|Posted on November 20, 2015 at 12:55 AM|
It’s always interesting for me to set up meetings with women in the birthing field that I do not know. Waiting at the coffee shop with my silly 2 year old daughter in my lap scribbling all over my work folders, yes this is how I conduct every single one of my, “Extremely professional” interviews! I always treasure the moment that my interviewee walks in the door and something always seems to draw our glances together. With out fail, EVERY TIME this happens. And of course, as Batya Friedland walked in, that wonderful moment of synergy happened, yet again, and we knew exactly who each other were.
As we dove into the meeting it started feeling less and less like an interview, and more and more a wonderful moment of sharing passion, visions, convictions, and wonderful memories that we count ourselves blessed to be apart of in the birthing world. Batya has been an active Doula since 2013. She has one of those magnetic personalities and smile that makes you feel so peaceful as soon as you’re in her midsts. Yes, its so easy to tell the women who are called to be Doulas. This is not to say that Batya is not unique, no. For a woman who not only speaks Spanish, Mandarin, Hebrew and Thai, but is also ordained as both a Buddhist Chaplain and Jewish Rabbi, she is the furthest thing from ordinary. Currently, she is apprenticing with Selena Green of Hale Kealaula, here on O’ahu and has no doubt that this is where she is called to be. Embarking on this training was no light decision, and the true weight of what she was deciding to do seeped into her with the wisdom shared to her by a Midwifery teacher. The teacher expressed that, “ You love every single woman you work with, that is your job.” Batya further claimed that, "In midwifery, love is within the scope of professionalism!"
I personally appreciate that Batya, though firmly passionate in her beliefs with natural Birthing and Postpartum, never generalized nor negatively commented on the birthing choices of any mother she's worked with. In fact she stated very clearly, "Making generalizations about a woman, her cosmology, and her family is not the point." Batya, of course, treasures doing home births, however she does offer her services at hospital births! She also loves to be available to expecting mothers to ask questions any time they want. With her wealth of knowledge and sisterhood mentality I have no doubt her mothers find much comfort in that accessibility she offers. She up holds herself to truly being there for the mother no matter what she deems as true for her birthing plan. Batya aims to, "Not put anyone down who makes the decision to birth in a hospital, but rather support her in her agency and choice. One choice at a time the birth process can come back into the hands of the women who are truly delivering their own children." She hopes for women to reclaim the power of their CHOICE to determine how they want to birth. She even made the bold claim that the sky rocketing rates of doulas being present at births, “Is the adaptation of what we need now.” Batya is very “Ancient world oriented” as she called herself. She makes it part of her consciousness to recall the way women used to birth, whether with close family members, or unassisted. Batya really sees the need for doulas as, “A response to what [she] would call, an emergency in the current birth world.”
Batya has a refreshingly peeled back stance of how women have been birthing, and even how they are recovering during the Postpartum period. We began our discussion of the Postpartum period and the tenderness that I could see in her vibrated between the both of us as we both became united in the calling we both have to nurture in the 4th trimester of the pregnancy. Ceremony, continued to come up in our discussion over and over. We both smiled each time. I loved that with our transparency of the significant difference in our beliefs we were still joined in the necessity of ceremony in the Postpartum period. Even as a Doula and/ or a Midwife, being present during a woman's birth is very much a ceremony. The Doula and Midwife fasts from herself, for however long it takes for that woman to birth. She refrains from sleep, often eating, sometimes even water, and fully invests her mind, body and soul into this other being during this sacred time! Batya knows this ceremony very well, and celebrated that not a single one of her births have ever been even remotely similar!
Once we again revisited the subject of the postpartum period, she brought up the importance to acknowledge that death that is always companioned with birth. She admitted that, “There is also a death with birth, there is always two sides to every coin. There is the death of the life of not being a mother, or even a death of not being pregnant anymore and having to release that and maybe even grieve it.” What a beautiful way to put this transition into motherhood into words. Rarely are the realities of the postpartum period disclosed. To put it in the light in a way that is not negative, but rather encourages the woman to take her time and allow herself to slowly travel through this delicate transition, is POWERFUL for a mother to be healthy and recover properly!
Additionally, Batya offers a Service for Jewish families to partake in the revolutionary Practice of Brit Shalom, (Brit=covenant, shalom=peace. The classical name is brit milah, brit=covenant, milah=circumcision) or as Batya described it “A Peaceful Circumcision.” Instead of the ceremony centering around the actual circumcision of the baby boy, she expressed that they, “Don't offer violence to a new baby with in the first eight days of the baby’s life.” This is a huge transition in an ancient faith! She stood fast that this was a necessary step to be taken! She concluded with a statement that took me off guard and actually surprised me! Batya, with her big smile and confident stare said, “When we have women birthing from an empowered Mother-baby centered place, I do believe peace will reign on this Earth.”
This was the first time I heard someones calling echo to her holistic view of the world. My eyes were definitely opened with my interview of Batya and I truly treasure being able to be two completely different women, coming together with one vision of bettering and rendering true natural ways to birth and transition into motherhood. Our community of Women on this Island is so rich, and I plan to piece it together one Birth worker at a time! Batya was the perfect launching point for this vision, and I am so thankful to have met her and would highly recommend her services as a doula, and certainly count her as my friend!
To directly contact Batya about her services or her wealth of birthing and Postpartum knowledge you can email her at: [email protected]
Have Grit Sweet Ones,