This is a golden opportunity in any circumstance. Here it seems even more precious. Both students plan on attending medical school.
You're with me, right? Imagine having their first images of birth be complete, holistic, respectful. For comparison, I have the stories some physician friends and clients have told me about the births they witnessed during rotations: panicked teen mothers, women with no prenatal care showing up in the ER, families fighting in the halls or delivery room. And, of course, no sense of birth as a continuous process. Instead, they saw the snippets of cervical exams, pre- and post-epidural mothers, and a few dozen babies being caught, pulled, extracted from the mothers.
The problem is, it is very hard to find clients willing to add another body to the birth room. I can't blame them. I certainly wouldn't want an additional person at my birth. One of the primary reasons most clients contact me is that they want to preserve a high degree of intimacy around their birth. It is often a concession to that wish to add even a doula to the plan. I can barely bring myself to raise the question: "Would you be receptive to a prospective doula observing your birth?"
I do raise the question, but couch it in very deferential language. I make it clear that my expectation is that they'll say no, but I always as just in case. I have never had someone say yes. Even the clients who were pretty immune to crowds -- who had 6 family members in the birth room and even permitted an EMT trainee to observe -- did not want another doula in the room.
So what do we do? How do we, who have access to amazing women and amazing births, who frequently work with physicians, midwives and nurses receptive to the supportive, respectful birth, who can introduce budding caregivers to birth as a normal, healthy process, how do we do this?