I have been reading about a not-for-profit organisation called Doulas Supporting Teens, and I am really excited by the results they are achieving. By offering the free support of doulas to girls who become pregnant in their teens, rates of peaceful births are slowly on the rise in this demographic.
Here is a direct quote from their web-site:
What a wonderful idea, and so simple. I remember as a teenager being generally unsure about the process of labour and childbirth. It seemed something alien and painful, and dramatic birth scenes in movies and on tv didn't really give me any information about the empowering calmness you can invoke during childbirth by going within! Offering grounded, caring support and information in addition to a direct experience of community to young mothers is an absolute gift.
Founded in 2003, Doulas Supporting Teens was created as a grassroots effort to help fill the need pregnant and parenting teens in Oregon have for prenatal education, continuous labor support, in-home early postpartum care and continued support throughout the first year of parenting. Since 2003, Doulas Supporting Teens (DST) has provided services for over 200 pregnant and parenting teens and their families, and helped teen parents negotiate critical choices during pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood.
Doulas Supporting Teens' mission is to support and educate pregnant and parenting teens to bring healthy babies into healthy families to build healthy communities......
The purpose of DST is to increase awareness of, access to, and quality of education and health care for women age 18 and under and their infants. Doulas Supporting Teens:
- Connects DST doulas (labor support professionals) with pregnant teens, providing evidence based information, as well as emotional and physical support during pregnancy, labor and postpartum.
- Offers free teen-focused childbirth education classes, parenting support groups, social events, and referrals to community resources.
Australian government programmes meet some of these criteria, but current funding isn't allowing for this level of individualised support although, several successful community and church based programmes are running to meet the challenge of social isolation and prejudice experienced by many teen parents.
Inspired by reading about the information on the DST site and the Midwifery Today article about the organisation, I am hopeful of one day finding a similar programme funded within the framework of the Health Department.
I can but dream..........
Talk Soon, Cynthia