"What Is Your Birth Philosophy?"

As a birth doula, I get asked this question a lot.  Sometimes I hear, "How do you feel about XYZ (epidurals/homebirth/my husband doing the coaching)?" but it means the same thing.  My answer is always this: I believe that childbirth is a highly emotional, intensely personal experience, and it is my job to make sure a mom is informed and prepared for the experience, and that she can make her own choices about birth.  The more important question is, "What is *YOUR* birth philosophy?"

As a doula, it is my fervent belief that my own philosophy on childbirth doesn't matter.  It doesn't matter how I gave birth, the things I valued in my own births, or whether or not I think you should go with an OB or a midwife.  When I get asked, "What is your birth philosophy?" I think what you really want to know is "Can you support me in the choices I make for my birth?" or "Can you help me define what it is that I want for my own birth?"  Either way, the answer is a RESOUNDING YES.

You are giving birth.  You are coming to it with your own life's experiences, and it is my goal to make sure you look back on this time as a positive, empowering one.  However you feel positive and empowered is ok with me, as long as the choices you are making in birth are YOURS.  They aren't mine, and I don't bring expectations to your birth experience.

What I do bring is an extra set of eyes and hands.  Someone to help you filter through all of the garbage you can find online about birth, and who can help you refine and realize your own hopes for your birth.  Someone remind you of the wishes you expressed in our many conversations getting to know one another.  I bring a calm presence, and someone who can help steer you back to your birth plan before making any big choices.  I bring a sense of humor and a sense of gravity, and a large dose of empathy and understanding.  I bring my years as a mom, teacher, and childbirth educator.  I offer you a sense of someone who has been there before, and is happy to help you and your birth team, no matter what you need.

I don't care if you birth at home or in a birth center or in the hospital.  I care that you choose to give birth in the place where you are going to be the most comfortable with a team of care providers you trust.  I don't care if you choose an all natural birth or if you think you want one and then change your mind.  I do care that you know what your pain relief options are, and you choose the one that is going to be best for you.  I don't care if you want a VBAC or a repeat cesarean section, but only that you know what you are choosing, and are comfortable with the outcome.  My birth philosophy is that birth is a normal part of life, and we all have different definitions of normal, and are given different circumstances for our birth.  My birth philosophy is that if I am to be a help to you during this very intimate time, then I can't (and I don't) judge the things you want for yourself.  I can only work my hardest to make sure you are informed and supported in your own beautiful Miraculous Moments.

Victoria McCollum

Victoria McCollum is a birth and postpartum doula and owner of Doulas of Fredericksburg, in Fredericksburg, Virgina. She resides there with her husband and three precocious sons.