I’ve seen this Venn diagram going around where the doula and midwife are separate with an overlap of working together to make sure that the client feels supported in every way. In the diagram, the doula is the emotional support system and the midwife has the medical tools. It really bothers me, not because some feel that fits their perception of their practice, but I don’t want it to limit mine. I don’t want it to define midwifery. According to that model, I am a doula with more tools. We have to be very careful dividing our craft into pieces and not knowing how to come into a relationship with those who are birthing as whole people. We have midwifery tools that are quite different than medical tools.
When you are holding a hammer everything looks like a nail unless you set that tool at the bottom of your birth bag and pick up others as we learn the art of listening. The tools we use are precious and define what we see in front of us. They help us come into relationship with the people in the birth room including ourselves. This is a humble process.
Pacing and presence are tools of the midwife whether we have something in their hands or not.
Hearing the sound of the labor pattern is our tool as we listen for physiology in progress or possibilities for restoration. Listening to the baby beyond its heartbeat and noticing what it is telling us as it finds the space available or uses its reflexes allows us to value the process of laboring and birthing and returning to a new knowing of what may be needed.
Relationship matters in how we are able to be with people in the vulnerable places of life and how we are able to value hormonal physiology connected to it. Relationships unfold and we see the seeds that grow. Seeds growing may sound peaceful, but it is a deeply involved process especially the power it takes to break out of its capsule and through the ground.