Reflections on Motherhood and Life as a Doula

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Moving Forward

As I rested in bed, Delaney laid curled up in my stomach with her face snuggled into my breast.  She had a lazy latch, and as she dreamed, she would suckle softly and quietly.  Stephen curled up to my back with his feet by my head and his head by my butt.  I giggled at the beautiful sight we make at naptime and bedtime.  I sighed and pondered what it was that was keeping me awake...

I have only started, but I love being a doula.  I love that I have been called to do this, and I know that I am going down the path, slowly, to becoming a midwife. 

I toss and turn every night reenacting in my mind what I imagine my next prenatal appointments will be like with my clients.  I have dedicated myself to women and families who are going to have very challenging labors and births.  This is a challenge for me, but it is the only way I know how to learn and grow.  The first birth I "attended" was a cesarean.  Now I have a VBAC and a single teenager getting prepared to bring new life in this world. 

I find myself challenged in many different ways.  For me, it is easy being with Mom.  Mom chose me to be with her, and for the most part, knows what she wants.  Trying to get the family, friends and staff (of the hospitals) surrounding these Moms, to be a strong support system, is not so easy.  I imagined that being a doula would simply be holding a woman's hand and encouraging her as she went through the process.  I never thought I would have to educate family and friends about the birth process, why what the Mom wants is healthy, and how to leave their past experiences at the door and focus entirely on Mom.  I'm afraid of the battles that could occur, and I am excited to show my expertise in avoiding conflict and preventing problems. 

I want to ensure that the VBAC is indeed a VBAC and not a repeat cesarean - but I don't want to take away from any special moments between Mom and Dad. 
I want this young Mom to see labor and birth as the beautiful and intense experience that it is - but I don't want to offend her mother by making her feel like her birth experiences were "wrong" or unhealthy. 
I want to protect these women in their birth space - but where do I draw the line and not step over the boundaries they have with themselves and their families?

I guess my challenge is, myself. 

I pray that these women will walk away full of joy and excitement from their experiences.  I want them to have good experiences to look back on, and I want to know that I was able to contribute to these experiences...But when they look back, I don't want them to remember me.  I want them to remember just their family and friends whom they had invited to welcome these precious beings into the world. 

Just remember me long enough to pass my name on to another expecting woman, so that she too can share in such an amazing, life changing moment.

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