BCAPOP Conference Highlight: Kathleen Lindstrom “Own Your Body, Own Your Birth”
Kathleen Lindstrom, CE/Perinatal Program Manager at Douglas College, responsible for Prenatal and Continuing Education, will present the opening plenary session on The Power of Women: Own Your Body, Own Your Birth at the BC Association of Pregnancy Outreach Programs (BCAPOP) 2013 Conference. The conference runs from Tuesday, October 8 – Thursday, October 10, 2013 at the Hilton Vancouver Airport Hotel. Kathleen is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator with thirty years of experience in teaching prenatal classes, developing curriculum, and presenting workshops. She and her husband have raised four sons and a daughter, and now have six grandchildren. Kathleen has worked with breast-feeding families for thirty-two years and has been offering birth doula services for twenty-eight years. Her conference and workshop presentations, locally and internationally, have been instrumental in changing practice.
In an article “Her Labour, a Quiet Revolution” for the Canadian Childbearing Almanac, Amanda Louise Emsley interviewed Kathleen about her work:
“Kathleen’s entry point to doula work was when she was invited to attend a birth to offer labour support. When she witnessed that woman give birth, she was in awe of her strength. ‘Seeing her, she was scared, and all I did was encourage her, put a cool cloth on her head, and tell her how wonderful she was, and she was.’ Kathleen loved witnessing such an important time in women’s lives, but never would have believed that she would be doing doula work this far down the road. But after that first birth, there was no turning back, she was hooked.
Twenty-three years ago, there was no name for what Kathleen began to do. She had no colleagues who were practicing, thinking that she was the ‘the only one doing it’. She was well received by the women she supported, and saw a need that was unmet in her community. Women had always supported other women in birth, ‘It was not a new idea, it was a lost idea found.’ The word doula comes from Greek origin, referring to a woman who serves another woman.
A doula is a non-medical assistant in prenatal care, childbirth, and during the postpartum period. She is an experienced and trained labour support person, who attends to the emotional and physical comfort needs of labouring women. In addition to emotional support, doulas work as advocates of their client’s wishes and may assist in communicating with medical staff to obtain information for the client to make informed decisions regarding medical procedures.
There is something that a doula brings to a birth. A doula can not always control what happens to the mother, but she can control how the mother is treated. A mother’s birthing experience, and treatment from those around her, often create strong memories that will stick with the mother. Kathleen feels ‘honoured, privileged, and responsible for helping to make those memories be as good as possible.’ She believes that this is not only creating memories for the mother, but for the baby, seeing herself as a facilitator of “how the baby comes into the world.”
Kathleen spreads the word of ‘common sense’; that being, that we can trust women’s bodies, women can trust their bodies, and we all can trust birth. Much of women’s creative power is being unleashed when birthing, and this is the mother’s power, no one else’s. “
Kathleen’s presentation will consider the power women have to change how they see themselves, their bodies, and how this impacts the pregnancy, birth experience and parenting. Midwife, Sister MorningStar, says, “As women, we have a power that changes the world and, most importantly, our own souls.”
Click here to access the full interview between Amanda Louise Emsley and Kathleen Lindstrom featured in the Canadian Childbearing Almanac.