By: Prescott Cactus
plural noun: doulas
a woman who is trained to assist another woman during childbirth and who may provide support to the family after the baby is born.
The word “doula” comes from the ancient Greek meaning “a woman who serves” and is now used to refer to a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth.
Elena Gooray over at Pacific Standard Magazine writes about End-of-Life Doulas. She spoke with Deanna Cochran, 55, Austin, Texas, an end-of-life doula, hospice nurse, and founder of the End of Life Practitioners Collective. It’s an international organization that provides support for family and a community for practitioners.
What Deanna is trying to do is open up to the world to the conversations about death in an all encompassing way. Giving birth is a 9 month ritual culminating with bringing a life into the world. Death can be a sharp pain, a cold body and a financial transaction with a funeral parlor. . . If we let it be.
The birth experience includes OB-GYN’s, maternity wards, pre-natal care, sonograms and baby showers. Deanna’s organization tries to expand our lives to include the same richness / fullness to death that birth currently receives. Her organizations site even has a Podcast devoted to Palliative Care and every modality or idea that could possibly relieve suffering at the end of life.
Time marches on and we as a society embrace new life with vigor, but death with fear and apprehension. This won’t change unless we expand ourselves. Take a look around Deanna’s site. With years of hospice experience, I’m learning some new things.
Special thanks to valued front pager Richard Mayhew for the heads up on the article and valued commenter raven who recently lost a good friend JA.