The author describes her journey to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she and another doula teach the basics of healthy pregnancy and postpartum care to over 55 women from the surrounding regions, who will go on to serve as midwives for their communities.
Jennifer Vanderlaan is a childbirth educator and doula, the author of the Birthing Naturally Web site (www.birthingnaturally.net) and spends her free time working on a nursing degree.
For many women, giving birth causes stress and anxiety. For women with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), the stress of giving birth can trigger panic attacks. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that about 6.8 million American adults are affected by GAD (USDHHS 2007). Anxiety disorders affect women twice as frequently as men and usually are first diagnosed in early adulthood, which makes their effects relevant when caring for childbearing women.