Friday, April 4, 2014

Doulas for Death

Have you ever thought about how birth, the beginning of life, and death, the end of life, are similar? I've philosophized about this a few times with friends and fellow doulas, and found that these important transitions have a lot in common. The need to have someone near, for emotional reassurance, information (what is going to happen? is this normal?), and a loving touch. 

This thought occurred to one of my blog readers, who contacted me with this e-mail:

Last night as I midwifed my cat through her dying hours I thought about how comforting the touch, soft voice, and warm breath would be for people who were dying and wondered if there was a niche for doulas for dying.  Of course it’s important to have loved ones with you when you are dying but sometimes those loved ones have all passed on or are too far away to be there during the dying hours.  And most of us know from seeing fathers and other family members at births that they often need as much doula care as the woman giving birth.  The same is likely to be true for dying – their presence is important, but they may not be able to provide the gentle caressing and soft voice that a trained doula can provide. 

My husband and I don’t have children and we often discuss our concerns that the second one to die won’t have someone with them for their dying hours.  I know I would feel better if I knew there were people trained to comfort the dying in a hands-on way who could be hired at the time of death to provide needed emotional care.  Certainly hospice provides wonderful and necessary comfort to the dying, but I’m talking here about someone who works along side a hospice team and who serves at the end of life the same function as a doula at the beginning of life.   It would be someone who was paid for his or her services, just like a birth doula usually is.  Maybe it seems a heresy to suggest that birth and death could both be supported by a doula, but don’t we need as much love and help at the end of life as we do at the beginning?

Though not too common, there do exist "End-of-Life Doulas" or "Death Doulas," if you will. Actually, googling will turn up a couple of programs that include doulas in their care for the dying.

It seems the role of the doula can have an impact in many areas of life. More and more popular these days are doulas for the full spectrum of birth experiences, for example, stillbirth or abortion. 

What do you think about the concept of "doulas for dying"Have you encountered an End-of-Life Doula before? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Back As a Mrs.

Hello, blog! I'm back!

I apologize for my long absence; I was unprepared for how much your life gets sucked up by wedding planning. But, now I am back, and happily ever after married to the cute boy who encouraged me to become a doula. How could I not marry the man who drew me an adorable doula comic?

There have been some interesting occurrences as we've planned, wedded, and been married that have chafed my feminist sensibilities.

When I made the reservation at the hotel we'd be staying at the night of our wedding, the hotel automatically put it in my husband's name. This really irked me because 1. I made the reservation, 2. I was paying for it with my credit card, and 3. I was the one checking in before the wedding (without him). Why would you change it to the man's name? So you could say that it was the "husband's-last-name" newlyweds? Well, that is presumptuous for multiple reasons. What if I'm not changing my name? The whole thing rubbed me the wrong way, and I asked them to change it. Unfortunately, it had not been changed the day that I checked in, and I gave the concierge a piece of my mind.

Anyone who refers to us as "Mr. and Mrs. Husband's First and Last Name." I. will. kill. you.
I am a separate person and I am not his property! Just go ahead and erase my entire individual existence, why don't you!?

The fact that because I have chosen to have one family surname that matches my husband's (and future children), that I have to change my name with social security, the bank, my passport, the DMV, human resources, my work colleagues, my health insurance... the list goes on. I come home and fill out and fax tons of paperwork, and my husband doesn't have to worry about it at all. The only easy part of this is that these institutions are so used to it, that it is a piece of cake. If my husband had decided to change his name with me to a new name (which we were contemplating), he would have had a very hard time doing so, since it is not the "norm."

We went to the bank to open a joint checking account to officially begin our shared fiscal future. When the bank associate was telling us the details of our account, she told us that my husband was the primary account holder and I was secondary, "because he's the husband" and she smiled. He and I looked at each other and said to her, completely seriously, "That's unacceptable. Is that really the reason?" She thought it was all fun and told us, "Ok, how about it is because his last name starts with a B which comes earlier in the alphabet?" We didn't want to make a big deal out of it, since it sounded like it really didn't matter whose name was first, but it irked us that that was the default. After we left my husband actually offered to go back and change it to me, but I told him I really didn't think it meant anything in terms of the account's operations.

The fact that when we file taxes, we have to file "married but withhold at single," because the IRS still considers the married/joint tax brackets to be only one person working, or one person making significantly more money than their spouse. Because this is not the case, if we file as married, we would suffer from being taxed at a higher rate than if we file single, AKA the marriage penalty. I actually just read a story this morning about how the IRS Supports the Gender Pay Gap.

I'll probably come up with more as time goes on, but that's just what I've encountered in the past 2 weeks!

What non-feminist societal occurrences irked you when you got married? What else have you experienced that I haven't, yet?

I am grateful for my feminist husband, and super excited to call him my husband after 8 years together. Thanks for reading!

- Mrs. Anthro Doula

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Now THAT'S a Big Baby!

I stumbled across this blog post of Hyper Realistic Sculptures today and just had to share.

Next time you talk about fear of/induction/c-section for "big baby," I hope you picture this! (Cause nobody's baby is as big as that!)

The artist, Ron Mueck, actually sculpted quite a few having to do with birth. Click over to the blog to view more photos of this pregnant woman (who could be in first stage of labor!) and of this woman in the third stage of labor:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

First Food Deserts

Have you heard of Food Deserts?

Food deserts are defined geographical areas in industrialized countries that lack retail stores with healthy, nutritious options.

I just heard about the concept of "First Food" Deserts!

The First Food Friendly project has published a new infographic explaining the concept of first food deserts.

click to enlarge

The project defines first food deserts primarily by assessing the access to and scope of meaningful and consistent breastfeeding support. "First Food Deserts: Rethinking Food Access for Infants"a post published in the blog The Broad Side, highlights the impact of first food deserts and how the project will address them. 

Check out the animated video on First Food Deserts:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Long Time No See!

You may have noticed by prolonged absence from the blog.  I thought when I graduated I'd have tons of time to research and write posts! Unfortunately, I barely have time to read my news feed and share articles, though I have been keeping up with sharing links of interest.

It seems that blogging was perhaps my procrastination tool - now that I don't have any school work to procrastinate, I am spending my free time doing other life activities. For instance, reading for pleasure (!) by the pool, which is one of my favorite activities. I've also been working full time, which is very exciting. Thank goodness for post-graduation employment in my field! Working on the professional-side of maternal and child health has been very interesting, so far. Not that I don't have any homework - that comes in the form of wedding planning! All potential blogging time has been eaten away by planning my wedding, which is 6 months away. And it is great to be able to tell friends who wish to make plans "yes!" I am available!

Of course, I am still doula-ing! I am now part of a doula collective, and we've taken on a lot of clients over recent months. We are still working on becoming an official LLC, and I would love if anyone has any insight on doula collective operating agreements! This summer I have experienced some Firsts:
1. My first birth before 38 weeks - A late preterm birth, where baby initiated labor knowing that mom had severe preeclampsia and she needed to be born! Baby was tiny but did not have to go to the NICU. This was also my first vacuum-assisted birth (kiwi).
2. My first prolonged (6+ hour) pushing stage, and baby did have to go to the NICU - my first NICU doula baby. He is doing super well now!
3. My first scheduled C-section. Mom had a medical condition that necessitated delivery and she did not want to be induced. Unfortunately, mom had to be under general anesthesia, and I was not allowed in the delivery room.
I also had a birth that was completely uneventful, in all the right ways - everything went exceedingly smooth! But that is not a first :)

I have several blog ideas in draft form, and also some product reviews/giveaways. I really should have done them back in May, but I was running around like crazy transitioning from grad school to life. I hope that my loyal readers will still follow along, both here and on Facebook and Twitter. Of course, there's plenty to go back and read in my past posts archive, if you're interested - back when I started this blog almost 4 years ago I was posting every single day!  And I go back myself to refer to topics I've written about (just yesterday I referenced the information from my post on Race and Infant Mortality)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Public Health Ryan Gosling

...I just can't help myself. I am cracking up at these!

Do you know about the Ryan Gosling meme? (If not, read all about it at Know Your Meme)

Have you all seen Home Birth Ryan Gosling?  

Or what about Feminist Ryan Gosling

Well now there is Public Health Ryan Gosling!   

Here are a few of my favorites:

Get it? Hehe. Do you have a favorite Ryan Gosling meme?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...