As I've entered the certification process to officially become a doula I have pondered a lot on what brought me to this decision. As my husband pointed out - if a doula is someone that supports women through pregnancy, birth, and postpartum then I already am a doula. Now I'm just receiving further training and making it official! I have been blessed to be invited into the lives of women as they prepare for birth. Each time it has been an honor, whether I provided support and encouragement from afar or was at their labor with my arms around them, cheering them on...
I believe birth is sacred. My own pregnancy and birth experiences have varied widely in location, intervention, duration, care providers, and method of arrival! Each has taught me precious lessons and I am thankful for every single experience, with all of the challenges that were involved. I have given birth in a setting where I felt like an imposition on the staff, a nameless patient that needed to be dealt with and moved along and "managed." My wishes were ignored, my concerns dismissed, my "care" provider once didn't even show up in time to catch the baby! Despite the demeaning way I was treated, I knew that birth should be treated with respect and every laboring mother deserves kindness, compassion, and support.
I have also given birth in situations where I was treated with such love and respect, when time seemed to stand still as everyone around me focused on helping bring my child safely into the world. I have been privileged to birth with care teams that focused solely on me, reassuring me that there was nothing else that mattered so much as me laboring in peace. Both in and out of the hospital I've witnessed care providers receive inspiration to act in such a way that they literally saved my child's life. Some of my most sacred moments of birth were in the OR, under the bright lights and surrounded by a crowd of people! But the respect and attentiveness and concern were tangible, and something I will always remember. It does not matter where we birth, it matters how we are treated through the experience.
Our support team created a safe space for me to labor, to grieve, to celebrate, and to birth. There were moments in labor that I cried not from pain or fear, but from gratitude for the loving hands that were surrounding me. As I reflect on my births I am in awe of the wisdom, humility, and care of those people attending to us. When a woman gives birth she deserves to have her experience treated as the sacred event that it is . Doulas are given the unique opportunity to help create the safe space every birthing mother needs. I am humbled by the chance I have to offer that support to others!