Monday, March 10, 2008

What exactly am I doing:

During the week, I split my time in three ways:

1. On weekends and evenings, I work privately with wealthy expatriates and Indian women, conducting about one prenatal visit per week with each client. I also attend the prenatal classes of Delhi’s only two childbirth educators.

- I am supporting three clients who will be giving birth in technologically sophisticated private hospitals; although the price of technology is frequent pressure to receive an epidural and interventions that often can create additional complications.
I keep detailed prenatal records, write meticulous birth stories, and photographically document prenatal classes.

2. One to two days a week, I volunteer in the labor room of a government hospital. It is an aesthetically different picture-- each bed (soiled with bodily fluids) is occupied by two
or three laboring women, who are sometimes emotionally and physically abused by the medical staff.

- I began volunteering after the physicians observed the benefits of doula-supported birth. The hospital director asked if I would conduct presentations on sanitation and labor positions/comfort measures. Since the benefits of a doula are centered on a continuous presence and a few simple techniques, my ultimate goal is to create a system wherein each laboring woman brings a female relative or friend to play a doula-like role. These support women will have access to birth tips, positions, and comfort techniques through instructions from the re-trained staff and translated/illustrated posters.

1. Three days a week, I work with Dai (traditional Indian midwives) through a local NGO.

- I am creating groups where Dai come together to discuss their past and present birth experiences. At these groups, successes are shared and problems are tackled in three ways: drawing on the Dai’s own manifold experiences; using my access to outside resources; and arranging meetings with a doctor. The structure of these groups ensures that knowledge and information flow both ways, as the Dai’s intimate knowledge of birth and their communities is a dynamic vehicle for empowerment and education. My goal is to assist the Dai in creating a “bank” of supportive traditions and medical information that will help them conquer and prevent pregnancy complications.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello Grace,

I don't know how often you check your blog out but I hope you will see my message some time. I am very interested by your experience in Dehli with the dais.

I study midwifery in Belgium, I have just completed my first year. I am spending the summer in Pune near Bombay. Here I meet dais in rural villages and I speak with them about their experiences, skills, and present situation. Their known-how is amazing.
I would really like to exchange with you on these matters.
My email is the following:

Hoping to here from you,

Best regards,

Anne T.