Zahra has been an AMANI Birth affiliate since January 10, 2019. She is an Indian national currently residing in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Zahra has a Bachelor of Information Technology, is a certified AMANI Birth Childbirth Educator, certified AMANI Birth Doula and AMANI Girls Facilitator. She’s also an NBM certified VBAC Practitioner Coach. She has volunteered in Al Mana General Hospital, Al Khobar from December 2018 until April 2019 to establish their in-house Natural Childbirth Department and has coached over 800+ expecting couples as a part of their team. She is currently working with them on a temporary contract as a consulting Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula, VBAC Coach and Prenatal Fitness Instructor. She also has keen interest in birth art and loves blogging. You can get in touch with her via firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Why did you choose to become an AMANI doula/CBE?
After achieving a successful VBAC with intact perineum in 2017 under the guidance and support of dedicated AMANI Birth Doulas and Childbirth Educators, I realized that nothing is impossible and felt confident within my ability to birth. I felt empowered. I discovered that birth empowers women so I decided to take on this journey of being one of them and be the reason for positive change in the lives of the mothers. This work is amazing! And I can't help but fall in love with it every time I attend a birth. It is very rewarding. Being an active AMANI Childbirth Educator and Doula allows me to witness lives changing, marriages blooming and women getting empowered.
How has AMANI affected your life?
AMANI Birth has transformed my life in the ways I never imagined. The one successful VBAC that I experienced in 2017 has given birth to a new confident and empowered woman within myself. I didn't realize that having the right kind of support at the time of your birth is important to this extent that it impacts the rest of your life. I learnt that since birth is the most vulnerable moment in a woman's life it is a factor that determines the way she will look herself for the rest of her life. I discovered that the way a woman is treated during birth is what she takes as a projection of her self worth for the rest of her life. And this shows, how important it is to have the right kind of education, coaching and support during labor and birth.
How does your work as an AMANI Doula/CBE fulfill you?
I feel honored today to be an AMANI affiliate. It was a tough decision to transition my career from engineering to childbirth education but I realize that it was worth it. I'm an Information Technology Engineering graduate, and I can't emphasize enough the need for such education to the women coming especially from the technical background. In spite, of being educated I had felt cheated at the time of birth of my first child since I did not have the knowledge on how to give birth, what was the ideal way to manage labor and so on. I didn't have any knowledge. Today, I feel fulfilled when I conduct coaching sessions for working women. I feel content that I'm giving them this sacred and safe space to feel guilt and learn to make up for it. Since in spite of being educated, I didn’t have any. After working in collaboration with Al Mana General Hospital in Al Khobar, we have counselled over 600+ expecting couples since February 2019 and the results are amazing. I feel grateful for having been the reason for the positive change in the lives of many couples; be it about marital relationships or parenting.
What do you love the most about being an AMANI Doula/CBE?
One of the best things I like being an AMANI Doula and Childbirth Educator is that I can share the Islamic principles if my clients are willing to learn. I feel free to share everything that benefits the couple regarding birth. I love the AMANI philosophy and I love how it is balanced and teaches an unbiased approach when it comes to decision making. I love the detailing given in the AMANI Birth workbooks when it comes to giving information. I think this work is rewarding. It feels nice to hear and read how your role as an AMANI Doula or Childbirth Educator has impacted the lives beautifully.
What is your birth philosophy?
I love AMANI Birth philosophy. As I said earlier, I feel it is most balanced way to approach birth. I believe in what AMANI Birth advocates and works for an empowering, natural, non medicated birth with the woman at the center of the event and the birth attendants supporting and encouraging her all along the way, intervening only if true complications arise.
What challenges do you face doing this work and how do you overcome them?
Some of the challenges I face personally are time constraints since being a mother with two toddlers and juggling between work and house is a bit overwhelming, I somehow manage to make arrangements for them if I have laboring mothers at night. Sometimes, it's the difficult partners of the mothers that serve as a bottleneck to what I'm trying to achieve from my sessions. Sometimes, it's the different cultural conditioning that prove to be obstacles. By the mercy and grace of Allah, Subhanahu wa taála, so far I have managed to overcome these hurdles. I think patience and prayers are the key of course with sincere intentions. Difficult partners do very well after lot of hard work and extra sessions and these usually turn out to be the best and most involved dads later. Such fathers then let their wives get into birth work. When it comes to specific cultural conditioning, I ensure that the way I project the information is not culturally insensitive. Also, if I see there are additional obstacles in the way I try to solve them, for example for mothers coming from certain culture, the decision making is difficult since they do not have any say anyway, so I make sure the those that hold the authority to decide on behalf of the mothers are educated on their roles, on flexibility on the mother's birthing rights and human rights. Such mothers later come out to say that this additional coaching given to the additional family members did prove them beneficial since now they all realized that they were one team themselves!
What have you been involved in as an AMANI Doula/CBE that touched your heart or confirmed why you do this work?
I think it's the rise and birth of the confident, strong, empowered new woman in every mother after her birth that has touched my heart. To witness this transition is really a wonderful experience and to see how differently the mothers carry themselves now and that you are one of the reasons behind it is an honor.
What are your hobbies or activities outside of your AMANI Doula/CBE work?
I love to paint. I am interested in Birth Art so occasionally you may see me using paints on canvas. I blog too. I'm also a VBAC Coach. I work under commission in Al Mana General Hospital in Al Khobar, I had also volunteered for them before as a Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula, VBAC Coach and also a Prenatal Fitness Instructor at their Wellness Center. Additionally, I'm an AMANI Girls Facilitator so you may find me occasionally doing a few hours workshops for young girls. Sometimes, I take mothers in India as well. They are falling in love with AMANI Birth. I hope to see regular AMANI Birth workshops there very soon Insha'Allah. I also make sure to attend birth related conferences, workshops and events in and out of Saudi Arabia and India.
Is there anything more you would like to say?
I love my work and I'm passionate about it. I think you need to have passion to take on this work to serve the purpose in its true essence. Money will come. If not now, then later, what matters is what your intentions are and how rewarding your work is. With the right support you can definitely do it. And it's all worth it!