_Dr. Michael Klein- a local treasure in the birth world!
"The presence of a Doula is a major advantage for physicians, the women and their families.  They provide a level of support that is often very difficult to achieve in a busy maternity care service.  We see increased satisfaction with the birth experience, lower intervention rates and excellent infant outcomes."

Dr Michael Klein, award-winning & world-renown physician scientist, author & leader in the field of normal birth
_We welcomed a little girl into the world in the wee hours of the morning. This verse from Paul King is an inspiration for me in my doula work (I also knit for our new babies during their births!):

A head I have for thinking deeply,
Listening, and learning, and looking with care.
Hands I have for work and creating
With fingers skillful to make and repair.
In my heart I can carry the sun
Shining with love for everyone. (Paul King)

When I meet couples for the first time, I am often asked questions about how I interact with partners and whether or not they might feel supplanted by me. My goal is to help partners find the tools that they need to support the mother and navigate the labyrinth that is labour and delivery. Sometimes all it takes is a little encouragement, a thumbs-up, reassurance, guidance with massage or back pressure. After birth, I hear partners tell the mothers that they are so strong, determined, amazing, and beautiful. I also hear mothers say how well loved and supported they felt. Birth is a powerful, intimate, and revelatory experience. Couples see each other in a whole new light. In no way would I ever want to come between this!
I have recently started knitting baby booties for the babies that I see entering this world. I love that I am able to knit them even with two busy boys at home! I keep my knitting in my purse and pull it out whenever I have a moment (sometimes even during quiet moments at a birth!). 

My eldest son (Owen) often asks me which baby I am knitting for and how I decided which colours to use. It seems to help him to bridge that gap between me being his mama and being a doula for others. The wool that I use changes colour as I knit so each bootie is an explosion of colour. 

When Owen went for an interview at the Vancouver Waldorf School, he found and presented his teacher with a "jewel". He came up close beside her, leaning his body against hers, and presented her with his gift. The gift of his trust, love and imagination. A few months later, at the beginning of Kindergarten, his teacher mentioned that she kept that "jewel" on her coffee table all summer as a reminder to keep him in her thoughts and heart. My knitting is like that for me: the parents that I work with share their dreams with me, give me the gift of their trust, and invite me to witness the birth of their families. One of the things that I get to do is transform plain wool into something special while keeping them present in my mind's eye. Knitting gives me a chance to dream about each baby who will be entering our world. Beautiful! 
I recently received a note from a friend who is expecting a baby any day now. The feelings that he expressed mirror what I hear so often from fathers so I thought that I would repost it here:

"We are excited and nervous, but I think we’re as ready as you can be for this incredible change that’s coming. As for me, in what must be a common experience for fathers-to-be, I am searching myself for ways that I can be useful and make B-day easier for Sadia – it’s a funny feeling approaching this day together, but knowing that there is part of this journey that I can’t go on with her. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to ask all of you who know her to send me a little hand-written note of encouragement, congratulations, poetry, or whatever else you want to wish her, that I will put together in a scrap book and give to her to help her through what will be an intense time. I know she will love this, and more importantly, this will give me something to keep me busy and maintain my sanity!"

My reply was:
"Johnny: I have no doubt that you will know how to help once labour starts. Being a parent is all about love and the two of you have so much of that. Encourage her to trust her body and draw strength from your love. In many ways, having a baby together is like making love- I know that you will be so present, so in the moment, so intuitive, and so loving. It's a time when she may feel vulnerable or she may feel incredibly strong! It's a time when she may need you to be her rock, to hold her space, or to be her advocate.

Sadia: your body is made to give birth- trust in yourself- you are working together with your baby towards the birth of your new family. You will not be alone- there are so many other women who will be birthing at the same time as you. You are amazing and strong!"

I came across Shanti Uganda a few years ago and have been thrilled to support them by making a donation for every birth that I attend. The founder of Shanti Uganda is a doula and the organization is committed to improving maternal and infant health. Among the many things that they do, they have built a Birth House and Learning Centre, work with midwives, and they provide Birth Kits. The Shanti Uganda Birth Kits are filled with the basic supplies that are needed for a woman to have her baby with safety and health in mind. Each birth kit includes gloves, umbilical cord tie, disposable razors and other necessary supplies for birth. 

I can't think of a better way to honour the babies and mothers that I assist than by making a Birth Kit donation in their name!

Please take a look at their website http://www.shantiuganda.org/ and consider supporting them.