This is dedicated to all those who choose to answer the call - and support mothers as they give birth to their babies.... and specifically to MY doula.
It has been almost two years since my daughter's birth. The details of her birth are now somewhat blurred by time, sleep deprivation and the missing brain cells that departed once I was pregnant and then became a mother.
But...I can still FEEL the support you gave me. I can still see your face - reassuring, calm, inquisitive, loving...I see YOU and the significant role you represent in my daughter's birth story.
And I want you to know a few things...from this mama to her rockstar birth doula...
During my first pregnancy, I read countless times about how much of an impact a skilled birth doula could have on a mother's experience in labor. I didn't have one with my son's birth - the first time (though I did have my amazing husband and powerhouse of a sister by my side!) But I didn't KNOW myself how powerful a doula's presence could be until you joined me that early fall day in my L&D room as I grappled with the fact that my daughter would be joining us almost four weeks early.
Your cheerful, supportive, loving voice still resonates in my being - I know it always will. At a time when fear could have taken over - you created joy, strength and love. You empowered my husband to rise to his best by my side. You saw what I needed, what my husband needed, what my baby needed - and did it without any expectation of gratitude.
When I didn't have contractions and worried I'd need to be induced, you worked your magic and really got things going! When I let the overwhelm of the experience start to take over, you met my eyes with reassurance and a gentle voice. I felt you breathe your calm my way. And when the birth fairy showed up, you stayed in a positive, helpful mindset - inviting me to stay there, too.
And when my daughter's birth became unexpectedly more challenging - more medical, you met us there, too. Even when I know it must've been SO hard to watch....even when there seemed to be no other alternatives, your voice of reason, support and wisdom piped up to remind us that WE were the ones in "charge" of what choices we were making.
I know ...I know that your experience of my birth had to be intense - had to be challenging to move through emotionally and physically. But I never saw it on your face. Through the unexpected twists and turns that accompany any birth - you helped me walk through each gate of my experience with as much grace and humor as possible. Your selflessness - the hours you spent holding my hand, supporting my husband, working your magic with the hospital staff...it did not go unseen.
And, my lovely doula, the moment you helped my daughter latch to my breast the first time remains a moment I call upon to this day. When I needed hope through those early days of breastfeeding struggle - reassurance that breastfeeding would eventually get easier - that image of you helping me latch her (and her latching!) was seriously a beacon of light that kept me going. Without you - we would not still be nursing today.
I know you don't need my affirmation that your role in a mama's birth is vital. But it is. It is SO vital. Each time. Each mama. Each birth.
You're the closest thing to a superhero that a mama can have - not because you save the day, have all the tricks to get her baby out or bring their husband a burrito but because you hold her up so she gets to be the superhero at her baby's birth.
So, thank you. For being our doula. For being there to help bring my baby girl into the world.