My name is Samantha Mehaffey, I’m a wife and a mother of three. My husband was a sailor in the Navy for 8 years, and we had two of our children while he was still in service, the third and fourth were born in our home with a midwife after his naval service ended. Luckily I was able to have him at my side for all of my labors, but being in the military made me realize how many women don’t get to have their husbands near them in childbirth, not just for military service but for multiple reasons.
Why am I a doula?
Many women don’t have labor support when they are in childbirth, and after having my first child I realized how greatly I needed my husband with me and could not imagine doing it any other way. Then I was asked (3 months after delivering my son) to attend my best friends labor for her first child. While her husband was wonderful, he wasn’t nearly as ‘natural’ as my husband had been, and was often clueless as to how to help his wife while she labored. I also was a little clueless, but the two of us were able to soothe her a bit.
In that experience, I witnessed something that made me passionate about birth. My best friend had a doctor she had never met before, in a hospital where the staff disrespected her and treated her like a machine instead of the beautiful woman that she was. Her birth experience was by no means horrific, in fact it was beautiful, and I will remember it till the day I die, but when I compared it to my own experience I felt she could have been better supported by those around her. I have made it my goal to be that support to any woman who desires it.
What would my ideal birth experience be?
In a completely ideal world I would be able to support a woman through a completely intervention free labor and delivery, possibly even in a home birth setting, she would deliver her baby and hold it skin to skin immediately and breastfeeding would begin naturally and work out successfully.
However since that is ideal and this is real life, I must say that not all our dreams work out the way we want them to, and I have assisted in medicated and non-medicated births, and am willing to and have attended hospital births with interventions such as epidural and catheters among other things. These don’t diminish a woman’s ability to birth her child and often times don’t even make a mark on the beautiful story of her birth, what does make a mark is the support of those around her… the more supported she feels in her own choices the greater the experience, the less supported the worse the experience.
My breastfeeding stance
Since I mentioned breastfeeding, I might as well tell you I am VERY pro-breastfeeding and would love if all moms did it, or at least gave it a shot. However, as my own children clearly showed me, it doesn’t always work. My first son was born and latched like a champ with no one showing either of us anything, and I thought I was a breastfeeding world champion… then I had my second. She had great suction, and no tongue tie, but just could not wrap those little lips around anything tight enough to get milk, in fact even her bottles took her 45 mins to empty.
Sometimes no matter what you try it isn’t going to work, but the more support you have the better you will feel and the better your attempts will be if you don’t have a born breastfeeding champion. I am more than willing to help you get a good latch or find you someone who can more effectively help you than I can, I’m also willing to help you get the hang of that pesky pump and figure out why it hurts so much (if in fact it does, not all women experience this).
If breastfeeding is not on your agenda no worries, I will only tell you that I believe (and the World Health Organization agrees) that breastfeeding is the best nutrition your baby can get, and if you want to know more I’m glad to share, but if you don’t I’ll button my lips and not judge you one little bit. Breastfeeding like childbirth itself is a very personal decision between mom, dad, and baby… and no one can tell you what is best for your family.
Please feel free to take a look at the rest of my site and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions!