Reviews Mothering the Mother

This book documents three research studies which prove the titles hypothesis. Two of the studies were done in Guatemala and the third in Houston, TX.

All the projects document reductions cesarean section and other interventions. The research was based on work done in Dublin, Ireland. The hospital there has been so successful with doula support that they have instituted it for all their births. The birthing classes in Dublin promise every woman less than 12 hours of labor because of the constant individualized attention, and they succeed in every case. The information and randomized controlled trials are very compelling.

In addition to the lowering of intervention during labor and delivery, the research presents information that indicates that the constant support of a doula during labor has ramifications that extend for a minimum of six months after the delivery date. Mothers who were supported at birth respond that their infants are smarter, calmer, and healthier than women who were not supported with trained doulas. This has implications beyond that which I personally expected. The power and vulnerability of the birth time is amazing. The doula has the power to positively change the course of a person’s life by changing the perceptions of their family by merely being present and supportive. The implications are just incredible. What sadness I feel for children who start out without this advantage.

The book also discussed the father’s true role in labor and delivery-emotional support of the mother. It makes the point that our society has isolated itself from the normal support groups found in the majority of cultures studied. Our society expects first time fathers to be the sole support for first time mothers. This is an unrealistic expectation.

Fathers are expected to overcome their own issues around childbirth with no support and are also expected to anticipate and understand the woman’s needs and issues in a situation new to them. It makes such logical sense that you should have an experienced person there to support the couple.

It’s amazing to me how the cultural norm is accepted as the only reality and it takes so much to unlearn the cultural programming. The majority of couples who are first time parents say they want to be alone. Couples who have experienced labor and delivery say that having someone would have been helpful.

In conclusion, the book gives evidence regarding the effectiveness and far reaching effects of a doula. It addresses the true role of father as emotional support. It also looks at doula training and selection. It lists references and resources. A most effective book.