I've been delivering Slow Birth doula cards to different practitioners' offices. One supportive physician read the words "slow birth", and laughed - "Some of our doctors won't like that. They're always complaining about births that are progressing too slowly!"
These words might prove challenging for some people.
I am an example of Slow Birth. 2012 is my 25th year as a doula, and I will attend my 1000th client's baby's birth this year. And I think maybe, just maybe, I'm starting to understand birth. It has been a slow gradual process. Each birth teaches me what I need to know for the next birth. Birth forces me to slow down, then stop, then really look at it. I feel like I'm just starting to fully appreciate the nuance of birth.
It shakes me and demands my respect.
I have heard some people say that I know birth. I don't. None of us can truly know birth, because each birth is totally different. But, I know this much - Birth takes its time. Birth is challenging in every way. Birth doesn't respond easily to control or what we want. Birth loves surprises.
So, think about it. Slow Birth is not about having a slow labour, or having a fast labour. Slow Birth is about honouring birth and surrendering to the rhythm of the body and the baby.
Slow Birth reminds me to take whatever time is needed to prepare each family for the early years of parenting. This takes time. Time on the phone. Time in person. Time texting back and forth. Time talking, laughing, crying. Every client requires a different approach. This is not a conveyor belt. It's not textbook. It is a creative process. It is bespoke. It is organic. It is slow.
As a Slow Birth doula, my job is to remain aware, to remain flexible, to read the body, to translate its messages, to listen to each woman and family, to remind each woman that she can trust her body, to help her draw on her life lessons, to help her build her own community.
Slow Birth, as an extension of the slow movement, is my commitment to each doula client and her family to nurture stronger connections, and to discover each family's pace, each family's needs. Slow Birth is about supporting the birth of each family with time and care. Ultimately, the aim is to help clients build their own connections within their community, slow down, and enjoy the first years of family life together.
Whatever is needed.
As long as it takes.
That's Slow Birth.