Buffering, Birth and Biology
I’m taking a Biology class right now and to help myself learn concepts I try to apply them to something I can easily relate to. And since I love birth, well you know, I compare biology or psychology (or whatever) to birth. In studying the pH scale, I learned about “buffers” or a pair of substances, and acid and its related base, that minimizes pH fluctuations in the fluids of living organisms. (Brooker, 41). Buffers protect an organism from dangerously low or high pH levels. In a more general sense a buffer is “a person or thing that shields and protects against annoyance, harm, hostile forces, etc., or that lessens the impact of a shock or reversal” (source).
While I was attending a birth two weeks ago, I thought about buffers in the sense of being a doula. My job is to be a buffer from outside forces or be someone who helps maintain calm waters. I am supposed to lessen the strain on the mother (and father) so that the shock of the experience is minimized. Because, let’s face it, no matter how much you prepare for birth, it is something else to actually experience it.
So back to chemistry, a buffer has two parts to minimize fluctuations from acidic and alkaline influences. I feel that my job is enhanced by working with the husband. It is good to have different kinds of buffers to support the mother, masculine and feminine. One of my favorite things to witness is the loving support a husband provides to his wife.
I have also noticed what has helped “buffer” my experience providing doula support at hospital births. My support to the mother has been greatly enhanced by the help I have received from the staff. Most of the labor and delivery staff knows who I am now because I have made a habit of writing letters highlighting the positive support I have witnessed. It has made a world of difference. Writing those letters of thanks have been a great way to keep the pH level of the experience as neutral as possible.
The most important buffer we have is that of the Savior. Today I taught a lesson in young women’s about adversity. I think this quote sums up how He is our buffer,
“Maybe that’s what I love most about the gospel, not that it prevents us from the blows of life but that we can feel an incredible amount of peace and love in every dark moment.” -Al Carraway
Brooker, R. J., Widmaier, E.P., Graham, L. E., Stiling, P.D. (2017). Biology, 4th edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.