Your BIRTH Partners

Doula Role with Pansay

February 24, 2020 Your BIRTH Partners Season 1 Episode 5
Your BIRTH Partners
Doula Role with Pansay
Chapters
Your BIRTH Partners
Doula Role with Pansay
Feb 24, 2020 Season 1 Episode 5
Your BIRTH Partners

Join us as we dig into the doula role, and what it's like to walk alongside people during some of the most transformational times of their lives.  Get to know Pansay Tayo, who has dedicated herself to "mothering the mother," infusing her practice with personalized ceremony to help each individual feel seen and honored through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/yourbirthpartners)

Show Notes Transcript

Join us as we dig into the doula role, and what it's like to walk alongside people during some of the most transformational times of their lives.  Get to know Pansay Tayo, who has dedicated herself to "mothering the mother," infusing her practice with personalized ceremony to help each individual feel seen and honored through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum.

Support the show (https://www.paypal.me/yourbirthpartners)

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Hello, welcome to Your BIRTH Partners. We are here to break down barriers and cultivate community as we discuss issues that impact pregnancy, birth and postpartum. We welcome you no matter what your background is and are so excited to learn together. Today we have Pansay Tayo on the line. She is our doula and we are going to learn a little bit more about her background, what drew her to birth and how she lives that out in her many different roles. And you'll also gain a greater understanding about the roles that doulas play during birth, and hopefully clear up some misconceptions that we often find about what their role is. Onto the show!

:

Hello, Pansay! Tell us about yourself. I am Pansay, and yes, I am , I'm a doula. In addition to, a placenta encapsulator, I also assist a t home births. I do take great pride in assisting my m oms through ritual and ceremony for pregnancy and birth, and also, you know, beyond. What does it mean to be a doula? When I think about my position as doula, j ust like majority of my other work, I model it, u m , a fter how I seen my grandmother protect our family. And her role in the family. So for me, u m , s he was number one... She, I felt safe, you know, she, she was the protector. Um , s he always made sure that we were, u m , n ourished, well, you know, through food, u m , s piritually, she made sure that we were nurtured and nourished. It was, you know, through her that I really knew what strength was, you know, and what it looked like. So being a doula, you know, I take the words very seriously, you know, saying that I mother the mother because the reality is that in this day and time, our family dynamics are not set up the same. We have, you know, we have lost a lot of our sacred rituals and ancient traditions when it comes to rig hts of passage in pregnancy, you know, in bi rth. For me, even in my childhood, you know, it was, I was taught, you know, to be strong, you know, you sick, suck it up, keep goi ng. I t was that way through everything, but with that we sup press so much. We sup press fe ars, we suppress traumas. What happens, and I, you know, I r e ally learned this through home birth. What happens when it comes to pregnancy and birth from us not, you know, tending to our inner selves from us, not attending to our spi ritual selves, um , is that when we go through life, um , dis regarding those parts of our being, it shows up and it impacts your birth because we are so open and vulnerable at birth. If you have, you know, fears or, using my myself as an example, being raised without a mother at that moment, I want my mother and, and the sadness, it comes up. And when that sadness comes up or t ha t fear comes up, what happens? Our sphincters close up. So just as much as, um , you know, the midwives or the OBs, they tend to the physical body, who's tending to the whole woman? And, um , thr oughout my doula training and midwifery training, that was the part, um , tha t I felt was missing, you know?

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Yeah .

Pansay, Doula:

You know our midwives take a very personal , um, role , with our mothers, but, you know, but even with that, I think we need to, I've seen that we need a little more mothering, you know, so , um , being a doula, it is, it is truly, truly from the moment I meet a client, it is mothering the mother. And my goal is to nurture and nourish her whole being, her spirit, her mind, you know, and her body. And throughout our time together , um, I introduce her to practices, you know, so that she can do that. And most of us, you know, it's, you know, it's work tending to the kids, tending to, you know, husband , um, we do not incorporate time for sacred space, sacred solitude for journaling to , um, to get to know ourselves, to even address our fears and traumas and those things. So that is , um , the foundation, you know, of my doula work and what I have found and I , I know a book or something is coming, cause I just have all of these, all these women that I see all these amazing transitions, but I've see the birth of the mother when you mother them through this sacred, you know , time. So yes, baby is born, which is a magnificent thing. But when you see the birth of the mother, the new woman that is born and all the realizations and you know, her even , um, wrapping her mind around the strength that she had to bring forth that life to accomplish this task, that she didn't think she was capable of. Especially our moms who have been in a presence of, you know, an OB, who have told them that they cannot, you know, bring forth this baby in the way that they, you know, want to. So when they have those naysayers and those, those people that were against them, and then we meet and it's, you know, with that nurturing, you're building them up and you're building them up. And the more you make them feel safe, the more confidence, you know, they have. Bringing them , um, you know, through that , it's really seeing a new woman, you know , um, that's birth. So that's, you know, that's much bigger than what I was taught in my training.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

And what shaped your professional journey, kind of what has been your , your path through it?

Pansay, Doula:

Oh, boy what shaped it? It was my own, my own personal taumas and um, and loss, so many miscarriages. And even to the point where I was told I could not have another child. So you know, from that, you know, I , I met a , um , a chiropractor, a naturopath, you know , doctor and he couldn't even believe somebody even told me that, but he said, "no, no, Okay. I know that you can." Like, really? "Yes, but what do you need to do?" And he gave me those things you need to tend to your whole self. So that was getting my nutrition in order. That was dealing with, you know, my trauma. Um, so I had to get the whole woman together and once I got my, my whole self together , um, my baby girl is 10, now, you know, she's here. So that was one of the biggest , um, components or experiences that shaped my, you know, work , um, for, you know, how I doula my moms .

Maggie, RNC-OB:

I love that. And then how do you feel like, you know, that weighing back and forth between kinda, like that professional side of what you've learned in trainings and, you know, kind of your approach and how do you weigh that with, you know, personal experience and intuition and how they play into your practice?

Pansay, Doula:

Well you can probably imagine that, you know, when you take a training , um, for a specific profession, but your intuition , um, or you know, spirit is telling you to do things differently and you're not seeing anybody else, you know, do that. Um, you tend to wonder if you are making a mistake, you know. But I truly felt that it was so needed and I felt that if I had had, you know, that same mothering that things would have been, you know, so different. So, you know, me trusting for one, my own experience with, you know, bringing my daughter here. That had to be, you know , trust. I had to, to truly trust and believe and having people around to support that, yes, she's fine. You know, you're going to, you know, bring her forth that, you know, encouraged me and built my, you know, intuition. So those experiences help , you know, helps me to relay or give that, you know, give that same love and support , you know, to my clients to instill in them the importance that your body knows exactly what to do. And for the most part, all of our answers are within, you know, so giving them the tools to even realize what intuition is, you know, giving them the tools, the tools to tap into it, you know, sacred space , um, in those types of things. But the importance of it when it comes to pregnancy and birth of trusting, you know, yourself and trusting your intuition when it comes to such a sacred time.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Yeah. So powerful. And so then big like future planning. Where do you see yourself in, you know , 10 years? What does the next decade look like?

Pansay, Doula:

I hope the next decade definitely , um, brings me fully into my midwifery training. I know the little ones will be, you know, growing up, y ou k now, so fast. So once I get them to a certain place, I will love to dive back into my midwifery studies. U m, I am getting more requests to travel, to bring, you know, sacred ceremony and ritual. So that is a goal of mine is to take it, take those trainings, u m, to wherever it's needed so I can fill those voids in communities. U m, just like I'm doing here in Maryland.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

That's awesome; that's wonderful. I can't wait to see how, how your journey grows through that. And then, so kind of switching away from you personally a little bit, but tell us, you know, you can a little bit more about just kind of doulas, what, you know, what does that role and profession mean? What kind of like schooling or training options are there for people if they're thinking that, you know, all of this sounds great and they want to learn more about either what it means to be a doula, kind of how that works.

Pansay, Doula:

Okay. Well, I took my training, excuse me, here in Maryland with Nilajah Brown , which she is definitely a blessing to our community. She's trained , um, majority of the black doulas here. So I think it's in this day and time it's more , it's, it is easier to find all the trainings. I'm starting to see, you know, more and more, I've even seen online , um, training, but , um, yes, through doula trainings and then from there , um, you know, expanding your services, which means you have to , um, you know, look for more training specific encapsulation , um , and you know, other, other things like that.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Alright . And then how many , um, how many births is it typical for doulas to kind of , to observe and participate in before they're, they're out practicing on their own.

Pansay, Doula:

Oh, okay. We are required to attend three births before, you know, before we're certified. Um, there are, you know, it's a list of other prerequisites before you get that certification that you have to do, you know, read books and , um, classes, you know, breastfeeding classes and you know, all that. But three births before you can get up there.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Perfect. Okay. That's great. And then what do you feel like, are there, you know, are there any professional organizations that kind of help to guide or kind of shape, you know, what, how doulas can kind of practice. How does that, how does that like bigger doula community kind of interact in and play in with each other as you're practicing? Do you see a lot of kind of, kind of go back and forth between people exchanging ideas and tips or are there different like conferences or how do you kind of find your spot within that?

Pansay, Doula:

I have to say that, you know, when , when I first became a dual , I felt that it wasn't a lot of support there . You know, what the saying is if, you know, if you don't have it, you know, created yourself. Thankfully, you know , as I grew in my position that I, you know , more relationships were built, you know, with midwives and other doulas. I then created a mentorship program because, you know, I know I struggled, I can remember being in hospital room and just so nervous and just having a question and didn't have anybody to call and that type of thing. So, I now have a mentorship program hoping to, you know, expel that for all, all the new doulas so that they have, u m, they have ongoing support, you know, and also, you know, it increases, their experience, you know, within this new career that they are taking, you know, within Maryland, u m, as you know, we do have a very nice birth community.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Absolutely.

Pansay, Doula:

Yeah. So, you know, we have Maryland birth network, which is beneficial to moms and also, you know, birth practitioners. I do have a monthly doula support group virtually and sometimes you know, in person where we kind of , you know, get together and allow those doulas to kinda like mothering the doula, you know, them, you know , talking about their birth experiences and different traumas they might've experienced, you know.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Sure. Yeah. And I think that's, I think it's so important to have that sense of being able to kind of come together and talk with other people who are experiencing that. I know a lot of times obviously as you know, as a doula you are working one on one with a client. Um , and so we usually are there with the other birth workers, providers, whoever is taking care of, you know, of the client. But you don't necessarily, you're not processing, you know, things with them. And then, you know, the birth experience ends and you know, then you're kind of on your own. And it's so important to be able to have those people to turn to and try to get ideas for how to, how to handle situations as they keep progressing. So I love that. And I love that you're developing a mentorship program. And so let's see what else, you know, can you just tell us a little bit more kind of generally about, like what the role is that doulas play during pregnancy, you know, through birth and then into postpartum? Like how are, how does that service kind of play through?

Pansay, Doula:

It plays, I know, you know , um , unlike what so many people I that I see, think would doulas are right. So, you know, they think that we show up at births and we rub backs and you know, that's what I hear .

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Okay , sure. Yeah. [laughter]

Pansay, Doula:

Which we do, but it's so much bigger; it's so much bigger than that. Again, getting back to that family dynamic, you know, everybody's so busy, you know, so , sometimes it's very difficult for clients to have that one person that they can call anytime , you know, for the most part that they, you know, when they have questions, when they are feeling, you know, fearful. So for one, we are the support, we're their support, we're the moms, you know, we're their ear. I attend, you know, attend doctor's appointments, you know, with my clients. I definitely find that some of my clients, I'm sorry, a lot of my clients are very nervous about asking, you know, asking doctors certain questions, you know , um, and they asked me to come, well for this particular appointment, can you , you know , come cause I want to ask, you know, X, Y, and Z. So, you know, we're, we're their little confidence in a corner, you that support , um, with that. So we attend, you know, doctor's appointments with them. We educate them on everything dealing with, you know, pregnancy. In addition to, you know , um , natural and holistic remedies, if the client is trying to stay away from, you know, synthetics and medication and those things. In addition to helping them to prepare, we want them to prepare for the best birth and for the birth that they want. So educating them, what are the things that you can do to stay healthy throughout the pregnancy? How nutrition, you know, in food, is so important with a healthy pregnancy and birth. Giving them all of the options, you know, from, from the time they are pregnant , until you know, postpartum. "Okay; what are all my options, you know, with this?". Even the locations, you know, where I can have a baby, you know, it's so many different locations and it's, you know, you meet some clients and they have no idea what a birth center is, you know, and didn't think that they could, you know, go to a birth center. So it's really, support, you know, education. Just reminding, reminding them of their power because they, you know, they're already powerful. Just being a reminder that they can, t hat they were built for the task of bringing forth life, that t hey're capable. The education, you know, the education piece, childbirth, education and preparation, and also most importantly, you know, postpartum, we ki nd o f d rop our moms off, post- baby, you know.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

YES.

Pansay, Doula:

But the importance of tending to themselves , um, you know, for postpartum and how, you know, if it's not done, how it affects us in later years and even when we, you know, once you conceive again, so , the importance of nutrition and resting , and you know, breastfeeding , even to the extent of, you know, choosing pediatricians , you know, it's a lot. It's a very beautiful relationship.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Yeah. Yeah. I love it . And I love it . I love the relationship quality of it and how I think that piece of going all the way through postpartum and then obviously, you know , beyond that initial piece of it, I think it's so important for people to feel like they have an ear, they have someone who can, you know, who they can send a quick text or a picture, you know, whatever, to and know that they have someone who is, who is still invested in, you know, in them and their baby's wellbeing. And really still wants the best for them beyond birth. So that's beautiful. All right . And then if you could just kind of tune us in a little bit. What , what do you feel is the biggest challenge, you know, facing your role?

Pansay, Doula:

I truly, truly feel that , with the climate being what it is , with my sisters , black women dying in childbirth , the challenge is really getting that word out to them , um, to having my sisters understand that it's not, you know, as simple as choosing a OB , having my baby and coming home.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Mmmhmmm.

Pansay, Doula:

It's, it's real. The numbers are there, you know, to prove it. So , um, you know, childbirth education, you know, getting , stressing the importance that women, black women, you know, get that education, you know, beforehand. In addition to, you know, going to these doctor's appointments with them, you know, helping them to understand what's being said , um , by the doctor, you know, assisting when I need to, you know, assist, you know, asking questions about, you know , pros and cons and benefits and, you know, options, period. But there is a large , um , number of us that think that, you know, that the hospital and doctors have our best interests at hand. Um, so that challenge is, you know, really stressing the, you know, the importance that this is a serious crisis and, you know, we have to really be vested , um, put the energy, you know , the monetary finances, you know, into it , getting a doula , you know, taking time to finding the right provider, you know, for you. So right now that's, you know, that's, that's it. Yeah.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Yeah. It is. I mean, it's obviously, it's a huge challenge and our , you know, in our country we're not doing a good enough job across the board , um, for maintaining, you know , maternal health during birth. And we, there's a huge disparity. You know, we see so many more, it impacts our communities of color so much higher than, than anyone else. And that's, you know, it, it's hard I think for, you know , providers to accept that sometimes because we don't want that to be the reality. But it's really important for us to look at those numbers and realize that and then turning our attention so that we can actually do better. You know, by these communities that are being most impacted by these policices. And like you said, I think, you know, it's, in every area of h ealthcare we need to be, we need to have autonomy, we need to take ownership of our health. So every one of us has different goals and different desires, you know, for our health and then in birth. And so it's unrealistic to go to anyone, you know, provider and expect them to know that and to be able to provide everything y ou k now, that we need. And so, like you said, empowering ourselves with education and making sure people understand that, you know, they need to really be able to have conversations, you know, with their provider to make sure that they're on the same page because everyone doesn't want the same thing and you can't expect anyone else to read our minds. So we need to be, you know, as, as patients and as advocates, you know, for our clients, we need to be able to step up and make sure that whatever their desires are, there's a range, that they're being met. And I mean, absolutely, I think for that, it's a huge challenge for doulas to find that, that balance, you know, between advocating, u m, you know, for their patient without stepping over these l ines. And it is, I think it's, you know, there's a ton of work being done all throughout the country as people a re really tuning in and seeing these disparities in healthcare and how they're impacting, u m, you know, our world and i t's, we're not gonna, like I know we've talked about before, but we're not g etting anywhere without our moms and babies along for the ride with us. And we need to, we need to do a better job o n e arth about setting us up for a positive, you know, dynamic going forward.

Pansay, Doula:

Yeah . And you know what the other thing I see is, you know, really teaching them to advocate for themselves, you know, generationally. You know, I know for my generation , before I got to this work, it took my father a while before he, you know, I'm telling him, okay, you need to ask questions. You just don't take what they say and just walk out, walk out the room, so what's being passed down . What we are being told from maybe our mothers or, you know, "just go to the hospital, just have that, you know, C-section." Really reclaiming our position in birth that, you know, and the naturalness of it and how well we used to, you know, do it, you know , on our own and trusting, you know, trusting our instinct . So , um, you know, with helping moms to get that position back, it's a beautiful thing because they need it , you know, they need to be able to advocate, period. Just for motherhood, you know, for your child. Um, so switching that mindset, you know, that you need to take charge, that this is your baby, your body, you know, your birth. It should be your way. Yeah. Thankfully I see it's working, you know. Um, but yes, that definitely a challenge.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Yeah. And I do, I think, I mean doulas are, I know they are, I think they're just such a great tool for people to really help and step into their confidence. So having someone who's really 100% in your corner , um, it helps to give you a little bit more of your voice and you know , just start to regain that, which is so important. Obviously as you go through parenthood and you're constantly advocating for your child and what's in their best interest . And I mean, you know, we just, we see so many positive impacts that , you know , doulas have both on birth and then kind of that longterm sequalae as they go on? So, and then what do you think if there's, you know, a misconception, you know, what would you, what would you want the birth community should know about the role of , of the doula?

Pansay, Doula:

I think the misconception, you know, when even when I say the word misconception within the birth community, I , it takes me to the hospital setting. You know, cause that's where , um , you know, we get our, you know, that negative feedback. Um, but I believe that misconception is, is that we are, you know, that we come to disrupt, you know, the, the work of the doctor or the work of the nurse. And that's, that's not the case. It's not the case. Um, my goal and what I feel like it's missing, is the sacred-ness of it all. Specifically for the woman. And that is my goal, is to keep that intact. You know, when it comes to the environment, when it comes to how she's treated, when it comes to , you know, this is a question that, you know, that I ask myself, how will she remember, you know, how will a mother remember her birth experience, you know , will she remember being yelled at? You know, I've been in some birth situations and you know, the nurse is like, you know, yelling at the woman or you know , very disrespectful. It's a very sacred event and I believe it should be handled as such with everybody involved and the woman should be the lead. It is her birth. So I believe that that's the, the misconception that I am there for, you know , just to be a disruption or interference to the doctors and nurses. And that is not the case. That's not the case.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

No, absolutely. Yeah. And I do, I think it's hard. I think , um, as, you know, as those have come up and we're seeing so much more access to doulas and, you know, more doulas are being present, there's, I think there's a lot of work to be done just in terms of everyone understanding that, you know, that unique role that we play, you know , within it. And that, like we said before, you know, there's, there's enough work to be done in a birth for everyone to have a role and be, you know, be realized in that there is plenty of support needed. I think it is, it's about, you know, building those relationships and so that everyone is understanding what, you know, how we can all, you know , work together.

Pansay, Doula:

As a team.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

And, and that we, exactly. You know, it's beautiful. W ell, that's great. And then, so what do you think is kinda, like, the future of, you know, of the doula role? Where do you, you know, why would someone want to pursue it at this point?

Pansay, Doula:

Oh my gosh. Um, thankfully it's catching on, you know, I've had a few women reach out to me, you know, so like, "I don't have a baby yet, but, you know, when I even start thinking about it..." and that, right there, I'm like, okay, we are doing what we need to do. We are spreading the word and getting it out there even to, you know, our younger moms. And that's, that's where the education, you know, comes in for the younger generations, you know, for my daughter, she's witnessed homebirth, she's been to hospital birth, but she knows that there are different ways, you know, to give birth. And I think that is so important, you know, for women that, that, that we should teach them at a young age, these things so that they're not, you know, coming up thinking it's just, you know, one way. The future of, you know, of being a doula, it's, you know, right now it's becoming very, very common and I hope to see it, you know, where everyone, everyone has a doula, everyone has access to, you know, a doula i n some, you know, some shape or form. I've, you know, even, u m, you know, seen virtual, you know, virtual doulas, right? We, s o I love that, that it's growing. And for me, I believe it's a n ancient practice. This is, this is how we gave birth. You know, w e, we had the woman in the village, you know, the medicine woman, and then you had, you know, her assistant or i t was somebody that was right there for the mother to be the m other's support. So I truly believe we're just stepping back into, you know, o ur ancient traditions that were lost.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I know. I think there's, I totally agree. I think there's going to be a lot more just growth and continued access. You know, people realize what, you know, what it can be, what birth can look like. Well, that's beautiful. Well , thank you so much for sharing about yourself. Is there anything else you wanted to tell everyone?

Pansay, Doula:

I just wanted to say thank you to you. I thank you for your vision , um, for this. And for, you know, for you, for you bringing it forth. You know, it's one thing for us to think about things and you know, dream about things, especially when you have busy schedules like, you know, like you do. But I thank you for um, you know, for incorporating myself , and the other ladies, you know, and it's, you know, creating this circle of women for us to help you, and also to help the community. So, thank you.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Well, thank you so much. I really; this is such important and meaningful work to me, and I'm just so grateful to have you all on this as we keep learning more about how to, how to make birth better.

Pansay, Doula:

Oh, thank you so much.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Thank you! Talk soon.

Pansay, Doula:

All right . Bye. Bye.

Maggie, RNC-OB:

Thanks for tuning into Your BIRTH Partners. We love to talk birth, and would love to talk about it with you. Please join the conversation by finding us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. We're Your BIRTH Partners on all platforms, or comment on our show notes, blog at yourbirthpartners.org. We would especially love to hear any questions you have about doulas, how they can be integrated into care, and any questions that you have in particular for Pansay. Look forward to hearing from all of our doula friends out there. Till next time.