I once heard a fellow birth worker claim "a Birthkeeper, is whatever she chooses to be." And that is absolutely true. Birthkeeper, is a term generally that one is free to claim, adapt, and mold- because there is no solid definition.
Most often a Birthkeeper is a person with birth experience, training, and a deep respect for the sacredness of birth. She may do a little more then any one term can cover. She may be a little more embracing of the natural and wild side of birth vs the overly medicalized side. She may be a little more cautious with the power of words.
I am a Birthkeeper, and to me this means taking every part of myself and using it to keep and protect and hold the space that mothers need to birth on their terms. I bring all of my unique skills to the table, and offer them in service to the mother and her team. I take my storytelling skills, my writing skills, my photography, my faith, my love for learning and reading, my doula training, my training in mental health and pmads, my personal experience with birth, loss, and motherhood, my natural empathy, my connections, my friendships, my voice, and so much more- I use it all in birthwork and mother care. I use it to help mothers navigate their journeys in homebirth, and hospital birth. I use to to help them prepare, and plan, and birth, and recover in beautiful and often holistic ways. (please note that some use the term birthkeeper to cover Medical based care practices- I am not a medical professional, not a midwife, and I and provide no medical or clinical services, I do not use the term in this way.)
Why I don't use the term Doula
I believe strongly in the power of words. I believe in the importance of lineage and history. I try to do my research, I have an open mind, and I am constantly adapting. When I first heard the word doula, I was told it means birth servant- it was told to me with a flattering spin, after all we are serving mothers during birth. However while researching the history of doulas, I discovered that the term in origin was actually quite offensive. It partially comes from a time in Greek history, as a term that was used in a derogative nasty way, to describe female birth slaves. To diminish the value of birth work and women. While I totally understand how words adapt over time, and that the word doula is commonly accepted and cherished, I have to be true and honor where it came from too. Even besides this reason, the term never seemed to fit the way I serve, the way I work, or the vibe I hold. I choose not to use this word for myself, unless it is in terms of clarifying with medical personal the role I play in the birth team. I also FULLY respect and honor others who choose to call themselves doula, and acknowledge that the only true limitations of any label are self created. In my own heart, doula just wasn't right for me.
Sometimes, Doulas also must operate within a certain scope.
I offer so much more within my practice and service. I wanted a term that would encompass all of who I am, and be flexible enough to expand with me as I gain skills and knowledge in the future. I have heard it said, while doula is a profession- Birthkeeper is a calling.
A Birthkeeper, is a keeper of space. She holds space for the spiritual, the physical, the emotional. She holds space for your fears and hopes and dreams. She can help you find your path, through a medical obstacle course, or among the wildflowers. A Birthkeeper believes in you and your ability to birth. She believes that birth is sacred.
Specifically, I as a Birthkeeper, believe that every birth is sacred. That every women deserves to birth in a way that is safe for her and her baby, in a way that she feels cherished and known. In a way that honors the sacredness of birth, be it home birth, or cesarean birth, or anything in between.
I want to encourage you mothers not to give up on the birth vibes of your dreams, even if you are limited by how and where you can birth due to any number of things. I encourage mothers to push limits and boundaries in a safe way, but also to find peace and acceptance when they have reached a limit they can not or do not wish to cross at the time. I help mothers find comfort, and family, and connection where they are, in even the MOST medical births. I help mothers find joy and help them create space within birth to thrive emotionally.
I am no single role. Like water, I take form to whatever role is needed of me. I help cultivate and honor the space, the wildwood, wherein women can grow into their motherhood in the way that best suits them.
For more see: A Birthkeepers Heart
Contact Me with any questions
Sincerely, your sacred Wildwood Birthkepeer