I liked the warm, personal touch of the midwives, who honored my wishes when it came to childbirth but still had the medical training necessary to keep things safe. I had considered using a “doula” with our last child because I was with a practice I didn’t know well and due to deliver at a hospital I didn’t know at all.
Doulas are extra caregivers for pregnant women. They accompany women on the journey from pregnancy, through childbirth and into postpartum care. It’s like having an extra set of hands and eyes and ears so that husband and wife can concentrate more fully on the matter at hand – welcoming their child into the world.
Typically, a woman hires a doula early enough in her pregnancy that a bond develops. By the time the big day arrives the doula, mother- and father-to-be, and any other children in the family have grown to become friends on a shared journey.
To me doulas have always been life-focused. After all, why would a woman want to be present for the births of other people’s children again and again unless she truly loved life, especially in its earliest stages. So when I read a recent article on Slate.com, it left me wondering. How could the abortion mentality seep into even this last bastion of care totally devoted to mothers and their children, unborn and newly born?
It seems now doulas – Greek for “women who serve” -- are finding their place at the bedsides of women having abortions. Admittedly, those women need some special care, but not the kind provided by strangers who pat their hands and tell them, “There, there,” during one of the most misguided and saddest moments of their lives.
According to DONA International, a doula association that offers certification and standards of practice in the field, a doula refers to a “trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; or who provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.”
A doula “recognizes birth as a key experience the mother will remember all her life,” the DONA website says. Unfortunately, according to the Slate article, some of today’s doulas are shifting their focus to a key experience a woman may regret all her life.
From the Slate story:
“Abortion doula services were unheard of until three years ago, when pro-choice activists within the birth community decided that they should serve the full spectrum of pregnancy choices, whether it's birth, adoption, or abortion. Mary Mahoney and Lauren Mitchell created New York City's Doula Project, a volunteer-based service that provides free doula services to women in New York City. They work with pregnant women who can't afford doulas, expectant birth-mothers at a pro-choice adoption agency, and provide abortion doula services in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Though the public perception of doulas is that they are liberal crunchy types, the community has a strong pro-life contingent. These anti-abortion doulas are less-than-thrilled with the Doula Project. And they're not the only ones who are skeptical. Even as a pro-choice feminist, when I heard about abortion doulas my first thought was: Are women really so fragile that they need to hire a complete stranger to hold their hand at the doctor's?”Women aren’t the ones who are fragile. It’s the pro-abortion movement that is. Abortion advocates are so caught up in trying to make abortion into something positive akin to childbirth that they are willing to hijack a specialized field of care for mothers in an attempt to legitimize the decision to abort.
I know there are many pro-life doulas out there, women who truly do support life from conception and who reject the abortion mentality. I hope their voices are heard in this new debate on the future of doula care. And, if any of you are reading today, please share your comments on this troubling new development.
Read the full Slate article by clicking HERE.