Guest Post: End of Life Doulas

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.

Prescott Cactus

You Rang?

I thought I heard Tamara call my name.

A thousand and one posts

Wow, that last post was my 1,000th post here at Balloon Juice. I was not expecting that when I first got started here.

I’ve been a Balloon Juice reader and primarily a lurker since before the Cole Conversion time. Over the summer of 2013, I saw a lot of good questions about the ACA and how it would effect our community. I got in touch with a front-pager I know in real life and asked if I could write a couple of posts to answer a couple of questions. He e-mailed John and John gave me the keys to this place. I figured that I would twenty to thirty thousand words in forty or fifty posts and then I would be done.

Over the past three years, I have eight hundred or more health insurance posts with about half a million words written.

That was a slight miscalculation.

I’ve rediscovered how much I like to write about a subject that I like. Every day I get to answer a question, explore something that I heard something about but now need to explain, or advocate for a slightly better world with tweaks to the current policy universe. I’ve been able to point people in the right direction when they are getting screwed over. We’ve been able to go through complicated choice structures to get community members taken care of when they know they need to do something but do not know what they have to do.

At the same time, my education has deepened as the community here and a second community of wonks, advocates and researchers. If I need to know about anti-trust law, I have a couple of world class experts who share their time with me. If I need to know more about Medicare, I can talk to people who are on it, I can talk with CMS techno-wonks, and national level advocates. If I need to learn more accounting, there are plenty of people who will share their knowledge and expertise with me.

I never thought I would have written here for more than a couple of months. But between all of you, the community and John’s amazing ability to let things flow, I am more energized than I ever thought I would be a thousand posts ago.

I don’t have to tell you fucking anything …

Sit down to write post on election polling. Read comments in Tuesday Morning Open Thread. Say fuck it – let the punters field this one. Cut, paste. Wander off to search out another drink.

dm says:
August 9, 2016 at 7:39 am

I see these polls and I think: Bradley Effect Bradley Effect Bradley Effect. Who wants to admit to a pollster that they’re voting for an idiot? So… expect Trump to do better at the ballot box than he does in polls.

one_particular_harbour, fka Botsplainer says:
August 9, 2016 at 7:46 am

My prediction all along has been that Hill is actually underpolling, that conservative women aged 50+ will go ahead and vote for her in the privacy of the voting booth. They’re polling differently because they’re worried about people overhearing, return calls, direct mail, etc.

Trump reminds them too much of their husbands.

It’s gonna play hell with exit polls, while leading to squealing accusations of rampant fraud.

Expect big surprises, maybe even in the plains.

Amir Khalid says:
August 9, 2016 at 8:02 am

My own suspicion about the polling is that I don’t know if the Trump campaign is capable of performing to its candidate’s polling. He might poll at x% in such-and-such state, and fall short of that number on election day because he didn’t have the organisation to get the vote out for him.

Shalimar says:
August 9, 2016 at 8:28 am

@Amir Khalid: I am not sure a major American party has ever had a candidate who thought his supporters would all go to the polls on their own because he was so awesome. If great organization was really a big difference between Obama and Romney/McCain, then it should mean Trump gets at least 5% below his projections. And his projections are beginning to look really horrible.

Have at it.

ETA: The discussion in the comment thread is wonderful. I love you all. rikyrah wins though.

rikyrah says:
August 9, 2016 at 10:08 am (Edit)
Pound these muthaphuckas INTO THE GROUND!!!!

Saturday Morning Open Thread: Compare & Contrast

It is absolutely men’s responsibility to fight sexism too. And as spouses and partners and boyfriends, we need to work hard and be deliberate about creating truly equal relationships.

The good news is that everywhere I go across the country, and around the world, I see people pushing back against dated assumptions about gender roles. From the young men who’ve joined our It’s On Us campaign to end campus sexual assault, to the young women who became the first female Army Rangers in our nation’s history, your generation refuses to be bound by old ways of thinking. And you’re helping all of us understand that forcing people to adhere to outmoded, rigid notions of identity isn’t good for anybody—men, women, gay, straight, transgender, or otherwise. These stereotypes limit our ability to simply be ourselves.

This fall we enter a historic election. Two hundred and forty years after our nation’s founding, and almost a century after women finally won the right to vote, for the first time ever, a woman is a major political party’s presidential nominee. No matter your political views, this is a historic moment for America. And it’s just one more example of how far women have come on the long journey toward equality.

I want all of our daughters and sons to see that this, too, is their inheritance. I want them to know that it’s never been just about the Benjamins; it’s about the Tubmans too. And I want them to help do their part to ensure that America is a place where every single child can make of her life what she will.

That’s what twenty-first century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.

Apart from GOTV — and watching the Olympics — what’s on the agenda for the day?

Olympics and Other Open Thread

By request.