What is a Birthkeeper?

I feel that my words cannot do justice to the concept of birthkeeper and accurately express the depth of feelings felt on this topic as wonderfully as the Epiphany which Michelle Carnochan had. I encourage you to visit her blog to read Epiphany.

Epiphany

Written by Michelle Carnochan at Herbwyfe's Blog published with permission.

Over the last few days something has been gnawing away at me in regards to my role as a doula. A doula is typically hired to support a woman both emtionally and physically and informationally during labour and birth.

Some people believe that a doula is hired to support all of the woman's wishes and be non-judgemental if the woman chooses to opt for medical pain-relief or vaccination (among other choices). I'm sorry but this doesn't sit right with me and so this poses a bit of an ethical dilemma. I have been challenged to review what i see my role as.

So...having done that I'm choosing to now call myself a Birthkeeper. This term was coined by the late great Jeannine Parvati Baker - a woman who devoted her life to standing up for women and babies - to make every baby feel welcomed and to encourage women to find there own inner midwife. She advocated freebirth, lotus birth, instinctive mothering. She was beautiful.

Through her work, along with Ina May Gaskin's, I was inspired to forge the way ahead in protecting my boys own birth journeys and then move on to working with other birthing women.

I see my role as a Birthkeeper (and formerly as a doula) to HOLD THE SACRED SPACE for the birthing woman to find and trust in her own inner midwife, to PROTECT, PRESERVE and pass on the wisdom of our natural birthing and mothering instinct and the utmost protection of the delicate newborn.

I will not gloss over the medical model of childbirth as something normal and okay but rather weave for the woman a new paradigm in childbirth preparation in order that she may birth with consciousness and trust in her own birthing instinct whether at home with a midwife or as a freebirth.

If this is what women truly want in their hearts, to be truly autonomous in their responsibility of birthing their babes, to be truly willing to let go of old useless beliefs that women are incapable of birthing their babies, to be ready to step up to the challenge of motherhood... then I will respectfully attend them.

Birthrape is now (and has been for the last 60 odd years) a very real occurrence for both mother and baby and I will no longer support it, either as a Birthkeeper or an independant childbirth educator.

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The Birthing - a course that covers routine medical management of childbirth and focuses on navigating the hurdles to natural childbirth present in the medical system.

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