As a doula and a doula trainer, I am in a lot of doula groups. I should probably say I am in way too many doula groups. I see all manner of questions and comments on any given day. Invariably questions and comments come up regarding rebozo use and when they do I can’t help but respond. Today in a thread someone stated the following (this is not a direct quote but what I can remember, as the thread was pulled by the OP):
I learned from watching videos on Youtube and practiced on a friend.
Why is this problematic to me?
I mean my sister learned how to thread her eyebrows on Youtube. My daughter learned how to Jeté on Youtube. I totally get it, people learn a bunch of stuff off of Youtube, in fact here’s a fun story…One day my husband is out walking our dog Sushi, he sees our neighbor Elena’s garage door open. He peers in and sees Elena (she moved here from Russia 15 years prior), she is under her car, which is on blocks. He says, “Elena what are you doing?”
(in thick Russian accent): “I am fixing brakes.”
My husband responds, “Did you used to be a mechanic in Russia?”
She pops out from under car, wipes her hands and looks my husband in the eye and said, “No, I learn on Youtube.”
People learn from Youtube all the time.HOWEVER, and this is a serious however, even though Elena and her kids are still alive, (this story is 5 years old) we never, ever asked Elena to fix our brakes. Why? Because brakes are important to me. Pregnancy and labor are pretty serious too, to (and I am gonna go out on a limb here and say;) MOST people. In my rebozo workshops I talk about what NOT to do and my students learn about the dangers of doing too much with the rebozo. Learning from watching YouTube leaves a lot of things out. Videos shared on YouTube are mostly video out of context. There are a TON of photos of me on the internet holding a rebozo with someone else Tug-of-War style. Well, guess what? That photo of me is me saying, “Do not do this anymore”. But how would one know if one is self-taught on photos and snippets of video? There is a video that has been watched over ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE THOUSAND TIMES! I am not exaggerating this number. That’s a lot of people who have watched this. If you learned from this video (to the right) as a doula and you do this, you will be endangering your client and yourself. Imagine accidentally falling on her, or falling and breaking your own arm. I cannot imagine the face of a nurse walking in and seeing this. In my workshop I share how you can do this same technique without getting on the bed. As doulas we need to always be lowering our liability not raising it. But if you are watching videos on YouTube, how would you know this?
How Do You KNOW You are Doing it Right?
To the left is another example. There is only one time I recommend doing this position on the left. Done incorrectly it could move a perfectly positioned baby, all because someone thought learning from photos was a good idea.
Let’s Think This Through
Now, this is not some commercial for my workshop*, it IS however, a plea for a little more critical thinking and respect. By critical thinking I mean, think about who you are learning from online. Have you heard of them? Do they come highly recommended? Will I be held liable for something I am doing without knowing a lot about it?
And when I mentioned respect, I mean respect for the culture. Is this person going to be celebrating the culture of the people who’s knowledge you are going to be using in your career as a birth professional? Is it important to them? I just saw a class on the rebozo advertised with the tag line: “You don’t have to know how to roll your Rs to learn how to use the Rebozo.” Huh. I had to sit on that one for a bit. I bet this person thought this was light and funny. But for me it was a lack of respect for what the rebozo is and what it means to a whole culture of people and what it represents. I am a second generation Mexican woman, and this is my heritage, it means a lot to me that when people, all people, learn about the rebozo, it and the culture it comes from is treated with respect and honor.
If you are a birth professional and you want to learn more about the Rebozo, seek out people who will teach you about the culture and how to use it safely. Do continue to learn stuff off of YouTube, I just learned how to make a strawberry quinoa salad on Instagram today! But for important stuff, take the time to invest in an in person hands-on class from someone who LOVES and RESPECTS the rebozo.
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