homebirth

Why a Judgment-Free Doula Matters

You'll here us talk about non-judgmental support A LOT in our work as doulas. This is the pillar on which our agency stands. But we're often asked, what does non-judmental support really mean? 

I remember the exact moment when I realized how important being a judgment-free doula was. I was at a baby shower chatting it up with some friends, including the guest of honor, the mama-to-be. Someone in the group asked if she had a birth plan. I saw her face fall as she looked directly at me, then looked quickly away. Her demeanor changed as she told us that she had already scheduled a repeat cesarean. 

Earlier in her pregnancy she had come to me asking about VBACs (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I remember gushing about how amazing VBACs were and how empowering they can be. I remember telling her that she should go for it! I recall side-stepping her fears about uterine rupture, explaining that they are a rarity and I recall dismissing her fears about going past her estimated due date and needing to be induced. I cringe now thinking about the assumptions I made and how I projected my personal beliefs onto her. 

It was there at that baby shower that she held a mirror up to my face. After sharing that she was choosing to have a cesarean, she shared that she was nervous to tell me. She was scared that I wasn't going to be supportive or that I would try to talk her into having a VBAC. 

My spirit was crushed.

I was mortified that my passion for supporting natural birth had come across as judgmental and that my words and actions had caused shame and fear. As a doula, I often touted myself as non-judgmental and while I intentionally never made anyone feel bad about their birth experience, it was at this baby shower that I began to wonder just how non-judgmental my support really was. 

Talk about a wake up call!

In that moment I made a decision that changed my approach as a doula. As I apologized to my friend for my judgments and for making her experience seem less than, I made a commitment to myself to do better and be better. I became a doula to make a positive impact on birth and the best way I know how to do that is to be open and unconditionally supportive of all choices. And it is that attitude that we look for in all the doulas we bring onto our team. 

Our support involves no judgment.

None. Nada.

zip. zilch.

completely, 100% Judgment free.

Your birth is yours and yours alone. Yes, there will be family, friends, care providers, and your doulas surrounding you with support and love. But it is your body and your baby, therefore the choices you make are yours. We vow not to project any certain agenda or philosophy onto your unique experience.

Our doulas offer a safe space to share your beliefs about birth and parenting, your fears, and your desires.  Together, you and your doula will create a birth and postpartum plan that encompasses all your needs. And while she is there to answer your questions and offer guidance, she trusts in your capacity to make the informed decisions that are right for you. Even if your plans change down the line, the non-judgmental support will continue. 

It is our belief that with the support of your judgment-free doula positivity will surround your pregnancy, birth, and parenting journey. It is our belief that in providing space to learn and make your own decisions you will find confidence. It is our believe that in being there 100%, no questions asked, you will find comfort and peace of mind. 

The birth of your baby will forever change you. This is your experience, and we will be by your side, no matter what. Your choices are yours, not ours. Your birth is yours, not ours. Your body is yours, not ours. Your baby is yours, not ours. What is ours is our desire and passion for spending this time with you, your partner and your family, offering unconditional support and care. And we offer it happily.

In The Spotlight: Lauren Slak, Orange County Midwife

Orange County has the luxury of having a wide variety of birthing options. Based on your health & criteria you can have a hospital birth with an OB or a Midwife, a homebirth with an OB or a Midwife or a birth center birth with a Midwife. As Doulas, we don't take these options for granted and our team has the distinct privilege to be able to learn and support families at any number of these birthing locations with any number of care providers.

Call us biased, but one of our favorites in this group of esteemed care providers is Lauren Slak, owner of Wholistic Women's Healthcare and Licensed Midwife. Lauren sees her homebirth midwifery clients at our office in Costa Mesa, so we have the honor to collaborate with her and learn from her quite often. She provides compassionate midwifery care, pre-conception counseling, and nurturing support to families throughout Orange, San Diego, & Riverside counties. Her calm yet confident presence is so refreshing and her knowledge and passion for birth is inspiring. 

In the Spotlight :: Tawnya Guimond, Birth & Postpartum Doula

Welcome Back to our "In the Spotlight" series! Here you will learn more about the members of the Doulas of Orange County team as well as members of the vast birth & parenting community in Orange County. 

We love meeting new people and hearing the unique wisdom each person has for how to navigate this season of life. The childbearing years are no joke and we think you deserve all the support you can get. It is our hope that with these spotlight introductions you'll find the well-rounded support you need to embark on this journey with confidence and excitement.

Without further ado, we'd like you to meet Tawnya Guimond, Birth and Postpartum Doula, Placenta Specialist, and Parenting Educator. Tawnya is one of the most amazing and committed Doulas we've ever had the pleasure to work with. She works tirelessly to provide nonjudgmental, consistent support to birthing & new families. Her warm & bubbly personality draws people to her and her thirst for knowledge is inspiring. Tawnya teaches our monthly Baby Care Basics class in Irvine and helps guide expectant parents through the ups and downs of early postpartum and parenting. She is a favorite at our weekly New Mama Cafe group and is an integral part of the DOC team. We adore her and know that you will too! 

Today, Tawnya shares a bit more about her passion for life as a Doula, a mom and the many things that make her joy so contagious!

Confident Birth :: A Childbirth Class Unlike Any Other

When you think of birth classes what automatically comes to mind?

Maybe you picture a bunch of pregnant women and their partners sitting on the floor with pillows doing their "hee-hee hoos." Maybe the word "Lamaze" pops into your head. Maybe you think of watching a graphic video of childbirth.

The idea of a group of expectant couples gathered to breathe, watch birth videos and talk about their fears and feelings could bring anyone to a halt when registering for a class. It's something that a lot of people reluctantly sign up for simply because it's recommended by their OBGYN or because they themselves consider it some sort of "rite of passage."

I can see why people might feel this way. These are some of the same thoughts I had before becoming a Childbirth Educator. I couldn't understand what the value of childbirth class was, especially when based on my own experiences as a Doula, each birth is so different. How could one class prepare each individual person for the type of birth they wanted or envisioned?

My tune changed pretty quickly after becoming a Childbirth Educator and I started to teach classes of my own. My goal in becoming an educator in the first place was not only to add to my skills as a professional Doula, but so I could help educate my clients and community in an unbiased way.

Too often I had clients come to me with misinformation or information clearly biased towards unmedicated birth. Too often did I have women feeling embarrassed or shamed by the choices they had made for their birth. Too often was their a feeling of disappointment in the room when the birth didn't unfold perfectly like the birth plan dictated.

What about the women who wanted an epidural?

What about the people who faced an induction and all they had been taught was that inductions were unnecessary or wrong?

What about those who were faced with a decision to have a cesarean birth?