I am a birth doula, and I am a mother.
Being a mother has guided me into my work, it has shaped me as a support person to other mothers. It has also made this career more challenging.
What is it like to be a doula and a mother? As a doula I work to support parents with information, starting in early pregnancy. I also provide emotional and physical support for birth and early childhood. I am always on call and often have to leave events or break plans with people. I can’t travel far from home. I bring a birth bag with me everywhere I go, in case I get “the call”. I am always on high alert, which means I have had to learn how to be fully present for my children when my mind is completely torn (not easy). I get really attached to my clients, they become so important to me that my thoughts are with them a majority of the time, and especially when I know they are in early labor, and that I will be joining them shortly. It is not always easy to walk away from my children. I do believe it is good for them to see me following my passion, and doing a job that impacts the lives of others in some small way. I also love that when I go, they get time with their father, and I can see how their bond with him has grown.
I am so blessed to have a supportive husband. I have seen him step up in his parenting role, and as a partner to me. He supports me as I support others. Being a doula and a mother would be a very difficult thing without an amazing support system.
I also have a team of family and friends who have made themselves available to be on-call for me and my kids, while I am on-call for other families. I also could not do this job without their support.
Because I am a mother I have increased empathy and understanding for my clients, I know the nervousness that they feel in early labour. I feel the intensity of their contractions with them. I have doubted my own strength and found that I have more than could have imagined. I can assure the women I work with that they can do this very intense life-changing thing because I know without any doubt that they can do it. I have seen the strength that women have within. I have seen it in myself and in all the women I have worked with.
I wake up in the middle of the night to comfort my son and nurse him back to sleep, I do this every night. Every night, except the nights, when I have to get up in the dark, quietly collect my things, and drive to meet a family who is about to welcome their own child into this world. I do this, and I love this.
I spend hours standing, and squatting, and walking, and massaging, and reassuring, and explaining procedures. My body gets tired, but I don’t feel it in the moment, it’s not my focus. I feel the joys of the happiest moments, and the sorrow when things don’t go as planned. I get emotionally tired, but I keep it to myself. I do this, and I love this. It is always worth it!
I am done having babies of my own, and as my children grow and I mourn the days of their babyhood, I am blessed to know that I get to be a part of the lives of new babies and new families, and I treasure each and every family I get to work with.
I am always striving to find balance.
I am a mother and I am a birth doula.