I have so much appreciation for the very different birth experiences I had, because it helped me see how there is no right way to bring a child into this world, but also opened me up to see the choices that were available to me.
I had my first experience as a doula long before I knew what the word doula meant. When I was 18, I supported my mother at the birth of my baby sister. I never left her side for a moment. It came naturally to step up and support her in a way I never expected. Using massage, ice chips and encouraging words as my tools, I anticipated her needs and even my stepfather’s needs as they brought my sister into the world. The impact was life-changing, yet my 18 year old self would have never guessed that this would become my passion. A seed was planted that would take many years, and the birth of my own children to flower into a full realization.
At the birth of my first child I had an unplanned cesarean, which was a catalyst for my desire to educate and empower myself to prepare for my next birth. I became a yoga teacher and found myself drawn to prenatal and postnatal offerings. I wanted more than to give my students a relaxing experience, I wanted to help them prepare their mindset for childbirth and parenting. I soaked up all the resources I could find, including taking a birth doula training. The experience at this training combined with the experience of having a doula by my side at my second birth (which was a successful vaginal birth after cesarean) left me feeling certain that I was meant to do this work.
Looking back I can see the perfection in all my experiences that led me to birthwork. Often it is not clear why you are having an experience when you are in the middle of it, especially when it’s painful or challenging. I have so much appreciation for the very different birth experiences I had, because it helped me see how there is no right way to bring a child into this world, but also opened me up to see the choices that were available to me.
When supporting families during childbirth or a home visit my intention is the same: to hold space. Holding space means there is no judgement, I am trusting the process, I am trusting the moment, I am listening to my own inner guidance, and above all I am deeply listening to the family I am serving. When I am holding this space of trust I can feel when it might be time for the birthing person to change their position, I can hear when someone needs more pressure on their back during a contraction, I can see when I need to take a step back and allow an intimate moment between partners, I can sense when someone needs a little push to remember what they are capable of, or when someone needs an advocate to help voice their needs.