Conspiracies abound: are we are being controlled by giant lizards? No, most of us would agree that we are not. Is the exhaust from planes flying above the Italian skies affecting the Italians, making them doll-like and unable to oust Berlusconi? A surprising number of seemingly rational people I have met actually believe this. Did man reach the moon? What evil was behind 9/11? Is Big Pharma out to drug us all, whilst stealing our life savings?
Of course not! We are rational, sensible human beings. Then why do we believe that the simplest task needs a multitude of experts? From conception to birth to early childhood education and beyond, we are confused and abused by lowly-qualified experts telling us which way is the right way.
The Birth Conspiracy is this: an understanding, created by all of us, that we cannot function without experts. We cannot give birth without birth experts. We cannot labor without assistance, without classes and checklists. We cannot make our own decisions, or accept consequences for our own actions. It is a way we can avoid responsibility for our lives. Those of us who are experts want and need to control the process. It is very hard to sit on your hands and wait while a woman labors. It is much easier to interfere, to preach, to suggest, and to control.
The doula sits uncomfortably on something between a fencepost and a pillar here, protecting the birthing woman from well-meaning experts who do not understand the truth about birth. She is in great danger of becoming an expert herself, and there is only one way for her to prevent this from happening. She should gain as much knowledge as she can about the birth process and how it unfolds in different environments. She should take this knowledge with her to every birth, to every meeting, to every workshop. With all of her knowledge and experience, she needs to remember only one golden rule, that is, that the woman she is accompanying is going through HER experience. The doula can hold her hand, literally or figuratively, but she needn't teach, judge, or convince. Then she is overstepping the bounds of the Birth Companion and becoming just another expert.