Being a doula looks like solo work at the surface - well, unless we are hired as a pair, which is awesome for the client and us. But really, when we're with a family during labor and birth, we're not working quite as alone as it may seem. You see, it's important for us to have a network. This is one of the reasons Nola Nesting exists, and it benefits our community, our individual practice and our clients. This doula life would not be sustainable for me without other doulas. This is just a small piece of my gratitude.
The backup doula.
She is incredible. Most of the time she following along, knows when a mother is due and how our prenatals have gone. She's read the intake paperwork and I've shared with her how this mother wants to be supported and any other important points. She keeps her phone by her, hanging out on call, the same as me, knowing she is probably not attending this birth, but being available none the less. She is making herself available to support this family because of my professional relationship with her. She is likely checking on things during labor and helping me keep a clear head, thinking through what might be most helpful for the laboring mother and partner, reminding me to care for myself and meet my own minimum needs, she's thinking about the mother and sending warm birth energy even though she is likely never seen. She's a hero because if we need her, she's there. Ready to jump in and care for the family however the birth may go. She will poor her love into the family just as I would. She will call me and keep me informed and I will support her. Because this is what doulas do. This close relationship means that our clients have seamless care, even when the most unexpected events happen. And for this, I am grateful.
Birth work is intense. We place our lives on pause to step into yours with our whole selves. When we walk away from your birth, we walk away knowing that this thing we have experienced - this amazing life changing event, was only experienced by us. This is why it's an honor to attend births - to be invited into the birth circle. But sometimes births are stressful for us. Sometimes we are just tired. Sometimes we are sad. Sometimes we are just over the moon and need to shout from the highest point that today, on this earth an amazing thing happened! We cannot show you most of this, but we need to share it. Doulas experience birth trauma even when their clients are completely satisfied with their experience. The doulas that surround me understand my work like no one else. I don't have to share all the details of your birth, and I won't, because I honor your privacy, but I do need to decompress and enter the rest of my life. Which can be a funny thing after being absorbed in yours. These ladies answer their phone when I call to guide me home at night, to make me laugh and remind me to eat before I sleep. They meet me for drinks and have a laugh. And for this, I am grateful.
By nature, I think doulas are always seeking to learn more. Just when we think we understand birth the universe reminds us that we know only fragments, perhaps illusions of the whole. The doulas who surround me are my mentors, my teachers. From different positions to address various types of labors, to gaining a greater understanding of the holistic nature of birth, to discussions of intuition and how we can better use our intuition in our work - and how we can better listen to yours, these doulas teach me. We each bring to this work a different set of experiences and background and together we are more knowledgeable and can better serve our clients. And for this, I am grateful.
Doulas understand this crazy life. This passion for birth. This feminist drive to help women have what is by the basics of nature, biologically theirs. Doulas do not flinch at the words vagina, uterus, yoni, discharge, mucous, bloody show, cervix or any others that are common place in our conversations. Doulas have your back when your life hits the rocks, or when you just need to drive across town for a special breakfast. Doulas are not offended when you have to text your client in mid conversation. That said, we don't text each other late at night ('cause you know, on call). Doula hearts are huge and the good friendship of a doula is priceless. And for this, I am grateful.
Thank you to all the doulas I know, here and throughout the country and world who have impacted my person, broadened my view and made me a better doula. Happy world doula week to you.