Updated: May 17, 2020
While birth has always been full of unpredictable variables, the COVID 19 pandemic, has multiplied unpredictability for expecting parents everywhere. Hospitals in our area have limited birth support to partners, which means doulas currently cannot offer continuous (in-person) labor support in the hospital setting. In some places, they are at the point of prohibiting partners. As discouraging as this is, it’s important to stay informed and know how you can be as prepared as possible.
Take a birth class online! Knowing what to expect of physiological birth and how to cope with the challenges of it can significantly boost your confidence in your body’s ability to birth well. Many classes that used to be offered in-person, are now available virtually. One that I often recommend is Kingdom Childbirth Class by A Heavenly Welcome for families seeking God’s presence and leading in their births.
Watch “Birthing in the time of COVID-19” by Evidence Based Birth for free on youtube!
Hire a virtual doula! Yes, doulas are working with the new restrictions to offer support prentally, and during labor virtually. While it is certainly not ideal, this sort of help could be a game changer. Many people do not know that nurses do not offer continuous support--this is what separates doulas from all other birth workers. If you do not think you can afford a doula, reach out and talk to some! Most doulas offer payment plans and many offer sliding scales of payment based on income.
Consider Midwifery Care/Homebirth. Many people who would not have considered this as an option in the past are now re-considering due to fear of exposure in the hospital setting, and/or birth partner restrictions.
Join an online Support Group. As they say, it takes a village. Social distancing does not need to equal isolation.
Go inward. The idea of birth for many can stir up feelings of fear and anxiety. I believe in general, this worldwide pause is an invitation to reflect and lean into our fears and anxieties, as well as our deepest longings. It is my belief that birth is an invitation to surrender to the process as God designed, which takes active engagement. To surrender, we need to first know what needs to be surrendered. I love this quote by Gabor Mate, “Knowing oneself comes from attending with compassionate curiosity to what is happening within.” So pray, meditate, journal and lean in to the paradoxical strength of surrender.
I hope and pray this will all pass soon, but in the meantime, let’s keep praying and loving one another through and through.