Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Joys of Doula Work

Sometimes it's really hard for me to believe that what I do is a job. Yes, there are aspects of doula work I find challenging, but for the most part, it is SO MUCH FUN!

What I find challenging is the administrative, phone calling/emailing to set up meetings, paperwork aspects. I manage a lot of clients, as well as keep on top of the other MotherWit doulas' clients, so it's not easy. I am not blessed with great organizational skills. Yes, I know, as a Virgo, this is a slap in the face. You'd think I'd have everything colour coded, neatly filed, cross referenced, and easy to read. Sadly, no. I'm the "write-it-on-a-scrap-of-napkin" kind of gal. As to whether or not I actually enter that napkin info into my files is, admittedly, a toss up. Yet I do remember everyone, and have amazing recall for birth details, even years later. I'm always trying to improve my systems, and thank God, I have a husband who is blessed with more managerial skills than I am. He keeps my head above water, reminding me of who I need to call, who needs to be interviewed for the doula trainings, how to program things into BlackBerry, etc.

Obviously, getting called out in the middle of the night, having to brave the chill air and grab a cab to a birth, or having to change plans or drop what I'm doing to accommodate a baby-having leaves life feeling unpredictable. There are challenging aspects to that. But you know, if I always had a strict schedule and too much routine, I would not thrive. I would grow cobwebby with boredom. Once I'm in that cab, or entering into the hospital or a woman's home, I'm ON. My Spidy senses start tingling, and I get truly excited to be about to behold the beginning of another human's life. These are, after all, people I'm really connected to, and care for deeply. And when I am on my way home, I wear a secret little smirk. I want to ask the guy on the metro sitting next do me, "What did YOU do all night? Sleep? Boring, guess what I saw!" or the woman on the bus, "Where are you going? Oh, you're going to discover a cure for Lupus today? Yawn. I just saw a BABY come out!"

Aside from the births, I just really like forging relationships with people. People from all walks of life and religions and beliefs. It is truly enriching to me as a human being to be part of this very special time in a woman's or couple's life, learning how people feel, how they approach their births, what worries them, what feeds them. I kid you not, that in one day I may go from the home of a Hasidic Jewish family with six children, chatting with the mother and her mother-in-law about all their births and the special requests she has to make her seventh birth as wonderful as possible, to the home of a Lesbian couple planning a home birth who are hoping not to give birth until the've moved into their new apartment, to the home of a woman hoping for a VBAC after 2 C-sections, discussing concerns about her teenaged children and their joy about welcoming a baby into an almost grown family.

I enjoy forging deep connections and feel very honoured to be asked to hold a healing space for a couple to grow into parenthood within. I love the richness of everyones' stories. When I go off to work, and I usually have a couple pre or post natal meetings per day, 4 or 5 days per week, it's like going out visiting. It is never burdensome. Bringing up the same information about childbirth is never boring, because everyone has different reactions, different questions, and I get to creatively tailor that information and how we deal with it with each unique couple. It is always fascinating.

I feel very maternal towards my new born parents. Not in a condescening way, but in a way that makes me just want so much for them to feel loved, empowered, and amazing for the hard work they did to bring that new life in, no matter how the birth happened. I love to see their eyes shine as they talk about giving birth, having taken the journey and sipped from the Holy Grail. There is nothing more satisfying for me than to see them proud of themselves.

As years pass, the love of my work deepens, and my commitment to providing the best care I can grows stronger. It's easy, because my clients inspire that kind of love. I am crazy blessed to have found myself on this path.