FIRST THOUGHT: A Modern Birthing Experience
A dear friend of mine confided in me about her plans to start trying for a baby…in the summer of 2022. She talked about if she were to have a C-section versus a vaginal delivery, and how she’d probably want to get a little work done after having the baby, too. She’s planned every single moment. (Again, for 2022.)
Here’s the thing: you can’t control it all. I reminded her it takes a woman, on average, about a year to conceive. Literally from the get-go, your future kiddo’s main job is to surprise you. What’s that saying? “We plan, and God laughs.” So here’s to all the women who want to be mamas, either today or years from now. Here’s to all the women who are struggling with fertility, all the women adopting, and all the women who have decided having kids isn’t for them.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 6 Percent
If you want to see a battle of women against women, get pregnant and have a kid. It seems like every aspect comes with a dose of controversy. One of the questions you’ll be asked is where and how you’ll deliver: home birth or hospital? Many don’t realize you can combine the two, in a way, by hiring a doula to assist you both at home and in the hospital. In a survey conducted in 2012, though, only 6 percent of people said they used a doula.
WOMAN TO WATCH: HeHe Stewart, Founder of Tranquility by HeHe
Why get a doula? Well, usually a doula helps you organize a birth plan, and when the big day comes, they’re right alongside you, offering pain-relieving exercises and techniques. They can be your advocates if someone’s trying to steamroll you, and they can even answer your groggy questions about newborn sleep and feeding. Today’s Woman to Watch, HeHe Stewart, is a doula and even has her own maternity concierge, doula and birthing service in Boston called Tranquility by HeHe.
HeHe has been in early childhood education for quite some time, and noticed that parents often feel isolated at around 6-8 weeks postpartum. That time period is often when these new parents return to work and, believe it or not, it’s when the mama’s body is still recovering. By offering her services during a mother’s prenatal period up until well after birth, HeHe is able to tackle the often overlooked concern of supporting parents after they have their child.
While some might think doulas are in direct conflict with doctors and nurses, HeHe says that couldn’t be more untrue. Doulas are often the ones who refer women to HeHe, who understands the benefits of having someone whose job is to develop a close relationship with the patient at all stages.
One thing’s for sure: Women need the support of other women. HeHe’s clients join a support group full of other mothers-to-be and new moms, and there’s no doubt that this kind of comradery proves to be absolutely essential.
Launching a business to help new parents experiencing a life-changing event has had its struggles, for sure. When HeHe looks back at the early days of her biz, she wishes she did more target market research, specifically in her narrow area of expertise. But there’s one thing HeHe has known from the beginning: Women need to feel in control of their birthing experience.
According to HeHe, women would feel less powerless in the delivery room if people stopped treating them as if they’re sick, and listened to them (please!) Believe the pain of these soon-to-be-moms, HeHe says, and believe their feelings.
Balancing your home life with your work life can be a challenge, especially if you’re an entrepreneur in the making with a baby on the way! Check out five ways to set boundaries and take control of your birthing experience by clicking here or, if you’re listening via podcast, head over to OnTheDotWoman.com!
QUITE THE QUOTE
When your feet are in the stirrups, it takes a lot to feel in charge of your own body. Always remember to stick up for yourself, and that your body is your own. As Mary Wollstonecraft said:
"I do not wish [women] to have power over men; but over themselves."