Over the last few years I've spent working as a doula I've been part of some amazing things and I've learned quite a bit about myself and about birth...
- It never fails, I always cry or tear up as I watch these slippery babies slide out of their mothers bodies in nature's perfect rhythm. It never fails to amaze me.
- I've held the hands of mothers in cesarean births and helped their babies latch to the breast for the 1st time as they greet their new babies with gratitude.
- I've welcomed many phone calls from clients, and every time my birth client ringtone goes off I wonder who could it be? I get a twinge of excitement knowing the next baby is getting ready to join us.
- I've smiled with mothers as they exclaim "I can't believe I did it!" as they had their 1st VBAC (vaginal birth after c-section).
- I've been at homebirths and watched siblings act as doulas, offering massages and reassuring words to their mothers, these children almost always seem wise and willing to help, despite the birth sounds coming from their laboring moms.
- Many times I've happily rolled out of bed in the wee hours of the night to a labor call, and dressed myself in a daze rushing out the door to meet a laboring family.
- I've been so busy at births that I survived on coffee and a few handfuls of almonds for more than 20 hours.
- I've witnessed fathers provide un-wavering emotional support through labor and bond with their partners in unmeasurable amounts. I've seen how transformative birth can be for a relationship.
- I've learned that satisfying birth isn't defined by the method of the babies arrival (natural vs. medicated) as much as it is in the quality of the experience and the support from the birth team.
- I've learned that birth work is just as much emotional as it is physical.
- I've learned that the most powerful tool in my "bag of tricks" is faith. Every mom needs someone in the room who believes in them more than they believe in themselves.
- I've learned that I have a limit, although I don't enjoy saying no I can't take every client that contacts me. My family must come first and then my doula work.
- I've learned to rely on others in the birth community for support, encouragement, advice and most of all - an opportunity to vent when I'm feeling low. I'm grateful to all you wonderful friends who have offered this support time and time again, you know who you are.
- I've learned to be more open minded.
- I've learned to trust myself more.
- I've learned that I still have a lot of learning to do, and the day that I stop learning is the day that I stop growing.
Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart. - Rumi
I have decided to pursue monitrice training to further my knowledge of birth and build some clinical skills that I can use to assist homebirth midwives in our area. A monitrice is similar to a doula, but a doula does not preform clinical skills. A monitrice does certain clinical skills (such as fetal heart tone checks, check dilation, takes blood pressure, etc.) and is especially helpful to homebirth mothers as they can use the monitrice for the same comfort measures that a doula provides along with the clinical assistance they provide to the midwife (who is responsible for monitoring the safety of you and your baby). A monitrice can also be hired by private clients who wish to stay home as long as possible and want to have their dilation checked before going to the hospital.
The program I am going through will be rigorous. It will involve 15-20 hours of work each week and will require constant motivation. I will admit that I am a bit nervous about it, and my fear of failure creeps in every now and then. When I am doubting myself, I stop to think about the passion behind the desire to learn. It's true that we retain knowledge better when it is topics that we are passionate about. Hey, never in a million years would I have thought that I'd be creating and giving presentations on endocrine system function in pregnancy and postpartum as it relates to theories on placenta encapsulation! The drive to do this research came effortlessly because I love the subject matter.
I am looking forward to this new chapter in my journey and am excited that I am starting my trek down the seemingly eventual path of homebirth midwifery.
Blessings and much love to you all.