AMANI Affiliate Number (Teacher #)
Training Workshop Location and Date
Jeddah, December 2014
Why did you choose to become an AMANI doula/CBE?
I was clueless about childbirth before my marriage and pregnancy. My only impression of birth is screaming, loud, messy, pain, pain, and more pain. When I was pregnant with my first born, all I know is that I didn’t want to feel pain or medication. No one I spoke to believe in this idea, and my mum wasn’t helpful in preparing me although she had four unmedicated birth. She said, "It just feels like you are going for no.2 and the baby will be born." At the same time, I was not willing to put myself through videos of childbirth. When I talked about it to my sister-in-law who had recently gave birth, she said take the epidural. However, deep down I know this is not how it’s meant to be done. I read a lot, I bought many books, read through questions and questions in online forums but I still did not have the understanding on how birth works. Finally, I got to know about doulas and I hired one. In one sitting, she explained to me how birth works more than any of the books I read. I had a great birth, unmedicated with a doula and she inspired me to be one. I realized how much books do not really address the information as a doula or child birth educator does. I took the training cos’ I wanted women to know that birth is not like what you see on TV. I wanted to empower women for a positive birth experience; it is not scary and that you can give birth with a smile. In order to empower women, I strongly believe in preparing fathers too. I took the AMANI training as it connects our birth experience to our Creator. Having experienced it first hand during my pregnancy, and leaving my reliance through the Creator, I believe in what AMANI offered.
How has AMANI affected your life?
AMANI has affected my life in many ways. When I started my work as a Doula/CBE I was in the most challenging episode of my life. I believe in my work as a calling, and to sincerely serve woman and family for the sake of Allah, I saw doors opening through the work that I do. Just as tell my clients to rely on Allah, I had to do the same and surrender many times. It has been a beautiful experience so far, and to put things into perspective, I believe when I teach it comes from the deepest place of my own experience, not mere textbook, which it is relatable to the clients I serve.
How does your work as an AMANI Doula/CBE fulfill you?
I have witnessed first hand changes in the birth scenes in Jeddah. From one doctor who supports no episiotomy, we now have many who believe in the woman's ability to birth naturally. From no VBAC support, today we have doctors who will support VBA2C, and I know I had played an active role to impact these changes. And having had doctors recommending my service to pregnant mums, I know they too believe in my work.
What do you love the most about being an AMANI Doula/CBE?
The community and sisterhood. I found sisters I never had through this work. I found a soul sister through AMANI. A savior during my challenges and difficult days - Saly Kurdi, the AMANI wasta in KSA, through this organization. And I have developed meaningful ideas, work and collaborations for the community through this work. Finally, I meet women who work towards women empowerment through this work.
What is your birth philosophy?
My birth philosophy is empowering mothers for a positive birth experience, whereby the only recovery the mother need to face is from the birth and not trauma. This is through understanding, knowledge and continuity of care.
What challenges do you face doing this work and how do you overcome them?
I think the biggest challenge in this work is getting the right support from the medical system. There are so many limitations here in Jeddah, and when we find good doctors, their responsibility towards their paymaster limits the support they could offer. And secondly, it's hard to walk through clients and their partner/families with limiting views. I prepare my clients ahead on how to manage the doctors’ support. Having had experienced many births, I know what the various scenarios could play out and walk through with my clients on how they would face the situation, and what their options are should it play out. As for partner or families, I usually try to manage their expectations and also acknowledge their experiences for the older family members. I listened to their point of view and lay the paths for them to work together with the mother for her birth.
What have you been involved in as an AMANI Doula/CBE that touched your heart or confirmed why you do this work?
The birth high, I am addicted to that. Through the eyes of mothers who own their birth experience, and decision. The smile, the making of families, the tiny toes and also the many transformation of fathers playing a more involved and active role in the experience which make me believe of the changes and impact I have in the life of families. Because I know the positive experience has a ripple effect in the life of those I have served.
What are your hobbies or activities outside of your AMANI Doula/CBE work?
I have recently began to write for a column - Doula Diary. I share my work experience in Jeddah. Additionally, I run support groups and events with liked-minded women as a way to give back to society.
Is there anything more you would like to say?
Trust in Allah, every step of your way and be sincere in your service towards those you serve, even if they are not paying you anything, rizq is from Allah. Keep on learning and improving, there is more to offer in this work of serving woman and families. Be truthful with yourself and your passion. Remain humble with everyone your path crosses. Doors are open when you are real and true to yourself.