One of the sweetest things about being a doula is seeing how much love is generated by the birth of a new baby. It doesn't have to be the all natural picture perfect birth either. It is the parents' connection with the baby, the connection of family and caregivers which creates a powerful vortex of love. As the new wee one lies naked upon his naked mother, quietly taking in the world from his safe harbour, a magical hush settles.
As doulas, we are often included within this inner sanctum of crazy, mushy love. I recently had the joy of spending about eight hours in a tiny little curtained cubicle of a post Cesarean recovery area with a beatific mother and father, their precious baby, and my apprentice who was witnessing it all for the first time. What was so joyful was seeing this new family love grow bigger bigger every moment, seeing them process these feelings, and seeing how with this love came such responsibility and an eagerness to meet it. Whomever kindly holds that space and supports it with any nurturing energy at all tends to get love bombed, as we most surely did. What a blessing!
It is very important for doulas to remember that this love being given so freely to you is not really because of anything you've done. You've done the human thing, which is to be caring and supportive, comforting and emotionally nurturing. You've done your job, and are probably, in fact, being paid for your service. I am often heaped with praise, told the experience couldn't have been done without my presence, and am called "Auntie" in relation to the baby. I know this isn't because I've done anything particularly special. It is because hormones are high and I've helped to facilitate their flow, encouraging the emotions associated with them to flourish. It's not like I've stepped off the street and done a saintly act. I've just done my job to the best of my ability, and done it with great honour.
It is crucial to not let this pure, precious new-parent love inflate our egos. Smile graciously at the praise, and allow that love that's projected onto you into your heart, nourishing your soul. See it as Transpersonal love rather than feeling you are truly an object of it. If you do, you can become too attached, as who doesn't crave in their core to be loved and praised in such an unadulterated way? But be mindful. Take that love so generously and tenderly given, and use it properly: use it to continue stoking the fires of good birth experiences, no matter how they unfold, passing it on to the families you serve. Hold every birthing space drawing upon this love, paying it forward, the love being coloured by the beautiful energy that already exists in your own heart to make your care unique.
Enjoy this nourishing perk of the doula experience. This very high energy exchange is incredibly healthy IF you can see it for what it is and flow with it, work with it, and ground it. Don't just hold it all in and keep it for yourself. It is not that kind of gift.