by Lori Berkemer
I am a Nurse Practitioner, Childbirth Educator and Doula from the US. I recently had an incredible opportunity, thanks to Dar a Luz Honduras, to spend 10 days volunteering as a doula in the public hospital on Roatan in the beautiful Bay Islands in Honduras. I supported 10 women during their labor and delivery while I was there and felt very privileged to share in their birth experiences. Life is not easy for these women. They deliver at the public hospital because they do not have health insurance or the means to pay for private care. The hospital, as with all the public health facilities in Honduras, is in need of repair and lacks many basic medical supplies. The laboring women are not allowed to have any partner or family member at their bedside during labor. So that’s where the volunteer doulas come in. I was able to give comfort in anyway I could…a back massage, holding their hand or letting them squeeze my arm. The nurses and doctors were watching my every move. That’s a good thing. I was trying to set an example on how easy it is to show a kindness. Building relationships with the nurses and doctors allowed me to talk with them about the benefits to the laboring women of changing positions during labor, walking and even taking sips of fluids. Much education is still needed and protocols change very slowly in Honduras but with each volunteer a little knowledge is left behind.
Thanks again Silvia for this opportunity. Hopefully I can return someday. Keep up the great work!