I recently came across a post in a Facebook group for doulas that was posted to discuss a recent Buzzfeed article about umbilical cord art. The article discussed how much the author thought that the idea of taking the umbilical cord and making art and keepsakes out of it (drying it, specifically), was gross. The doula’s in the facebook group were saddened and some were even furious that people can think it’s disgusting.
It has taken me a long time to learn this, but it is ok with me if you don’t like birth, or placentas, or umbilical cords! If you want your baby washed before touching them, I don’t want you to feel guilty because you read somewhere that it is good to wait before giving baby a bath, you won’t receive that judgement from me. It can be empowering to some birthing persons to see or feel their baby’s head as it is being born and for others it could be traumatizing to force those options on them.
I acknowledge that I am one of the weird ones. I used to watch surgery shows with my family while eating dinner. “How’s your Mac and Cheese?” “Good. Did you see that vasectomy!?”. Having grown up in a home with a mother with a disability, medical stuff was part of it. And some of it was pretty gross stuff. I am not phased in the least by the ick that comes with birth.
But, I realize that many people are. Where I can see the beauty and wonder in a placenta, many others just see a disgusting piece of literally bloody grossness. And while I love to gush and geek out about all things birth, I understand that not everyone wants to hear it. (Though I am still working on not oozing birth talk all the time!)
I believe that part of being a doula is accepting that. Coming to my clients where they are, instead of trying to persuade them to see things my way is integral to my mission of nurturing a culture of doula work that offers truly non judgmental support.
Whether birth grosses you out or not, I support you!
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