New Beginnings Doula Training

New Beginnings Doula Training
Courses for doulas and online childbirth education

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

cultural sensitivity in birth

"Cultural Sensitivity

The third piece of the puzzle is cultural sensitivity, which:
• is an affective construct that relates to values, beliefs, and attitudes.
• implies that an individual has an open attitude in relationship to themselves and others, allowing them to explore their own beliefs and values as well as being receptive to the beliefs and values of others.
• emphasizes approaching others with humility while taking the role of learner rather than assuming one has sufficient knowledge."

I had to explore this idea after reading it in my cultural competency course.  This idea made me step back and think about how I help people learn.  Do I really do this, with this kind of attitude in mind?...and if I don't I really should.

As a doula, I come in contact with all sorts of viewpoints regarding birth.  Some are super natural and others prefer any and all intervention.  Most are somewhere in between.  Then, there is me.  I come to them with my own set of assumptions and world view regarding birth.  The key is learning how to teach, while also figuring out what it is that I need to learn about the person  I am teaching.

Most of the time, as care providers, we need to do a lot more listening than talking.  I like the idea in this quote of allowing others to explore their own beliefs.  We do this by presenting information, then listening to what the other person has to say about that information.  I know that this is something that I need to work on.  

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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.