Updated: May 6, 2020
These are strange and unexpected times we're living in. I know everyone is struggling, and our collective stress is at its max. But I want to tell you about some things that are making me happy right now:
We have the privilege of living with the technology and other tools that allow us to stay connected... even remotely.
We are several months into this worldwide pandemic, meaning we already have quite a bit of knowledge about how to manage it. We might not be making all the right decisions all of the time, but at least we're not starting from zero.
This is a respiratory virus, not a gastrointestinal one. Yes, people have died and more will die. But we have clean water and we can take measures to limit the spread.
Children are re-learning how to play outside and connect with nature. Adults are meeting neighbors (across the street or through a fence) whom they haven't before spoken to.
Medicine exists to treat this illness. It won't save everyone, but it will save the majority.
Our clients have demonstrated exceptional grace in adapting to the situation, and have been patient with us as we try to keep up with messaging. Thank you!!
We are all finding ways to care for each other.
And I am so grateful.
So, where do we go from here?
The news has been changing faster than we can keep up, and we've been making changes of our own to try to keep up and accommodate and also keep everyone healthy and safe.
We know that Facebook has been censoring a lot of COVID-19 posts or marking them as spam, so we cannot rely on that as our best resource for providing information. [I also know that some of you are not on social media in the first place!] We have set up a page on our website where we can post updates as we have them. Please refer back to this page regularly, as we will not be sending push notifications through our blog or our website -- we know everyone is reaching a point of information saturation. But if you need information in between updates, or if we have not answered your question in the updates we've provided, please do not hesitate to reach out directly: firstname.lastname@example.org!
Here are some of the steps we're taking:
We are continuing to support families to the best of our abilities. All of our staff are practicing social distancing in addition to following other health and safety recommendations from the CDC.
We are ramping up virtual services, and making most of our services accessible via Zoom or other virtual platforms.
Some of our doulas, particularly those with high-risk family members, are choosing not to provide in-person support at this time. We will contact clients directly if/when this pertains to your specific care.
Other doulas are continuing to provide limited in-person support. Among those, doulas providing in-person labor support are not providing in-person postpartum support, and vice versa, to try to limit the exposure among the families we serve.
We are continuing to build community! Please follow our page for information on upcoming virtual prenatal, postpartum, and lactation visits; centering groups; webinars; and more. We are committed to helping you move smoothly through this time!
Here are some of the steps we suggest you take:
Consider hiring a homebirth midwife to do your prenatal/postpartum care so that you do not need to regularly access a clinic setting.
We highly recommend that anyone currently pregnant or in their postpartum period (first 12 weeks postpartum) request a hard copy of your (and your baby's) medical records. If your hospital is on diversion, or if your birth plans change for any reason, it will be much easier to receive care if you have your records in hand.
Prepare a laptop with video access so that you are able to connect with us virtually in the event we are not able to attend to you in person. Most hospitals are limiting support people to one per birthing person (and maybe a doula), which may impact your birthing plans.
Become acquainted with the local-area hospitals around your home. Take note of which hospitals have acknowledged cases of COVID-19, and consider going elsewhere for maternity care if/when possible.
Donate doula services to local families who have been affected financially by COVID-19 are are unable to afford needed doula services.
Donate the DMV Birthworkers Disaster Relief Fund to support our local-area colleagues who are affected by COVID-19 and unable to work at this time.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but we hope this offers a bit of reassurance as we collectively navigate this evolving situation. Please continue to follow our COVID-19 Information page for updates as they become available.
And please, as a personal favor to me, take a moment to share a comment of something you're grateful for today. We could all benefit from a bit of shared hope.
So much love to you all, as we all work to stay healthy and safe.