I spoke yesterday at an Attachment Parenting Forum. The topic was how choices in childbirth were related to the first AP Principle: preparing for pregnancy, birth, and parenting. I joined a forum with a midwife and two childbirth educators.
In my classic style, I did not prepare at all. I had no idea what I was going to say. So I was pleasantly surprised when coherent words came out of my mouth. And I was even happier that when I finished speaking, I agreed with what I had said. Sounds schizophrenic, yes? Welcome to my public speaking technique.
I said that one of my primary roles as a doula is to guard power. I don’t care what kind of birth my clients choose or end up having; my concern is that they retain their power throughout. They are not bullied or undermined. They have informed consent. They understand and claim responsibility for their birth. The power of pregnancy and birth springboard us into confident parenting. When our friends and family question our AP methods or on a sleepless night 5 months postpartum, we question ourselves, we can draw on the strength and trust learned through birth.
Parenting is not rocket science. It is much harder. It calls for something more than mere instruction manuals. It demands an inner strength beyond anything else. Those 9 months of pregnancy and however many hours of labor and birth can lay a firm foundation for our parenting; particularly when our choices are questioned at every turn.