Supporting Our Clients As They Transform Through Birth

Britta Bushnell

My first introduction to Dr Britta Bushnell was one of her quotes I stumbled on as I was scrolling through Facebook. I read it once, and then again...and then again. All I could think was “Wow!” As a new mama and experienced birth worker, it really struck a chord.

“What if instead of talking about birth as natural or medicated, surgical or vaginal, we talked about the transformation experienced by those who live it? What if instead of asking a new parent if they gave birth naturally or with drugs, we asked how birth transformed them? What if instead of asking details about an unexpected cesarean we asked the new parent how the new experience impacted them? What if we got curious about the individual rather than putting them in a binary box? Boxes tell us very little about the person or their experience.” - Dr Britta Bushnell

I love this so much. As birth workers, we often think “What happened?” during labor and try to get our clients to feel ‘good’ about their birth events. If we are encouraged to sit with our clients through their journey of transformation and the big feelings about their birth and becoming a parents, how would this shift how we, as doulas, approach processing births with our clients?

As a new mama, I was asked by well meaning friends and family what my birth was like - meaning, what was the sequence of events that took place. But I’ve noticed that as birth workers, we ask this very same question all the time. I know I have. After I had my baby in July 2016, many of my colleague’s first question was if I had had a ‘natural’ birth or not. It always left me feeling uneasy and I didn’t know why, until I read this quote. Then I had flashbacks of all the times I had made assumptions about a mother’s experience of her birth based on the events that took place, rather than how those events impacted her.

In this interview, Britta speaks with us about reframing how we support our clients before, during and after birth. Find out more information about Britta here, as well as her fantastic upcoming book, Transformed by Birth - a must read for all birth workers and new parents.

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