Being a doula is truly a labour of love! I am regularly woken up in the middle of the night, am on call all the time, have missed Halloween, have missed birthdays, find it hard to schedule my own appointments and vacations, etc. I manage to handle this thanks to a huge amount of support from family and friends who are prepared to leap into action at a moment's notice. I have a friend who will even come over in the middle of the night if my husband is away and I get called- amazing!
I wouldn't trade in being a doula for anything though. It is a privilege to accompany people on their journey to becoming parents. I can't think of any other circumstance in which I would get to know people so quickly and so intimately. Parents share their dreams and fears with me. Parents place their trust in me. They turn to me for guidance and support.
At a recent interview, I was asked about the most important thing that I bring to a birth. The first thing that came to mind was "love". Now I wasn't sure if I should say that- I didn't want to seem flaky! For a second, I though about mentioning all of my training, experience and the material things that I bring (Tens, etc) but I decided to say "love". Since becoming a mother myself, I feel a universal mama-love connection with babies, children, and parents-to-be. I bring my mama-love to every birth and couldn't be a doula without it!
As the amazing Raffi says: "All I really need is a song in my heart, love in my family"
I haven't blogged in a very long time. No excuses really! So, here is the first in a few that I have saved up.
When we moved to our home in East Vancouver, my first born was 8 months old. He immediately fell in love with our neighbour F and his daughter L. She was 4 at the time and loved carrying Owen around. She would sing, dance and put on puppet shows for him. By the time he could talk and walk, he would take off next door with her. They became inseparable on weekends. When she wasn't home, he wanted to be with his other best friend- her dad F. They would hang out, eat treats and play soccer. I never knew that people who aren't family could love my son so much. As a new mother, this was such a blessing. I knew that I could count on them for help when I really needed a break, and I did need them! I learned that it is OK to ASK for and RECEIVE help. I learned that Owen's love was a blessing for them. We all benefited!
So many friends have helped us over the years: H would come over one evening a week so that Dave and I could take tango lessons, my other neighbour A would babysit more often than I can count. The list of helpers goes on and on. Now I get to help others! My neighbour A has just had her second baby and I get to spend time with her daughter- such a pleasure! I can only hope to help my neighbour like how she helped me.
Do you ask for help? What would it take for you to allow yourself to reach out?